With a simple press of the start button, you hear the roar of a large naturally-aspirated throaty V8 come to life. Are we sitting behind the wheel of a Camaro or Mustang? Nope. This is something quite different – it’s the Lexus GS F, the brand’s rival to the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63. It’s been 10 years since Lexus launched the first F-branded performance car, the IS F and just like the IS F, the GS F gets its power the old school way. You won’t find any turbochargers under the hood, like you do in the M5 and E63.
Back to where we started, power up the GS F and you’re transported back in time to a time when big V8 engines ruled the track. The sound of the V8 Is pure joy and then you’re reminded that the V8’s days are numbered. But for now all we can is enjoy it.
The GS F is powered by a 5.0L V8 that generates 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft. of torque that’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Compared to the M5, the GS F comes up a bit short, since the German rival brings 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft. to the fight. As you’d expect the GS F is about a second slower than the M5 to 60 mph, since it takes 4.5 seconds for the Lexus.
Even if the Lexus GS F can’t quite walk toe to toe with its German rivals, that doesn’t mean it’s not a punchy performance sedan. Besides the V8, the GS F also offers several driving modes that alter the steering, suspension and throttle response. The best mode is Sport+ if you want to see everything that the GS F can do. The GS F hugs the road, its steering is perfectly weighted and the Brembo brakes keep everything under control. Again we can’t get over the sound of the V8.
On the outside the GS F looks meaner and more aggressive than the rest of the GS lineup, but inside the same quiet, comfortable interior is still there. The driver and front passenger do get the pleasure of sitting in unique sport seats that wrap your body perfectly. Not all is perfect inside though, since the center stack does look a bit dated and while the 12.3-inch infotainment system is a nice size, it’s missing the latest tech features, like Apple CarPlay. It’s also frustrating to use the infotainment’s track pad to make your selections.
The 2019 Lexus GS F starts at $84,450.
The future of the GS F may look very different than what we have today. First the future of the GS is still unknown. Last we heard is that Lexus is currently evaluating its sedan lineup, which means that the GS may disappear after this generation. Second there are rumors that the next-generation F models will ditch the V8 for a twin-turbocharged V6, just like its competitors. So for now we we can enjoy what Lexus has done over the last 10 years with the F brand.