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.
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 gearbox lets an otherwise fantastic package down
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.