The world of high-performance luxury sports sedans has basically become the game of who is the best. Which one has the most horsepower? Which one reaches 60 mph in the fastest time? Who ran around the Nürburgring track faster than the rest? In the process, some of the deep thrill and tactility of these cars have been lost, turbocharging numbing engine response and all-wheel drive are limiting tail-out antics.
Now, consider the 2018 Lexus GS F as an alternative to old-schools. Its 469-horsepower V8 is non-turbocharged. That means, it has less low-rpm, torque-rich thrust than its turbocharged rival, but in return it delivers sharper, more engaging responsiveness and a more excellent soundtrack. And yes, it sends its power to the rear wheels, as is always intended for sports cars.
As part of the Lexus F division, there is more than just a big engine. Compared to regular GS, the GS F steering has been retuned for better feel. Thanks to adaptive sport-tuned suspension, its exceptional handling allows for impressive control, a minimum body roll and sufficient comfortable ride. The end result is an amazing sports sedan that is useful even for everyday driving.
For 2018, the Lexus GS F receive an upgrade for its standard safety tech features. The adaptive cruise control system now works at all speeds, while the lane departure warning system now includes lane keeping assist. The Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect telematics systems are also now free for the first 10 years.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Lexus GS F is a five-passenger, high-performance luxury sedan that offered in single trim levels. The regular Lexus GS sedan is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment includes for the GS F includes special styling, 19-inch wheels, an adaptive sport-tuned suspension, a torque-vectoring rear differential, Brembo brakes, sport steering, aerodynamic enhancements, LED running lights, xenon headlights, automatic high beams, auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, keyless ignition and entry, a power-adjustable steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats with memory functions, and leather upholstery.
Standard tech features include a 12.3-inch display, voice controls, the Remote Touch infotainment interface, a navigation system, a USB port, Lexus Enform (remote vehicle controls and infotainment app suite), and a 12-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD and satellite radio.
Advanced driver safety aids such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking are also included.
Available stand-alone options include different wheels, orange brake calipers, a head-up display, and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with a six-CD changer.
Under the hood, the 2018 Lexus GS F is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that generates 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. This high-revving power source was borrowed from the RC F. That power sent to the rear wheel through an exclusive eight-speed automatic gearbox with an element of manual control via paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel.
The GS F is an excellent sports sedan even in daily driving. The steering is sharp and communicative, and it gives the driver confidence. The maximum thrust cannot match rivals in the class, but it is not slow either. In performance testing, the 2018 Lexus GS F accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and reach quarter-mile in 12.8 seconds. Top speed of 168 mph.
An automatic stop-start function, high compression ratio and clever variable valve timing help to save fuel. EPA estimates fuel economy return 19 mpg combined (16 city/24 highway), which is quite good compared to other competitors in this segment.
With the cabin found in the regular GS model as a jumping starting point, Lexus gives the 2018 GS F high-quality material and design motifs that are not shy to its competitors. The cabin looks upscale with supple leather and aluminum trim enhanced by synthetic suede accents on certain touch points and carbon fiber trim on the dashboard. The GS F also receives a unique front seat that has more prominent bolsters to support enthusiastic driving. As with other GS models, the rear seats have enough headroom and legroom for two adults.
The navigation system has full-screen capability, but unfortunately the Lexus Remote Touch interface remains the only way to control the infotainment system. This controller is one of the GS F biggest drawbacks. Inspired by a computer mouse, this is the main method for selecting audio and navigation, and it’s far from ideal. Despite its sharp screen, the cursor control with this device jerky, especially when you are driving. Lexus has added several welcome menu shortcuts, but overall competitor infotainment controllers are easier to use.
The trunk 14.1 cubic feet of capacity is on par for this class, but the rear seat does not fold to expand the cargo space. Instead, there is a center pass-through in the backseat to load longer items.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Lexus GS F is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Direct competition includes the Porsche Panamera Turbo, Cadillac CTS-V and BMW M5. Official pricing for the GS F starting at $85,345 (all prices include the $995 destination charge).