The Lexus GS F has made its European debut at the Geneva motor show, following its world premiere earlier in the year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The GS F is the latest addition to Lexus’s stable of F-designated high performance models. True to the principles that produced the LFA supercar and the RC F coupe, the 470bhp V8-powered GS F delivers sports car performance and handling, but in a luxury four-door saloon car package.
Based on the current GS saloon, it retains the four-door format and can comfortably seat five adults, breaking new ground as the largest car yet to bear the Lexus F badge.
Yukihiko Yaguchi, chief engineer, explained: “Our cars with the F designation are meant to generate a very positive feeling when you’re behind the steering wheel, and are designed to be fun to drive, no matter who’s driving, or where.
“With the GS F we wanted to make a special car that would not only exceed the expectations of the most discerning enthusiast, but which could also be enjoyed by all drivers. In this spirit, it embraces the virtues of sound, response and power – the cornerstones of the Lexus F brand.”
V8 engine and eight-speed transmission
The Lexus GS F is powered by Lexus’s formidable normally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine, here producing 470bhp and peak torque in excess of 530Nm. The unit is mated to an extremely responsive eight-speed automatic transmission that offers a manual shift capability and four driver-selectable operating modes: Normal, Eco, Sport S and, designed specifically for race track driving, Sport S+.
With a class-leading weight of 1,830kg, the rear-wheel drive saloon promises rapid acceleration and a top speed to match a sports coupe. As well as being powerful, the 32-valve DOHC engine is fuel efficient, engineered to operate on the Atkinson cycle in everyday running and to switch seamlessly to the Otto cycle for performance driving and cruising at speed.
Handling honed on the race track
The Lexus GS F features structural reinforcements and an exclusive suspension design to match its increased power. The intention has been to achieve sports car-like handling, with extensive circuit testing in Japan and on the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany. The taut suspension, larger tyres (255/35R19 at the front, 275/35R19 at the rear) and uprated braking system – complete with eye-catching bright orange callipers – combine to provide exceptional high-speed stability and sports car agility, with near-neutral handling balance through almost every kind of corner.
Lexus’s innovative Torque Vectoring Differential, which made its debut in the RC F, features in a comprehensive standard equipment list that will make the GS F’s performance stand out in its class.
The TVD has three operating modes: –
• Standard (default), giving a balance of agility and firmness
• Slalom, for nimble steering response and agility
• Track, enhancing stability for high-speed circuit driving
Lexus GS F styling
The GS F gives the styling of the GS saloon a more powerful, performance-focused dimension, witnessed in the larger, more pronounced spindle grille with its dedicated F-model mesh pattern and the large air vents integrated cleanly into the front bumper section. The elegant-yet-sporty frontal appearance is further emphasised by the slim, angled headlights and signature L-motif daytime running lights.
The GS F embraces the virtues of sound, response and power – the cornerstones of the Lexus F brand. – Yukihiko Yaguchi, chief engineer
The car sits noticeably lower and wider than other GS models, giving it a determined look that’s amplified by the front air vents and 19-inch alloy wheels. At the rear there is a subtle carbon fibre spoiler and chrome-finished exhaust tailpipes.
The cabin adopts sports-themed features as well, while retaining its overall elegant form-follows-function design. Details include an electronic instrument display that automatically adjusts content and appearance according to the selected drive mode. The custom-designed front and rear seats provide extra lateral support, without sacrificing comfort.
A luxury feel is retained, with high-grade Alcantara on the door trims, centre console and upper instrument panel, an analogue clock and a remote-controlled video monitor. The GS F will be available (according to market) with a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium hifi system, while those who prefer to listen to the engine sound can take advantage of the Active Sound Control system when the car is driven in Sport S or Sport S+ mode. The Active Sound Control is like that featured in the RC F, but with additional use of rear seat speakers.
Yoshiharu Nakajima, project chief designer, said: “Fun to drive – it’s what characterises all the cars wearing the F badge, and it was our intention that the GS F should be true to that quality.
“The style philosophy is ‘form following function’. For example, the GS F’s spindle grille was designed to further improve the car’s aerodynamics and internal cooling, while the air outlets in the front wings, first seen on the IS F and more recently on the RC F, have been adopted because of their efficiency.
“The styling direction promotes Lexus’s commitment to ‘progressive luxury’ and I feel this car conveys that brand message perfectly.”
Comprehensive Lexus Safety System+
The GS F will benefit from a multi-functional safety package that includes Lexus’s Pre-Crash Safety system to provide alerts, braking assistance and automatic braking to help avoid a collision, or mitigate the consequences of an impact.
Other features within the Lexus Safety System+ include Lane Departure Alert and an Adaptive High Beam System for better night-time vision.
Details of UK model specifications and launch date will be announced later in 2015.