The 2016 Lexus GS-F is a new vehicle. It joined the upscale carmaker’s lineup as a luxury sedan hopeful of providing competition for well-entrenched, performance-oriented stalwarts like the Mercedes-Benz AMG, BMW “M” division and Audi RS models.
Marketed as four-door, five-seat sedan, the new Lexus leans more toward an awkward term (at least for purists) of four-door sports car. It’s designed and performs like a roadster, but it’s a luxury sedan and it’s all that defines the segment — a plush, well-designed interior and a refined, handsome exterior.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
As a five-passenger sedan offered only with rear-wheel drive, the 2016 Lexus GS-F is a luxury vehicle by any definition and its standard equipment list is a perfect starting point.
Lexus GS-F standard features impressive
Consider: 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.
(Video produced by Bruce Aldrich. Narration: James Raia)
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 (It can remotely start the engine,) adjust climate control, monitor the vehicle’s position and set limits and receive alerts for speed, distance and curfew.
Propelled by a 5.0-liter, 32-valve V8 that develops 467 horsepower, the Lexus is plenty powerful. Its only transmission option is an eight-speed automatic. Paddle shifters are mounted to the steering wheel.
The Lexus GS-F is rated at 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and 12.8 seconds for a quarter mile. With its automatic stop-start function, high compression ratio and variable valve timing help to conserve fuel, the Lexus GS-F has an EPA estimates of 16 mpg in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway.
Also standard: 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.
Standard safety features: 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.
The interior is equally impressive. The sleek dash and console are constructed with quality materials and a high-end designer’s touch. The synthetic suede accents on the top of the dash and on other key touch points add style as does the carbon-fiber trim.
Considering its powerful driving dynamic, the front seats are equipped with bolsters and have a “tucked” in feel for the driver and passenger.
As a performance-oriented sedan, the Lexus GS-F is a sports car enthusiast’s nirvana. It accelerates with authority but with an annoying “growl.” Its steering, maneuvering and braking ideally suit the car’s aggressive nature.
Beautifully appointed interior.
Deep set 12.3-inch navigation screen and technology panel is handsome and away from potential glare issues.
Precise steering and braking.
Unpleasant engine “growl.”
Oddly shaped rear doors have a sharp-edged contour.
The parking brake lever is “hidden” deep below the steering column.
Facts & Figures, 2016 Lexus GS-F
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 4.4 seconds.
Fuel economy: 16 mpg (city), 24 mpg (highway), 21 mpg (combined), eight-speed automatic transmission.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $84,440.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.lexus.com.
Price As Tested: $87,470.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/70,000 miles; Corrosion, 8 years/70,000 miles.
What Others Say:
“What the newest F lacks in horsepower to attack the performance gods, it makes up with a lighter curb weight and a significantly lower price. The spindle grilles may be an acquired taste, but everyone can grasp the value concept.” — CarandDriver.com.
“The rest of the cabin is a really pleasing mix of Alcantara and Carbon trim with the pedals, switches and knobs all well placed. The only black mark on an otherwise stellar interior is a steering wheel that, even when covered in perforated leather, looks more at home on a 4 Runner than a luxury sedan.” — Jalopnik.com.
“The GS F is still well sorted, and it sounds better than its competition. It does exactly what Lexus says it should. While the Europeans are starting to feel a bit generic, the GS F has a style all its own.” — Autoworld.com.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“The 201 Lexus GS-F is a limited run model, with an expected 2,000 units manufactured. It’s a unique powerful machine, and it’s not for everyone. But it’s a worthy choice if you want to own a sports car and take several others along for the ride.”
Article Last Updated: April 28, 2016.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.