2016 Lexus GS F Review
Pros & Cons
- Reasonable base price
- high quality interior.
- Less rapid than its competition
- tech interface can be distracting to use.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2016 Lexus GS F amps up the performance compared with Lexus' regular GS 350 coupe. The resulting power and luxury are promising, though may not be enough to topple other rival high-performance sedans.
With the GS F, Lexus steps into the ring with some of the most accomplished performance sedans on the market. The GS F is the fourth member of the brand's performance-oriented "F" lineup and borrows from its stablemates to ratchet up its firepower and capability. Lexus F models are a response to BMW's "M" division, Mercedes-Benz's AMG, Cadillac's V series and Audi's RS models.
The 2016 Lexus GS F is distinguishable from the standard GS thanks to larger grille air intakes, unique wheels and brightly painted brake calipers.
Based on the existing GS 350, the GS F wears its reinvigorated attitude on its proverbial sleeve, boasting more aggressive bodywork, quad tailpipe tips, carbon-fiber accents and 19-inch wheels. There's a raft of enhancements under the skin to back up the tougher look, as you'd expect in a car of this segment. The GS F's naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 churns up 467 horsepower (it's the same engine found in the RC F) and is complemented by a torque-vectoring rear differential, upsized brakes and a retuned suspension, all of which promise to elevate this luxury sedan's performance to new heights. Even the structure of the car itself has been reinforced to better cope with the rigors of high-performance driving.
However, while the regular GS line is a fine all-around luxury sedan, the GS F has a more difficult time truly standing out in this all-star league. Although its curb weight just north of 4,000 pounds is relatively light for the class, the GS F is also packing less torque than its turbocharged competition. The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is far more powerful and costs similarly, while the traditional German choices — the 2016 BMW M5 and 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 — dish up more performance than the Lexus. We also suspect that the GS F, as it lacks an adaptive suspension, won't be able to match those models' dynamic range of handling and ride comfort. The GS F's price is lower, though. That might be enough of a draw for shoppers who don't need ultimate performance and just want a well-equipped GS sedan with a boffo V8 under the hood.
2016 Lexus GS F models
The 2016 Lexus GS F is a five-seat luxury sedan offered exclusively with rear-wheel drive. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated auto-dimming side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, driver-selectable drive modes, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats (with two-way power lumbar), driver seat memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and power rear sunshade.
Standard tech features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Lexus' Remote Touch interface, a 12.3-inch screen with navigation, a rearview camera and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, a USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Also included is Siri integration for select iPhones, and Enform Remote, which can remotely start the engine, adjust climate control, monitor the vehicle's position and set limits and receive alerts for speed, distance and curfew.
The GS F gains carbon-fiber accents and seats borrowed from the Lexus RC F sport coupe.
Available stand-alone options include a 17-speaker premium Mark Levinson sound system, a sunroof and premium paint.
Performance & mpg
The highlight of the GS F is its engine, a 5.0-liter V8 that develops 467 hp and 389 pound-feet of torque. It's a high-revving power plant that was borrowed intact from the RC F. As in that car, the GS F is available exclusively with an eight-speed automatic gearbox with an element of manual control via paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel.
According to Lexus, the GS F will accelerate to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Perhaps a better gauge of its thrust is its quarter-mile elapsed time of 12.8 seconds. It's certainly quick, though even this heady performance lacks the fireworks of its competition.
An automatic stop-start function, high compression ratio and clever variable valve timing help to conserve fuel. EPA estimates the GS F will return 19 mpg combined (16 city/24 highway), which is quite good compared to other sedans in this segment.
Standard safety features for the 2016 Lexus GS F include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front and rear side airbags and a rearview camera. The standard Enform Safety Connect system includes automatic collision notification, stolen-vehicle location and an emergency assist button.
Also standard is adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane departure intervention, automatic high beams and a forward collision warning system that includes pedestrian detection as well as forward collision mitigation with automatic braking.
While the GS F is a new model, crash testing performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for the GS series as a whole earned the highest score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test. It also earned a "Good" score for the side-impact, roof strength and seats and head restraints (rear-impact whiplash protection) tests. It's not yet clear whether the GS F's V8 engine will result in any deviations from the above results.
We haven't driven the 2016 GS F yet, but we expect it will be similar to its kissing cousin, the RC F. The two cars share a powertrain and large portions of the chassis, so we anticipate the GS F will have benign handling character that is predictable and approachable. Like the RC F, we don't expect its brakes are cut out for sustained high-speed track lapping.
Although we haven't driven it yet, we do not expect the Lexus GS F to surprise us with exceptional off-road capability.
One area we do expect the GS F will differ is in ride quality. Lexus has stated that the GS F is not quite as firm as its coupe counterpart, which is probably a good thing given that the mission statement of a sedan is generally broader and less focused than a coupe. Check back later for a full report.
Starting with the cabin found in lesser GS models is a fine jumping-off point for the GS F, since Lexus employs high-quality materials and a design motif that owes nothing to its rivals. For the GS F, the supple leather and aluminum trim are supplemented by synthetic suede accents at certain touch points and carbon-fiber trim across the dashboard. It also receives a pair of unique front seats that have more prominent bolsters to support enthusiastic driving. As in other GS models, the GS F seats five and the rear seats have ample head- and legroom for two adults.
Thanks to a roomy rear seat, the GS F is a luxury sport sedan for the whole family.
One area that is a weak point in the GS F cabin is the Lexus' Remote Touch interface, which is the only means by which to interact with the infotainment system. Mainly, it's the mouselike controller, which is the primary method for making audio and navigation selections, and it's far from ideal. Although the display screen is sharp, cursor control with the device is jerky, particularly when you're on the move. Lexus is paying attention to criticisms of this interface because for 2016 the system gains some additional menu shortcuts, but the reality is that most rival infotainment controllers are less distracting to use.
The trunk's 14 cubic feet of cargo capacity is on par for the segment, but the rear seats do not fold to expand the cargo volume. Instead there is a center pass-through in the backseat to swallow longer objects.