When Lexus adds an “F” to the name of a car, you can bet that car’s performance will be something special. Lexus is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the F performance brand, and the company took its 2018 GS F sedan to Germany’s legendary Nurburgring track to test and fine tune its performance.
I had a blast driving the 2018 GS F on Baton Rouge streets, but I’m pretty sure it would have been more fun to push the 5.0-liter V8 around the famous German course.
The 2018 GS F has a low, wide stance that helps keep it planted on the road. Front functioning air intakes, a carbon-fiber rear spoiler and quad exhaust tips increase performance and give the big V8 a throaty growl when you push the start button. There’s even an electronic sound control system that boosts the sound in the cabin via the audio speakers.
The engine is not a turbo, but still generates 467 horsepower and 389 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic. There are three driver selectable modes: Normal, Sport S and ECO. The GS F will deliver 24 miles per gallon on the highway and 16 mpg in town.
New for 2018, the GS F gets an upgraded cruise control system that works in all speeds, it gets a lane keeping assist system instead of just an alert, and the Lexus Enform Safety Connect and Enform service is now complimentary for 10 years.
The GS F delivers takes an already fine sedan – the GS – and turns it into a competent and capable track machine with exhilarating performance and excellent handling. The GS F can zoom to 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 4.5 seconds, with a top track speed of 168 miles per hour. Big Brembo brakes will bring the GS F to a stop right now.
Because of its performance underpinnings, the 4,034-lb. GS F has a stiffer ride than some of its Lexus siblings, but this car is still an excellent daily driver. The cabin is opulent with comfortable leather-trimmed F-spec sport seats with 10-way adjustments. There’s also a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a color heads-up display system that keeps the driver’s eyes on the road.
The upgraded audio system is by Mark Levinson, with 835 watts of power. The standard audio system has 12 speakers and uses a 299-watt amplifier. The standard voice-activated navigation system uses a bright 12.3-inch high-resolution display. Connectivity is by Lexus Enform, and the radio is HD. The touchscreen can be split to show various systems and displays.
Front seat headroom is 38.9 inches, and rear seat headroom is 37.8 inches. Legroom in Row 2 is a little tight at 32.8 inches. Cargo space is 14 cubic feet.
Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, but my test car had the 19-inch upgrades.
When it comes to safety the F version of the GS has not yet been fully tested. To date, the 2018 Lexus GS gets the top score of “good” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in moderate overlap, side crash and roof strength categories. Government safety ratings are not yet available.
While safety scores are not yet in, the 2018 Lexus GS F has lots of standard and optional safety equipment and technology. Ten airbags are standard, including side curtains and knee airbags for the driver and passenger. Also standard is Lexus’ Safety System +, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, all-speed radar cruise control, intelligent high beam headlights, a lane departure alert system and a lane keeping assist system.
2018 Lexus GS F
$84,350 ($89,120 with options & freight)
EPA mileage estimate:
16 mpg city/24 mpg highway/19 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: