The GS F is getting a bit old, but that doesn’t mean we’ve grown tired of its brawny intake sounds and rear-wheel-drive platform. For 2020, the Lexus GS F is mechanically unchanged and it is still an exciting member of the Lexus family with its throaty intake sounds and rear-wheel-drive platform. In fact, the GS F is somewhat of a dying breed in the Lexus/Toyota family, utilizing a naturally aspirated V-8 rather than a smaller, turbocharged engine to make its power. Lexus doesn’t mince its words: the GS F was developed for driving enthusiasts who appreciate an engaging driving experience, while at the same time, wanting a refined and premium sedan.
At its heart is the 467-hp 5.0-liter V8 paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and Lexus torque-vectoring differential with adaptive suspension. However the GS F isn’t all hot rod, it also offers room for five adults, a large trunk and a roomy interior. If you are shopping for distinction, performance, and comfort in the mid-size luxury-sedan segment, then the GS F is a car certainly worth checking out.
The 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 produces 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque and thanks to the forged connecting rods and titanium valves it screams to its 7,300 rpm redline. Max power is only available past 6,500 rpm, and max torque close to 5,000 rpm, so that means the GS F loves to be revved out to its redline. A Toyota-sourced high-pressure D-4S direct fuel injection system that uses port fuel injection allows the engine to operate at a high 12.3:1 compression ratio. 0 to 60 mph rolls around in 4.5 seconds and it tops out at 168 mph while it struggles to keep pace with its competitors from Germany the power is more than enough for most people and you would be too busy enjoying the burly V-8 crescendo as opposed to worrying about tenths of a second. Another slight downside is the fuel economy the GS F should return 16/24 mpg city/highway. Compared with its competitors—all of which have some form of forced induction such as turbos or superchargers, hybrid technology, and lower-displacement six or eight cylinders—the GS F is at a slight disadvantage. But again considering the glorious sounds of the non-turbo V-8, it’s easy to forgive the shortcomings.
What we like about the GS F is its overall presence screams performance – especially when you look at it from the front, those flared nostrils mean business. Lexus’ trademark spindle grille now features the F-series logo and is flanked by large intakes that send a gush of air to the massive front brakes. Wider front flares with gaping air outlets improve airflow around the big Lexus, while broader fenders in the rear give it a muscular look. The under tray on the GS F is specially designed to channel air to the rear differential. In the back, you’re greeted by a set of quad-exit exhaust pipes. Other cosmetic changes include the wing mirrors and B pillars are now black instead of gray. The GS F is full of handling and chassis upgrades, which explains its handling capabilities.
Under the sculpted body, you’ll find front and rear chassis bracing, a linear adaptive variable suspension system, and a front and rear suspension system that makes use of forged aluminum upper and lower control arms, a stabilizer bar, and exclusively-tuned coil springs and bushings, as well as optimized suspension arm bushings. All of this is attached to a Brembo performance brake kit and sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The results for all this technology is a four thousand pound executive sedan that handles like it’s on rails. In Normal mode, the steering is well-weighted, and turn-in is sharp, but it still manages to soak up road imperfections with ease. Switching up to the more serious Sport Mode Plus makes things noticeably sharper, and stiffer. There’s tons of mid-corner grip from the large tires, but step on the gas pedal and the GS F will happily let go of any sense of traction.
The cabin of the GS F doesn’t hide its sporting intentions the dashboard and center console feature inlaid carbon fiber, and most other surfaces are covered with either leather or faux suede. The beautiful bolstered leather seats (ten-way power driver and eight-way passenger) are supportive and incredibly comfortable, front and rear LED map lights, a programmable HomeLink garage door opener, as well as a four-zone climate control system with passenger detection functionality. All 2020 Lexus GS F models come with a 12.3-inch display coupled to Lexus’s Remote Touch Interface infotainment system, which we have mentioned on other Lexus vehicles the rectangular mouse-like controller is not intuitive and requires some practice, and even then it never quite feels natural.
Standard features on offer include triple-beam headlamps and LED daytime running-, brake-, tail-, and license plate lights, a carbon fiber rear spoiler as well as heated electrochromic auto-dimming outside rear-view mirrors. Other practical features such as Siri Eyes Free, SmartAccess keyless entry with push-button start, and Lexus’ Enform remote – which allows the driver to start the engine from a distance, heat up the cabin, and find their vehicle in a crowded parking lot – adds to the GS F’s daily ease of use. The GS F we tested had a few extras including a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system ($1,380) and a head-up display ($900) that were both on our test vehicle. We did also really like the 19-inch BBS wheels ($600) for a bit of extra style and luxury.
The GS F is fitted with a generous 17.4-gallon fuel tank, which should give it a maximum range of 330 miles. Standard safety systems include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and a forward collision warning system with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking.
Other things to note the GS F has only been recalled once in the past three years for a high-pressure fuel pump. J.D. Power gave the 2018 model a score of 92 on their consumer verified reliability rating scale. Lexus will make sure that the smiles don’t stop with a basic four-year/50,000-mile warranty, which includes a six-year corrosion warranty, a six-year/70,000-mile drivetrain warranty, a one-year/10,000-mile maintenance plan, and a four-year roadside assistance plan.
The GS F is a beautifully balanced car, not only in terms of performance and handling but in the way it looks muscular without the need for added extras. The high-compression V8 is a gem of an engine, and it twists the driver to get the most out of it. When it comes to the interior it really is a beautiful place to be. Although we do wish the GS F could rival the M5 and E63, it simply doesn’t have the firepower however at a lower price point it is a superb machine.