Friday, January 16, 2015
NAIAS 2015: Lexus GS F Brings Lightweight Philosophy to Super Sedan Wars
Throaty rumbles and nimble handling aren’t just for sport coupes. Meet the all-new 2016 Lexus GS F performance sedan. It is not a standard luxury sedan or track car. The GS F rolled into the North American International Auto Show today with a growl, four doors and enough cabin space to comfortably accommodate five adults.
The GS F sports sedan, which combines a luxury cruiser with the handling of a sports car, is the latest vehicle to join the company’s high-performance “F” lineage that began in 2008 with the IS F sedan, then the fabulously exotic LFA in 2012, and just last year, the RC F coupe. Based on the mid-size GS luxury sedan, the GS F should not be confused with the GS 350 F SPORT. The GS F builds upon the GS 350 F SPORT with a comprehensive set of upgrades that re-engineer the car.
Under the hood will be a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 that produces a sonorous 473 horsepower and peak torque of 527 Nm with a 7,300 rpm redline. The powerplant will be mated to a quick-acting eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters for manual-shifting capabilities. The GS F also has four different driving modes: Normal, Eco, Sport and Sport S+, the latter designed specifically for the racetrack or your favorite challenging road. As sweet-sounding and powerful as the engine is, the DOHC 32-valve powerplant can offer a measure of fuel efficiency, incorporating the Atkinson cycle in certain driving conditions.
The GS F will feature structural reinforcements and an exclusive suspension system matched to the car’s added power. The newest member of the “F” line boasts a level of handling and agility uncommon in a mid-size luxury sedan that was honed on Japanese circuits such as Fuji Speedway and perfected on the famous Nürburgring Nordeschleife. The GS F’s impressive track and twisty road manners are the result of a custom firm suspension, along with wider forged wheels shod with staggered Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (255/35-19 front, and 275/35-19 rear). The suspension combined with an enhanced braking system relying on 15-inch front rotors that are available with bright orange 6-piston calipers help give the GS F remarkable high-speed handling and braking capability. Carrying over 300 pounds (136 kilograms) less mass than key German sedan competitors, the GS F offers a near sports car level of nimbleness and agility. These features help provide near-neutral handling balance and a high degree of driver control.
At the rear of the car, Lexus’ Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) with two electro-mechanical clutch packs, will be part of a long line of standard equipment that’ll make the GS F’s handling stand out from the crowd.
The GS F features a unique version of Lexus’ trademark “spindle” grille, with a distinctive mesh pattern reserved for F models, and large gaping air vents that have been integrated into the front fascia. Slim canted LED headlights with the signature Lexus L-shaped daytime running lamps complete the car’s aggressive face.
Inside the sheet metal, the GS F’s cabin is designed to exude the look and feel of a jet fighter’s cockpit. The interior is styled in an elegant form-follows-function theme, with all controls placed within easy reach of the driver. Residing behind the exclusive “F” branded steering wheel, is an electronic instrument cluster that can be configured among four different displays, depending on the driver’s preferred driving style: Normal, Eco, Sport S and Sport S+.
Along with all the sporty touches, the GS F retains a luxurious feel, thanks partly to the high-grade Alcantara trim on the doors, on the center console and above the instrument panel. An analog clock adds a touch of class to the already elegant dashboard that features a 12.3” central video monitor controlled by the Remote Touch Interface on the center console. The GS F offers the optional 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio system that will satisfy the most demanding of audiophiles, but when drivers want to listen to the music provided by the engine, they can simply change the drive mode to “Sport” or “Sport S+” to engage the Active Sound Control. The Active Sound Control system is similar to the one found in the RC F but is enhanced with rear speakers. All occupants can enjoy the driving experience complete with robust exhaust note.