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Lexus GS F takes its Detroit bow
Meet Lexus’s BMW M3 rival. Sort of. It’s the GS F, a pumped-up performance version of the Japanese BMW 5-Series.
But with nearly 100bhp less than an M5, we reckon it’s better off provocatively waving its clenched fists in the direction of the smaller M3.
Powering the GS F’s rear wheels is the 467bhp 5-litre V8 you’ll find in the RC F coupe. Unlike either of those M cars - nor any current or upcoming Mercedes AMG saloon - it’s naturally aspirated.
No turbos means it’s likely to be beaten off the line by the Germans (it may have 42bhp more than an M3, but its 389lb ft is down 17lb ft), but then it’ll better goad you into revving the knackers off it. Which is fun.
The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox with the obligatory paddle shifters. Based on the regular GS platform, its suspension has been suitably beefed up to handle the upturn in muscle.
Rather predictably, Lexus shouts about exhaustive development at the Nürburgring, though the GS F has been hurtling around a few circuits closer to home in Japan, too, notably the Fuji Speedway.
Like the RC F, there’s a torque vectoring differential. An electronic setup, in the coupe it teams up with a suite of other driving aids to help flatter the driver’s ability and dig them out of trouble if they start driving well beyond their means.
It’s yielded mixed results in the RC F, but with Standard, Slalom and Track modes, it offers the fiddle-ability so prominent on the dashboards of its German rivals while assisting Lexus’s claim that the GS F has a dual identity, “equally adept at trimming lap times as it is making the commute back home”.
Quite how adept a saloon car weighing 1830kg will be on circuit remains to be seen; it may be around 100kg lighter than an M5, but it’s over 200kg bulkier than that M3…
“Form follows function” when it comes to the styling, apparently. Quite how necessary four obscurely stacked exhaust pipes are is an argument for elsewhere, though, as we think they look brilliant. They’re becoming a bit of a hot Lexus trademark, and a pleasingly quirky one at that.
Lexus is hoping to build its F brand further, too. As well as offering two fully fledged Fs for the first time (following the RC F’s release last year, of course), it’s entering motorsport, showing the GS F at Detroit alongside this demonically winged RC F GT3. Later this year it will go toe-to-toe with Ferraris, Lambos and Porsches in the GT3 championship, before racing in the US in 2016.
So what do you reckon, Internet? Would you choose a Lexus over an AMG or M car?