ralph polo shirts F shouts its arrival
But with the NX and RX crossovers both incredibly aggressive in styling, maybe we shouldn’t be all that surprised. Clearly, the folks at Lexus are tired of letting the German brands have all the fun.
The GS sedan is Lexus’ mid level machine, and is about the same size as a Mercedes Benz E Class or a BMW 5 Series. Ordinarily, the Bimmer might offer more verve and the Merc’ more luxury, while the Lexus could offer impeccable craftsmanship and a fair tomiddling chance that it’d be on the road a lot longer than the more complicated Teutonic sedans.
But in this case, the F Sport arrives to make its case not on the subtleties of reliability and resale, but in a blaring yawp of aggression. It’s about as subtle as that fire shooting electric guitar solo from Mad Max.
The bodywork is hacked, hunched and flared by the power contained under the hood and the size of the wheels. The headlights are underscored by V shaped slashes of LED war paint. The brake calipers are orange. The quad exhaust pipes are semi stacked on top of each other. It’s a riot.
There’s a lot going on here, but there’s a lot to like about the GS F’s audacity too. Here, finally, is something serious to back up the Lexus design language with some real firepower.
Inside, the GS F continues the maniacal bent with multilayered seats that are wild to look at. Happily, they’re also really quite comfortable, a good mix between support and lateral bolstering.
The rest of the cabin is a mix of new school performance look, and genuinely easy to use control components. Instead of multiple touchscreens, the Mark Levinson stereo is controlled by a weighty feeling volume knob. The air conditioning controls are buttons instead of fiddly haptic feedback sliders. It looks cool in here, but everything also works.
Everything, that is, except the square control device for scrolling through menus on the large central display. This is a bit fiddly to use, although it’s an improvement over previous Lexus systems. I’d wager that it wouldn’t be too hard to master after a few tries, but it’s fussy on first use.
While everyone else has gone turbocharged and you get a turbo on the entrylevel NX crossover Lexus keeps its top tier F models naturally aspirated, and things are the better for it. peak power with jewellike charm. It feels crafted with care, and revs far more smoothly than any surging twin turbo motor.
Having said that, it’s considerably down on power and torque compared to the big dogs of AMG and M. behemoths from Germany, the GS F might look a little out gunned on paper.
However, unlike the Teutonic cruise missiles, the GS F’s character has some subtlety and balance to it. Part of that’s down to the smoother delivery that a free breathing engine has, rather than one being force fed by a supercharger or a turbo.
The other factor is the GS F’s curb weight, which is relatively light for such a big car. In fact, it’s only 35 kilograms more than the RC F coupe, Lexus’ other F machine. As a result, it feels nicely balanced and friendly. The eight speed automatic is well suited to both urban cruising duties, but shifts just as fast as the best in the market when called upon.
Another ace up the GS F’s sleeve is the torque vectoring rear differential, a trick rear axle capable of sending more power to the outside wheel when cornering. This really makes the big car dance through transitions; it’s quick and competent, fast enough to be fun without the berserker rage of an AMG.
It might actually be unfair to compare this car against the super sport machines from Germany as it’s a little more like that country’s midlevel cars. This isn’t an Audi RS7 competitor, it’s more like an S6 in terms of speed. And, when you measure it against that level of performance, the GS F’s balance shines even more brightly.
So sure, if you want to brag about raw horsepower, there are bigger, blunter instruments out there. However, if you want a little finesse, start with an F.
At $95,000 the GS F is reasonably expensive, though not in comparison to its competition. However, there are essentially no options to pick besides colour choice. The 17 speaker Mark Levinson audio is simply excellent, and it’s standard. Navigation is standard. The 19 inch alloys are standard. Just pick your colour and you’re all set.
Fuel economy seems hilarious to mention in this kind of machine, but it’s not too bad actually. Official figures hit 9.7 (litres/100 kilometres) on the highway and 14.9 in the city. Premium fuel is required, but it’s possible to keep the revs down and consumption relatively acceptable.
Great power delivery; friendly, approachable performance; unique styling; excellent seats.
Not as powerful as others; fussy infotainment.
A surprisingly balanced sport sedan that’s got all the performance you need.
BMW M5 ($103,500): The original sport sedan (if you don’t count a couple of Alfa Romeos), the M5 is still the benchmark fast four door. It’s a missile, capable of breakneck speed, and not at all out of place on any track you care to mention.
It is, however, a lot more expensive than the GS F, especially when optioned similarly. And, it has to be said, the current M5 has little of the balance that made the old versions so special. It’s fast, above all else, maybe a bit too fast for the road.