What it is: The current Lexus GS is the fourth-generation, mid-size sedan from the Toyota-owned luxury brand. Originally introduced as a 2012 model, the GS underwent a significant refresh for the 2015 model year. The F designation is the Lexus high-performance variant, and the GS F backs some serious power with a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood. The engine is shared with the RC F and produces 467 horsepower and 389 lb.-ft. of torque.
While the GS F does have a rather aggressive front end, it really leans more towards a luxury high-speed cruiser than an all-out performance car. Don’t get me wrong, the 467 horsepower certainly makes for electric acceleration, but it doesn’t have the brashness or discomfort of a sports car.
The GS F starts at $83,940 for the 2017 model year, but comes very well equipped at that price point. My test model had an “Ultra White” exterior that paired wonderfully with a red leather- and carbon fiber-trimmed interior. 19-inch forged alloy wheels, Brembo six-piston brakes, LED headlights, a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, and more are all included as “base” options on the GS F. The one option that was equipped was a 17-speaker Mark Levinson Audio package ($1,380) that was absolutely sublime. It’s one of the best stereos I’ve ever listened to in a car.
One great thing about the GS F is that it has more than just the normal sport mode that you can switch into for maximum performance. You can choose between four different drive modes, which are Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+. Normal is self explanatory, Eco tries to increase your fuel economy, Sport S gives you more powerful acceleration, and Sport S+ gives you maximum performance as well as tightening the steering. The car feels so controlled in normal mode that unless you floor it, you would never know that there is a monster lurking under the hood.
The rear seat has plenty of room for adults, the trunk is plenty large, and the cabin is definitely a place you would want to spend lots of time. I was taken aback at how much I loved the red interior each time I got into the car. It’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly stunning.
MPG: 19 combined/16 city/24 highway
Price: $83,940 base price. $86,890 as-tested.
Upsides: Great looks, Lexus reliability, fun to drive.
Wrap-up: A base four-cylinder GS starts at $46,310, so it may be hard to judge the GS F fairly because it effectively has $40,000 in options over a base car. They might as well be different cars, though. The GS F’s competitors are the BMW M5 and Mercedes Benz E63S, which both have 600 horsepower, but also both start at over $100,000. Somehow, Lexus manages to continue some value in this segment. If you want cheap horsepower in a sedan, then you have much cheaper options like the Dodge Charger, but if you want luxury, reliability, resale and high-end dealership/service experience, then the GS F is a great choice.