Lexus is known as a maker of efficient cars for buyers seeking reliable if not thrilling rides. But in recent years, Toyota has been invigorating its luxury brand to appeal to younger buyers with something it calls the “F injection,” giving a few of its standard models the ability to handle both the racetrack and the commute to the office.
After unleashing the RC F coupe (a two-door high-speed version of the IS sedan), Lexus pulled the cover off its latest sporty upgrade, the GS F performance midsized luxury sedan.
“Our F brand products are distinct in their execution with an application of technology and tuning to help create cars that elevate speed, heart rate and adrenaline,”Jeff Bracken, Lexus president and general manager, said during the debut of the car at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, taking place in Detroit through Jan. 25.
Speed and adrenaline have been consistent themes at the show this year as the U.S. auto market rebounds from its Great Recession doldrums. Automakers have been emboldened to step back from lauding small fuel sippers and hybrids, as they have been in recent years, to show off bigger and faster vehicles at this year’s show.
The 2016 Lexus GS F is aimed at younger, need-for-speed luxury car buyers. Toyota claims the age of a typical “F” series buyer is five to 12 years younger than the consumer who buys the standard versions. The Lexus IS F sedan was the first car to get the performance upgrade, in 2008, and since then five other Lexus models have gotten the performance upgrade option.
The 2016 Lexus GS F has a naturally aspirated 5.0 liter V8 engine that cranks out 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque, considerably more power than the standard GS. The eight-speed gearbox, which can be controlled by paddle shifters, works with four driving modes that give handlers different performance options, from standard to improved fuel economy to two sport options for challenging roads at higher speeds.
This GS F is the sixth F Sport model of existing Lexus cars. In 2013, Toyota released the Lexus GS 350 F Sport, but the company says the new GS F is “entirely a new animal” with upgrades and reengineering, especially of the vehicle’s engine, steering and suspension.
Over the past three years, Toyota has revamped the entire Lexus line, adding aggressive styling cues, including its bold trapezoid-shaped front grille and the hook-shaped front lights. The GS F also gets structural reinforcements to help with high-speed handling and 19-inch tires.
The GS F will go on sale in the fall. The price has not been announced.