The GS F is built around its 5.0L, naturally aspirated V8. It makes 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque. And the GS F is not the bank-vault-on-wheels that many competitors tend to be, weighing in at a svelte 4,034lbs.
The same eight-speed automatic transmission that debuted in the IS F is found here too. It's a traditional torque-converter automatic at heart, but employs very aggressive lock-up tuning to make it feel (and perform) a lot like a sequential manual unit, in some cases even delivering quicker shifts than some of the dual-clutch transmissions on the market. The GS F also comes standard with a mechanical torque-vectoring differential (the same unit offered as an upgrade to the standard Torsen differential on the RC F).
This engine/transmission combination is good for 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg highway, according to the EPA, and a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 168 MPH.
The chassis is fairly conventional for the midsize luxury segment. Up front is a double-wishbone suspension; out back you'll find a multi-link setup. The GS F employs Brembo brakes all around, with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston units in the rear. The standard wheels are a multi-spoke, 19" setup with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (255/35R19 front & 275/35R19 rear).
Like the GS on which it is based, the GS F sports Lexus' corporate "spindle" grille that juts inward to emphasize the stylized "L" badge at its center. Underscored by hood detailing and pointed headlights, the grille is distinctive and visually signals that the GS is not just another staid Japanese luxury sedan. Elsewhere, some of the car's detailing is derivative - the LED accent lights were pioneered by Audi, while the side windows terminate in yet another interpretation of BMW's famous Hofmeister kink.
As befits its sporting nature, the GS F features some exterior cues not found on regular GS models, including larger air scoops in the front fascia; an aggressive, functional, L-shaped front fender vent; unique multi-spoke wheels; a carbon fiber rear lip spoiler; and a stacked, quad-outlet exhaust system.
The GS F's interior further helps differentiate it from its more luxurious foundation. Sculpted F-branded seats, a unique steering wheel and a performance-oriented gauge cluster set the tone for the GS F's driving experience.
Like the more mainstream GS sedan with the F-Sport package, the GS F employs active sound amplification to enhance the song of the already-throaty V8 under the hood. The front speakers amplify engine and induction noise; the rear speakers pipe in additional exhaust volume.
The GS F also offers customizable throttle and transmission settings and selectable drive- and differential-performance modes.
Standard and Optional Features
Lexus took a very one-size-fits-all approach to the GS F. There are no trim levels and very few stand-alone options.
In addition to the performance features mentioned above, the GS F comes standard with triple-beam LED headlamps, perforated leather seating surfaces, heated and ventilated front seats, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, stitched F-Sport shift knob and steering wheel with transmission paddle shifters, a power rear sunshade, dual-zone climate control, 10-way power front seats with driver memory, a standard AM/FM/HD/CD/USB/MP3 audio system with Bluetooth hands-free calling and streaming audio, Lexus Entune infotainment and navigation with a 12.3-inch HD display and Lexus Remote Touch, Enform remote app, Siri Eyes Free, voice command, and a SmartAccess entry and ignition system.
The only available package for the GS F is an upgraded Mark Levinson audio system. It's an 835-watt system featuring 17 speakers.
Available stand-alone options include painted brake calipers and illuminated door sills.
The GS F is equipped with 10 airbags, including a knee airbag for both driver and front passenger. Outboard rear seats have seat-mounted side airbags, and all four outboard occupant seating positions are equipped with side curtain airbags.
New Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats reduce the space between the occupant's head and headrest to help limit excessive head movement and help decrease the severity of whiplash-type injuries in certain types of rear end collisions.
Available options to help further enhance occupant safety include a Pre-Collision System (PCS), which uses the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System to provide early warning of upcoming objects that might result in a collision. The system also uses an infrared camera with new scanning technology to monitor the driver's eyes - in the event that the driver does not appear to be looking forward when a collision appears imminent, the system will initiate the warning at an earlier threshold. If the driver still does not respond and make the appropriate maneuver, the system will initiate braking intervention up to 1.2 seconds prior to impact to help lessen the severity of the collision.
Other safety systems include a Heads Up Display; a Blind Spot Monitor (packaged with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and power-folding mirrors) that helps detect vehicles in rear/side blind spots; and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). LKA provides a small amount of active steering torque to help maintain course, while the LDW feature alerts the driver if the system detects that the vehicle is beginning to drift out of the lane.
The GS F is lined up against the meat of the performance sedan market. Competitors include the Cadillac CTS-V, BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG 4MATIC. Realistically, given the GS F's more modest power output, it's a more direct adversary to the Audi S6 and S7.