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2018 Lexus GS F Overview
Lexus refines its sport-oriented GS F luxury sedan for 2018 by upgrading a few of its standard features. Entering its third year, the GS F merges elements of the base GS luxury sedan with performance characteristics borrowed from the Lexus RC F coupe, creating a car that’s both a thrilling drive and a comfortable ride.
Less powerful than some competitors, the 467 horsepower GS F remains the most powerful sedan in the automaker's showrooms.
The GS F derives power from a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter 8-cylinder engine. Torque peaks at 389 pound-feet and is delivered to the rear wheels through an 8-speed high-performance Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission. All that horsepower and torque propel the GS F from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. With a powerful 8-cylinder under the hood, the GS F posts fuel economy numbers of 16 mpg city, 24 highway, and 19 combined, and premium fuel is required.
Lexus equips the GS F with a torque vectoring differential—a first for a Lexus sedan. Borrowed from the RC F, it controls the distribution of rear-wheel torque to either side to ensure optimal grip and stability. Available settings include Standard, Slalom, and Track. The Slalom setting adjusts the steering for more agile handling, while the Track setting is designed with high-speed driving in mind.
The GS F comes standard with an adaptive variable suspension that automatically adjusts the damping forces on the shock absorbers to improve stability and ride comfort, especially on rough roads and while cornering. It works with the automaker's Vehicle Integrated Dynamics Management (VDIM) system, which coordinates the car's stability and traction control features, as well as the antilock brakes. Driving modes, including Sport and Expert, give the driver increasing levels of control.
Drivers can also choose from Normal, ECO, Sport S, and Sport S+ driving modes, which adjust the throttle and electric power steering to balance every day comfort with performance sedan responses. Beefy Brembo brakes, measuring 15.0 inches in the front and 13.6 inches in the rear, feature 6-piston calipers up front and 4-piston ones in the back.
The GS F displays aggressive exterior matches its performance. Unique features include an F-series mesh on the automaker's signature spindle grille, larger air scoops in the lower front fascia for enhanced brake cooling, and carbon-fiber molding on the lower grille lip for improved downforce. The large wheel wells have oversized air outlets to vent excess airflow, and a rear spoiler boosts downforce and stability. Undertrays direct cooling airflow to the rear differential and help manage turbulence while reducing overall drag. Sculpted rocker panels also aid in aerodynamics. In the rear, F-specific quad tailpipes branded with the F logo provide a pleasing exhaust looks and sound. Other exterior features include triple-beam LED headlights with intelligent high beams, LED daytime running lights, auto-dimming side mirrors with puddle lights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The GS F rides on staggered-width 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, measuring 9 inches wide in the front and 10 inches in the rear.
For 2018, technology updates to the GS F are minimal. Lexus upgrades the car's advanced cruise control system to all-speed dynamic radar cruise control that adjusts speed depending on traffic. The lane departure function also receives an upgrade and now includes lane keep assist as a standard feature. In addition, Lexus increases buyers’ complimentary Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect subscriptions from one year to the first ten years of ownership. Enform Safety Connect offers features like stolen vehicle locator, enhanced roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, and an emergency assist button. Service Connect alerts owners to recommended vehicle maintenance, service campaigns, and safety recalls.
Inside, the base GS sedan's upscale cabin gets even better in the GS F, thanks to a number of sporty F-specific features. Distinct high-back F-branded front sport seats, covered in perforated leather and heated and ventilated, provide 10-way power adjustment for the driver (8-way for the front passenger) and are well-bolstered for support during high-speed maneuvering. The second-row seats, also leather-wrapped, echo the front’s high-back headrest design. A three-spoke sport steering wheel, shift knob, and foot pedals all receive a unique F treatment. Carbon-fiber trim adds a sporty touch. The instrument cluster has been upgraded to bright LCD gauges and readouts, including a dominant analog-style tachometer. Buyers can choose from Black or Circuit Red interior color schemes, and optional features include a head-up display.
An industry first for Lexus, an expansive 12.3-inch split-screen color display provides access to the car's navigation, tech, dual-zone climate control features, and its 12-speaker, 299-watt audio unit. The multimedia system also includes the Siri Eyes Free feature, making it easier to connect an iPhone to send and receive messages. HD Radio, Satellite Radio, and enhanced Bluetooth with an automatic phonebook are all part of the package. Buyers can add an optional 17-speaker, 835-watt Mark Levinson premium audio system. Push-button start, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel column, and LED ambient lighting are standard.
The GS F is equipped with a total of 10 airbags, including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger. The Lexus Safety System+, which includes pedestrian detection and a number of pre-collision features, comes standard.
The GS F comes with a price premium when compared to the base GS, but it compares favorably to its sportier competitors. Other sport sedans will get you to 60 mph a few split seconds faster than the GS F, but a more affordable price tag makes it worth considering.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.
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