NEWS

2016 Lexus GS F: First Look

16Lexus_GS F_OEM_1 copy.jpg 2016 Lexus GS F; | Manufacturer image

Competes with: Cadillac CTS Vsport, Audi S6, Mercedes-Benz E550

Looks like: A regular GS, now with more scoops

Drivetrains: 467-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8; eight-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive

Hits showrooms: TBD

Related: Research the Lexus GS

Lexus just unveiled its latest F line performance model at an event in Spain. The 2016 GS F sport sedan is not as wild or expensive as competitors like the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG or Cadillac CTS-V, but it’s meant to slot in between those super-pricey sedans and the high-end civilian versions of the same models. The result is a hotter version of Lexus’ midsize performance sedan that features the same engine as the sporty RC F coupe.

Styling

The automaker did some work to differentiate the GS F from the regular GS, giving it new sheet metal forward of the doors that’s also functional; those scoops in the front bumper house the transmission and oil coolers. Lexus’ F-style spindle-shaped mesh grille makes an appearance, but most of the styling changes are from aerodynamic aids on the car’s underside — trays that feed cooling air to the differential and reduce the overall air resistance have been added. Larger wheels and tires round out the changes, but suffice it to say that if you like the look of the regular GS sedan, with its gaping spindle grille and odd Nike-style swoosh running lights, the GS F will likely be equally appealing.

Interior

Inside, Lexus didn’t change much. New high-backed front sport seats are available in bright red leather, as is a no-cost carbon fiber trim option. Alcantara simulated suede has been added to most surfaces; it’s fastened in place on the dash with special rivets embossed with the Lexus logo. The gauges have been replaced with the F-style instrument cluster seen in other F performance vehicles, and a full color head-up display is standard. Rounding out the interior additions is a white LED ambient lighting scheme.

Under the Hood

Lexus made the most obvious changes under the hood, fitting the RC F performance coupe’s 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 under the GS F’s hood. It makes the same 467 horsepower as it does in the coupe and is mated to a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

The GS F is a rear-wheel-drive sedan, but it features two new electronically controlled systems that aim to make it a top-handling sport sedan. First is a new Drive Mode Select function that allows the driver to choose between Normal, Eco, Sport S and Sport S+ modes. Each adjusts the throttle response, transmission control and electric power-steering response for either more sedate, eco-friendly operation (in Eco mode) or progressively tighter responses for sport modes. These combine with a new electronic Torque Vectoring Differential feature, which lets the driver select between Standard, Slalom and Track modes. It controls the torque transfer between the rear wheels to optimize the vehicle’s handling characteristics, without having to resort to expensive, complicated adjustable suspension functions (of which the GS F has none).

Safety

Lexus included all of the high-tech safety systems available in its stable of technology on the GS F, making park assist with 360-degree monitor, automatic parking, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning optional.

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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