Lexus GS F review
What's not so good
Find out more about the Lexus GS F
Its 5.0-litre V8 doesn’t have turbochargers or much low-down torque, but it compensates with spectacular throttle response and an addictive soundtrack. It packs 471hp which sounds a lot, but most of the rivals have over 550hp.
While most rivals focus most on delivering a sporty but sometimes uncomfortable ride, the Lexus tries to be cosseting while remaining agile.
Inside, the GS F is more bothered about providing you with luxury than convincing you that you’re in a racecar. Reviewers say it’s the best cabin yet to grace a Lexus.
The options list of any ot the GS F’s rivals can easily add thousands of pounds to their price, but in the Lexus almost everything comes as standard – probably the closest you can get to good value for money in a £70,000 saloon.
The GS F may lag behind rivals for pace but its charm is sure to win you over
While it may not beat it’s main rivals in any particular area, the Lexus GS F has plenty going for it – amazing interior, responsive engine and plenty of equipment at a good price. Even Lexus admits the GS F is no match for the German heavyweights and instead offers the super-saloon as an alternative experience if not exactly a better one.
For a more detailed look at the GS F, read through the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. Or, if you want to see what offers are available on the GS F, go to our deals page.
The Lexus GS F will take four adults and their luggage long distances in reasonable comfort, but it’s not class-leading in any way
Most people probably think the F stands for Fast - which is understandable - but it could also stand for Fairly spacious
The Lexus GS F is not the most spacious large saloon, but it certainly isn’t cramped. Four adults can travel long distances in comfort and headroom is good if not class-leading. The front body-hugging sports seats provide a perfect driving position thanks to the electrical adjustments for both the driver’s seat and steering wheel.
There’s lots of storage areas for a car of this class. The lidded central cubby under the armrest is huge and the door pockets can easily accommodate a litre bottle of water. Unlike German rivals, the Lexus was designed as a right-hand-drive car from the beginning, so the glovebox is also huge, instead of housing the fusebox.
Although the GS F doesn’t have the largest boot in its class, it has a nice usable shape. At 480 litres of capacity it’s smaller than the Audi RS6 (565 litres), the Mercedes-AMG E63 (540 litres) and the BMW M5 (520-litres). And, unlike the E63 or RS6, there’s no estate option with the Lexus.
Most of the current crop of super-saloons have a larger emphasis on performance than ride quality and Lexus has realised this. That’s why the GS F is arguably the super saloon with the best ride and handling compromise.
The gearbox lets an otherwise fantastic package down
Under the RC F bonnet lies a 5.0-litre V8 with old-school charm. It neither has turbos nor electric motors and the V8 needs to rev to 7,100rpm to achieve its peak power of 471hp. The 391lb ft of torque is available over a narrow rev range between 4,800rpm and 5,600rpm. Compare that to the 500 lb ft of available from 2,000rpm in the BMW M5 and you begin to see just how different the Lexus engine is – turbocharged rivals offer more brutal acceleration. In terms of performance, though, it’s not too far behind rivals with a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds and a limited top speed of 186mph. Its aforementioned rivals are limited to 155mph, but all are quicker from 0 to 62mph.
The clever engine can run in the Atkinson cycle – which alters the operation of the pistons – to improve fuel economy, but with a claimed combined figure of 25mpg, and real-world fuel consumption of much less, you’ll need all the efficiency-increasing technology you can get. It’s not exactly a clean engine, either, with CO2 emissions in the highest emissions bracket resulting in annual road tax costing £505.
Despite the lack of adaptive dampers the body control is superb and thanks to a clever rear differential, the speed you can carry through corners is surprising for a car weighing more than 1,800kg.
The instant throttle response coupled with the progressive power delivery encourages you to drive the GS F fast, spurred on by the marvellous engine note, and although its German rivals may be faster on track, the Lexus is no less engaging.
Some criticism has been levelled at its gearbox. It’s an eight-speed automatic that sees use in a range of other Lexus cars, but it gets confused frequently during kick-down, taking time to change down for quick acceleration. Manual shifting using the wheel-mounted paddles is too slow to offer any real control either.
Lexus models tend to have lovely interiors and the GS F’s is no different.