High performance, four doors and enough cabin space to comfortably accommodate five adults. Previously, the few cars in the world that possessed these traits usually came with a distinctly Teutonic nomenclature, but not anymore. Lexus has joined the ranks of the super sports sedan-maker with the introduction of the Lexus GS F at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.
The much-anticipated Lexus GS F sports sedan, which combines the opulence of a leading luxury saloon with the performance of a sports coupe, is the latest vehicle to join the company's high-performance "F" line that already includes notable examples such as the RC F. Based on the mid-size GS luxury sedan, the GS F breaks new ground for Lexus as the largest vehicle ever offered with an "F" badge.
"The cars with the 'F' designation are meant to generate a very positive feeling when you're behind its steering wheel, to be something that's fun to drive no matter who is driving or where it's being driven. With the GS F, we wanted to make a special car that not only would exceed the expectations of the most discerning driving enthusiast, but also something that all people can enjoy. In that way, the Lexus GS F embraces the virtues sound, response and power, the cornerstones of the Lexus 'F' brand," Yukihiko Yaguchi, the chief engineer of the GS F, said.
A Powerful V8 and sporty 8-speed gearbox
Under the hood will be a fire-breathing normally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 that produces a remarkable 477PS and peak torque in excess of 530Nm. The powerplant will be mated to a lightning quick 8-speed automatic gearbox with manual-shifting capabilities and four different modes: Normal, Eco, SPORT S and SPORT S+, the latter designed specifically for the racetrack. With the GS F tipping the scales at a class-leading 1830 kg, the acceleration of the new rear-wheel-drive sedan will be similar to a sports coupe, while its top speed should give some racecars a run for their money. As powerful as the engine is, the DOHC 32-valve powerplant is also fuel efficient, incorporating the Atkinson cycle when the car is driven in a civil manner.
Handling Honed on the Famed Nürburgring
The Lexus GS F will feature structural reinforcements and an exclusively designed suspension system to match the car's added power. The newest member of the "F" line boasts remarkable sports-car-like handling, which was honed not only in circuit in Japan but also perfected on the famous Nordschleife of the Nürburgring in Germany. The car's custom taut suspension, along with larger tyres (255/35-19 front, and 275/35-19 rear) and an upgraded braking system, complete with bright orange calipers, combine to give the GS F remarkable high-speed stability and the agility of a nimble sports car. Those items provide near-neutral handling balance through most every kind of corner.
Lexus' innovative Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD), also found in the RC F, will be part of a long line of standard equipment that'll make the GS F's performance stand out from the crowd. The TVD features three operating modes:
Standard (default), providing a balance of agility and firmness;
Slalom, emphasising nimble steering response and agility;
Track, which enhances stability during high-speed circuit driving.
Distinctive Styling That Defines "Form Follows Function"
The Lexus GS F features an enlarged, and more pronounced version of Lexus' trademark "spindle" grille, with a distinctive mesh pattern reserved for F models, and large gaping air vents that have been flawlessly integrated into the front fascia. Slim canted headlights with the signature Lexus "L-shaped" DRL complete the car's elegant-yet-sporty face. The GS F sits noticeably lower and wider than other GS models, resulting in an aggressive stance that, along with its front fender air outlets and sporty 19'' alloy wheels, make it instantly recognisable as an F. The rear is highlighted by a subtle carbon-fibre rear spoiler and "trapezoidal tailpipes," with four chrome exhaust tips, that powerfully suggest that this car is meant to be driven hard.
Inside the sheet metal, the GS F's cabin has been spiced up. It is styled in an elegant form-follows-function theme, with all controls placed within easy reach of the driver. Residing behind the exclusive "F" sport steering wheel, is a new electronic instrument cluster that can be configured between four different displays, depending on your preferred driving style: Normal, Eco, SPORT S and SPORT S+. Also, custom front and rear seats have been implemented to provide the vehicle's occupants with more lateral support while not sacrificing comfort.
Despite all the sporty touches, the Lexus GS F retains a luxurious feel, thanks partly to the high-grade Alcantara on the door trims, centre console and above the instrument panel. An analogue clock adds a touch of class to the already elegant dashboard that features a central video monitor operated by a Remote control on the centre console. The GS F can be equipped with a premium 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system that will satisfy the most demanding of audiophiles, but when you want to listen to the music provided by the engine, simply activate the Active Sound Control by putting the drive system into "SPORT S" or "SPORT S+." The Active Control System, similar to the one found in the RC F but better because it also utilizes the speakers at the rear seats, enhances the vehicle's robust exhaust note for all the GS F's occupants to enjoy, perfectly complimenting the sporty driving experience.
"Fun to drive. It's what characterises all cars wearing the F badge, and it was our intent to design the GS F to exude that character. The styling philosophy of the GS F is one of 'form following function'. For example, the GS F's spindle grille was born to further improve the car's aerodynamics and internal cooling, while the air outlets in the front fenders, first applied on the IS F and then the RC F, have been adopted in the GS F because of their efficiency. The styling direction of the GS F is one that promotes Lexus' commitment to 'Progressive Luxury,' and I feel this car conveys that brand message flawlessly," Yoshiharu Nakajima, the Project Chief Designer of the Lexus Design Division, said.
Adoption of the new comprehensive safety package, Lexus Safety System+
Employing the millimetre wave radar and camera system to detect cars and pedestrians in front, Lexus vehicles, including the GS F, will come with a multi-functional safety package which includes Pre-Crash System (PCS) that provides alerts, brake assist and automatic braking for collision-avoidance support and reduction of collision damage if it should happen. Also included are: Lane Departure Alert (LDA) to warn the driver in case of an unintended lane departure and Adaptive High Beam System (AHS) for improved night time vision.