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Hot Lexus GS-F... for fantasy

08:11 15 January 2016

The hot Lexus GS F requires zero extra effort to drive compared to the standard car but strikes an excellent balance between fantasy and reality.

The hot Lexus GS F requires zero extra effort to drive compared to the standard car but strikes an excellent balance between fantasy and reality.

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The standard Lexus GS is a model of discreet design and exceptional quality, but can it turn hot-rod with the right engine beneath the bonnet? Matt Joy finds out.

What’s new?

The Lexus GS is not a new car, but this GS F is something quite different. F is the designation for Lexus sporting models, standing for Fuji Speedway where F products are tested. So this is a hot car with a genuine pedigree, even if it only stretches back to 2008’s IS F.

Take the mid-sized GS, ditch the hybrid powertrain for a naturally-aspirated V8, match it to an eight-speed transmission and add some impressive technology and an interior and exterior styling upgrade.

Lexus GS F

Price: £69,995

Engine:5.0-litre, 471bhp, petrol V8

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic gearbox driving rear wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 4.6 seconds; top speed 168mph

MPG: 25.2 combined

CO2 emissions: 260g/km

Looks and image

The GS has always been quite striking in a low-key way. In F form its appeal is a bit more obvious – finished in signature blue it squats low over beefy alloy wheels with bigger bumpers, larger air intakes, orange brake callipers and a modest carbon fibre rear spoiler. It’s handsome and sporty but not super-aggressive.

Space and practicality

The GS F is mid-sized executive saloon so not short on space. Up front the width of the transmission tunnel makes the cabin feel a little cosy but there’s actually plenty of space for adults. It’s the same story in the back with comfortable leather chairs, optimised for two but can accommodate three. The large boot offers 520 litres, making this a genuine executive express.

Behind the wheel

There’s only the occasional V8 backbeat and sporty seats to tell you this is a hot Lexus if you leave it in the mildest settings to cover ground with ease and in great comfort. The suspension is a little firmer but, unless the road is particularly poor, it’s as relaxed as the standard car.

Turn the wick up a little and the GS F starts to reveal its sportier side. The V8 gives a little away to turbo rivals but you get the noise and response instead. There’s Normal, Eco, Sport and Sport+ modes for the steering, engine and transmission, while the electronically-controlled differential has its own Standard, Slalom and Track modes. After driving the GS F on both track and road in various formats it’s behaviour is surprisingly sharp and composed for a car this size.

Who would buy one?

The GS F’s specification list is huge, over and above that of a standard GS and it requires zero extra effort to drive compared to the standard car – a major plus point making it suitable for everyday use. Key German rivals may be a fraction faster or sharper, but the GS F strikes an excellent balance between fantasy and reality.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Price: Lexus GS F, £69,995

Engine:5.0-litre, 471bhp, petrol V8

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic gearbox driving rear wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 4.6 seconds; top speed 168mph

MPG: 25.2 combined

CO2 emissions: 260g/km

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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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