Today in 2016 pretty much every high-end V8 power Luxo-barge has forced induction; in the horsepower wars between the major car-makers this technology has yielded power outputs unthinkable a decade ago, 500bhp is the norm with the benchmark super-saloon the BMW M5 pushing 592bhp in its swansong model, the M5 Competition Edition.
Lexus thus far has stayed away from forced induction with the V8 powered GS F, it’s a pure unadulterated normally aspirated V8 motor producing 471bhp, whilst this may not sound a great number when you compare it against its rivals, you need to remember that this is the last of the pure V8’s, the standalone holdout against the mechanical impurity of forced induction if you will.
The GS F scoffs at the horsepower war of its Germanic rivals, offering a car with power that you can actually use on the road without needing expensive legal assistance, with no turbocharging to cause lag, the V8 motor allows to full access to all that power with an instant prod of the throttle.
From the outside the GS F oozes with style, every slash and curve draws the eye, it’s typically Lexus and shows the car-makers DNA from every angle.
At the front you get the massive one-piece signature grille, add the angled design headlights to this and the massive air intakes and it just screams aggression all the way, at the side the GS F has slightly flared arch work, again adding to the aggressive stance, combined with the huge lattice spooked wheels and it all comes together to create a strong visual presence that sets it aside from its rivals.
The back of the GS F sports the traditional Lexus F series stacked tailpipes and copious amounts of LED taillights, finished off with a carbon lip spoiler the whole car shows its high-performance intentions.
When you sit the GS F against its rivals it just stands out as a stunning looking car with visuals that look like nothing else in the market sector.
On The Inside
Firstly, the GS F’s cabin is packed with tech, the great thing about this is that everything comes as standard, no mulling over if you should have an item because with the GS F you will have it included.
The GS F is a hell of a place to be, every material is premium to the touch and it’s all finished and screwed together beautifully, the first point of call is the 10-way adjustable seats, these are magnificent, not only do they look amazing they are one of best seating set-ups you will find in any car being built today. On the day I had the keys to the GS F it was somewhat warm, the seat cooling function worked amazingly.
The GS F features Active Noise Control within its cabin, what this means is that as you mash the loud pedal to the floor front speaks pipes in synthesized engine noise while the rear speakers give you the low-down exhaust sound, when giving the car some serious throttle this does sound amazing and merely adds to the driving experience.
The GS F rides as a Lexus should, perfectly, the car absorbs all that an English B-road can throw at it with ease, this is easily one of the most comfortable cars on sale right now, you can easily rack up the miles in comfort while listening to the below of that magnificent V8.
Now having been in a few Luxo-barges recently I can say that the one thing that lets the GS F down is the infotainment system, it feels a little unfinished and a bit unwieldy to use, when you compare it to its direct German rivals they are far simpler to use and more direct.
The final highlight though, is the digital dial set-up, depending on which drive mode you choose, you get the dials to match, choose eco mode and you’re presented with a stylish fan style interface, choosing sports mode though gets you the most visually pleasing view in the form of the display lifted straight out of the insane Lexus LFA supercar, for this alone it’s worth the entry fee.
Firstly, that 4.7-litre V8 motor, it’s a pure and simple monster of a V8, producing 471bhp at 7100rpm, peak torque of 390Ib-ft is reached at 4800rpm. What these numbers give you is a 0-62 mph dash of 4.6 seconds, this number is a quick one, no doubt, it’s a high revving unit that howls as you open the throttle up to 4000rpm and beyond.
The V8 motor simply dominates the senses as you accelerate, as it begins to howl its way all the way to the redline, whilst the orchestral performance if you’re sitting inside the car, on the outside however it’s a different story with the sound being muted out somewhat so don’t expect much howling as you gun it through a B-road.
Show the GS F some twisty road and it performs very well indeed, make no mistake it’s a sizeable car, thankfully it makes make’s short work of corners and whilst it never feels like it would light up its rear wheels with fire and brimstone which is due to the max torque not becoming available until higher up the rev range, it feels both planted and assured during hard cornering.
The steering is also rather good as well, giving a decent amount of feedback, it feels quick enough in the faster drive modes and helps with that planted feeling. This is topped by the massive brakes on this thing, they are excellent while lacking a little feel they have huge stopping power which is useful with the amount of thrust this thing has.
One thing I must mention is the flappy paddles, I found that even in Sport+ mode that these were a little if not some way off the pace when it comes to the click of the paddle to the actual gear change happening, perhaps if I had more time with the car I could have gotten used to it but I consider this to be a minor slight against the GS F which otherwise shows strong abilities in all other areas.
While Lexus has for now at least, chosen to sit and watch the Germans and their silly horsepower wars, in doing so they have produced something rather special in the GS F, a pure V8 powered super saloon that is both a riot to drive as well as being a car you can cross continents in at great pace.
Add to this the magnificent soundtrack, the unique unrivaled looks, and the legendary Lexus build quality and ignore its very minor annoyances, it all just comes together as a thing of greatness.
If you don’t want to be like everyone else by buying German and you want something a bit thuggish that is also the last of the proper V8 motors, the Lexus GS F is absolutely worth a long hard look at.
Engine: V8, 4969cc, petrol
Power and Torque: 471bhp / 391lb ft
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Kerb weight: 1865kg
Top speed: 168mph
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Economy: 25.2mpg (combined)
CO2: 260g/km, 37%