We say good-by to the Lexus GS
If you have to make an exit, might as well make it a wild one. That’s what Lexus is doing with the GS. It is sad to hear, but after the 2020 model year, the Lexus GS will be no more.
The GS line of luxury sedans have always been the step-child in the Lexus lineup – just daring to be different from the other cars that the Japanese luxury automaker produces. A few years ago when Lexus redesigned the GS, it set out to make it more athletic in its ongoing attempt to chase down that passionate pursuit of perfection. The idea worked. The GS is a mid-size, sporty sedan, but is still a Lexus at heart – which means it’s still a luxury car.
But the GS that was sent to me to review is a little different. This is the GS F, which means sport takes center stage over luxury, and in this case we are talking about a high-revving V-8, big brakes, and a sport-tuned suspension.
While the regular GS, the GS350, gets by with a 3.5 liter V6 engine and makes 311 horsepower, the GS F gets a naturally aspirated 5.0 liter V-8, good for 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends its power to the rear wheels.
Inside, the GS F isn’t the most luxurious car around, but it’s hardly cheap, either. The dashboard and center console feature inlaid carbon fiber, and most other surfaces are covered with either leather or faux suede. The bolstered leather seats, which look like they were yanked out of a race car, are supportive and comfortable, great whether you’re carving corners or crawling along in traffic.
Fire up the engine of the GS F and there is a nice rumble of the V8, routed through stacked quad exhaust outlets. As you drive, the rumble grows slightly louder, but once the engine hits around 3500 RPMs, a sweet spot is hit and the driving characteristics change. The exhaust note changes from a rumble to a roar as the tach approaches it’s redline, and you quickly learn what the GS F is all about. It can hit 60 mph in about 4.4 seconds and charge through the quarter mile in about 12.9 seconds. By those numbers, you can tell this is no ordinary Lexus sedan.
But because it’s a Lexus, you’ll be draped in comfort and treated with fancy features There is an impressive 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, a color heads up display and Alcatera trim just about everywhere.
The Lexus GS lineup has come a long way since its introduction in 1993. From being outclassed and nearly dropped from the lineup, to returning in a big way in 1998, the GS was a vital car for Lexus.
But times have changed and the demand for cars like the GS just isnt’ there like it once was. Sales of the GS have dwindled, due in large part to the mighty SUV. Like an aging star, the GS has finally lost its appeal in the public eye. And as much as I hate to see it go, it probably makes sense. It’s been a fun ride. The Lexus GS will be missed.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2020 Lexus GS F
Base Price: $85,010.00
Price as Tested: $89,510.00
Layout: front-engine / rear-wheel drive
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 8 – speed automatic
Horsepower: 467 hp
Torque: 389 ft/lb
EPA Fuel Economy: 16 city / 24 highway mpg
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