2019 Lexus GS F Review: The Lion of The Lexus Den

96
Awesome
Overall Impression
The GS F goes against the typical Lexus grain.
Competes with Germany's top performance cars.
Pros
Powerful Engine
Ride & Handling
Luxurious Interior
Cons
Remote Touch “Mouse"
Limited Rear Passenger Space

We pulled next to a Ford Mustang at a light. The driver looked over and smiled. When it turned green, I punched the 2019 Lexus GS F, pulling away from the pony car in an instant. We could see him in the review mirror, a look of surprise on his face. The new Lexus GS F is a lot quicker than it looks.

This sedan doesn’t just come with a random sports package and some exterior badging. It’s a true performance car from Lexus. They have infused a performance attitude into every fiber of the GS F.

The GS F borrows performance parts from the RC F coupe and they fit just fine. The sedan gets the high-performance V8 from its RC F stablemate, along with revised braking and suspension systems. The 2019 Lexus GS F competes in a tough segment too, with the BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG E 63, Cadillac CTS-V, and Audi RS 7.

What’s New For 2019

A limited-production, 10th Anniversary Edition is new for the 2019 model year.

Features & Options: Tech & Safety Driven 

The 2019 Lexus GS F ($84,350) stands head and shoulders above lesser GS models because it gets infused with some extra goodies. For example, a torque-vectoring rear differential, an adaptive, performance-tuned suspension, sport steering, Brembo brakes, and special aerodynamic enhancements are each included. 

Other standard features include auto-dimming mirrors, xenon headlights, automatic high beams and wipers, LED running lights, and keyless ignition and entry. Once inside, drivers are treated to power-adjustable front seats with memory functions, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable steering wheel. Safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assist.

On the technology front, the standard Remote Touch infotainment interface features a 12.3-inch display. Our tester came with the Lexus Enform app suite, which offers an array of subscription-based and connected services. Other technology features include navigation, voice controls, a USB port, and a 12-speaker sound system complete with a CD player and satellite radio.

Finally, our GS F included the heads-up display ($900), and an ungraded, 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with a six-CD changer ($1,380). Total MSRP including destination: $87,985. By comparison, the 2019 Lexus GS F starts at $84,450. 

Interior Highlights: Luxurious & Comfortable

Stepping inside the GS F reveals special treatments not offered on the standard trims: aluminum pedals, carbon fiber trim, and sport seats we think offer up exceptional comfort and support. The additional Alcantara leather throughout the cabin gives it a sportier feel than other Lexus products, especially around the dash. The dash is characterized by its horizontal lines and cool ambient lighting at the perimeter. Yet, it offers the typical Lexus luxury we think beats even the best German sport sedans.

The fit and finish overall is top-notch. We thought the extra-padded leather panels in rich shades and smooth wood trim really add character to the interior. The giant, 12.3-inch high-resolution display sits ready for commands from the Remote Touch “joystick” on the console. In the back, there’s solid head room for taller passengers but knee room is lacking. Although the rear doors are big, making it easy for adults to climb in and out.

Interior Highlights: Sweet Symphony

The GS F goes against the typical Lexus luxury grain by piping engine and exhaust notes into the cabin. The 5.0-liter V8 powerplant gives out a throaty growl unlike any other model produced by Toyota’s luxury brand. We found ourselves jumping hard on the gas just to hear that sweet-sounding engine. The 10-way power seats, which we put to the test this week, are comfortable, supportive, and have more bolstering for hard cornering.

The color heads-up display helped keep our eyes on the road and it was a good thing as we pushed the GS F hard this week. We got the attention of a few local law enforcement officials who seemed to know I was coming!

Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs

The 2019 Lexus GS F is the quickest sedan the brand has ever built because of the 5.0-liter V8. The engine has 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft. of torque, backed by an eight-speed, Sport Direct-Shift automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters. The 5.0-liter V8 uses forged connecting rods and titanium valves that allow a 7,300-rpm redline. 

With both direct and port injection, this V8 gets an EPA-estimated 16/24 city/highway and 19 combined mpg. 

This is attainable only if you can keep your foot out of it. Good luck with that.

We got the attention of a few local law enforcement officials who seemed to know I was coming! Click To Tweet

Driving Dynamics: Fast As Lightning 

The ride is smooth enough, considering the GS F gets a sport-tuned suspension with stiffer shocks and springs. But it’s hard to drive the GS F without stopping on the gas! The first time we pushed on the naturally-aspirated V8 and heard the engine and exhaust notes, we wanted to have that thrill over and over again. It’s heard like sweet background music through two speakers, one front, one rear, as it’s piped in.

Lexus says the GS F sprints to 60 in just 4.5 seconds. You know it’s quick when you look down and you’re going 92 mph before you even get on the highway!

On the open road, when weren’t seeing how it handled the corners (where the torque vectoring makes the sedan respond beautifully), the GS F is a comfortable cruiser. The eight-speed automatic is crisp, smooth, and responsive, although it can’t match the German competition’s dual-clutch gearboxes. The big, 19-inch staggered wheels gripped the pavement and the Brembo performance brakes (15-inch front and 13.5-inch rear) help corral all those horses under the hood.

You know it’s quick when you look down and you’re going 92 mph before you even get on the highway! Click To Tweet

Conclusion: A Serious Contender 

The 2019 Lexus GS F S offers a rear-drive platform that’s pushing the limits for the Japanese automaker. It has the character of a true performance car with the luxury you would expect from Lexus. Our experience says Lexus is serious about competing with the top performance cars around the globe.

Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy

2019 Lexus GS F S Gallery

Photos: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

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