2020 Lexus GS F Review

Really good, not great, and almost gone.


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Powerful and smooth V8 engine, excellent front sport seats look and feel great, ample family space, mature aggressive looks, solid build quality.
Negatives: Interior design is dated, infotainment system is terrible for this price, car feels heavy in the turns.
Bottom Line: For those who want extreme sports sedan performance or top-tier infotainment tech, the GS F isn't for you. But if you want something powerful, comfortable, and solidly built, the GS F is an excellent choice. It's well-rounded, attractive, roomy, and great to drive. Get it now before they're no longer around.
It's official. Lexus is killing off the venerable GS and GS F sports sedans. And that's too bad. Sure, there are better sports sedans out there, but very few of them are the solid all-arounder the GS F is, especially with the naturally-aspirated V8 engine, a rarity in the industry. We've always loved the GS F because it's a Lexus through-and-through, and we're really sad to see it go. We drove it for perhaps the last time this past fall, and this will be our last review for the GS F's swan song. It's been a great ride. Read on for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

8.8

 

The GS F may not be nimble or as crisp in the turns as, say, a BMW 5-Series, but its wonderful V8 engine pulls hard and sounds great. It also has a well-balanced ride, good brakes, and remarkably good high-speed cruising manners..

Ride Quality: The GS F feels like it hits a sweet spot between shock absorption and sportiness. We never felt jolted or too isolated during our week behind the wheel.

Acceleration: 0-60 is a quick mid-four seconds, and that's ample performance to be thrilling. It's too bad the transmission doesn't fire off shifts as crisply as we'd like.

Braking: The Brembo brakes feel powerful and progressive with no sponginess or grabbiness that we found. Middling stopping distances can be attributed to the GS F's heft.

Steering: We found the steering to be responsive and accurate despite the minimal feedback. For a car like this, it's still pretty damned good.

Handling: You can feel the weight in the turns, but the GS F remains balanced. The body stays relatively flat under semi-hard cornering.

Technology

6

 

As much as we despise Lexus's awful infotainment system, we kinda give the GS F a pass since it's on the way out, and Lexus didn't want to spend any more money on the GS as it was sunsetting. That said, the next-gen system better be good.

Infotainment System: The large 12.3-inch screen is easy on the eyes, but the weird menu icons and the sluggishness are inexcusable, as is the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Controls: Stirring a bowl of noodles with a wooden spoon feels more precise than the GS F's joystick controller. At least HVAC buttons are easy, and the steering wheel control buttons are decent.

Styling

8.8

 

Call us old-school, but we still love the way the GS F looks. The blue paint and dark chrome trim look great on this mature sedan, and there's just the right amount of aggression, coupled with that grown-up sports sedan look.

Front: The spindle grille can be polarizing on some Lexus models, but on the GS F it's like baby bear's stuff... just right. The mean headlights and LED signatures look great flanking the big mesh maw.

Rear: The signature GS F stacked exhaust ports look great here, as does the real carbon fiber spoiler. Too bad there's no diffuser to give it just a bit more visual punch from the rear.

Profile: The front end looks a bit mispropotioned (thin) compared to the thickness of the rear 2/3rds of the vehicle. Our Brembos were grey instead of the orange hue we love so much. Otherwise, the GS F looks great from this angle.

Cabin: No doubt, the GS F's cabin is showing its age, but we still enjoy seat time in it. The carbon fiber, functional center stack, and the angry sport seats give it just the right purposeful look.

Comfort

9.4

 

The GS F should make the whole family happy since there's plenty of space and great quality within the cabin. We continue to extol the virtues of Lexus front seats, especially in sportier models.

Front Seats: There's ample bolstering and the right amount of cushioning here. At no time did we feel like our 6'1" frame was experiencing any discomfort.

Rear Seats: The rear seats have solid legroom, and the outboard seats are decently contoured for long-trip comfort. The middle spot loses out due to flatness.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The cabin is solidly built with no noticeable extraneous noises. We do love the sound of the mellifluous V8, but it is being piped into the cabin artificially.

Visibility: We had no problem here thanks to a good seating position and a manageable rear deck and parcel shelf height.

Climate: The climate system in the GS F works very well. We had no trouble cranking up the A/C.

Safety

7

 

The GS does decently in partial crash testing, but it fails to hit the highest marks available. The safety tech suite, however, is quite good.

IIHS Rating: There's nothing glaring here. The GS scored "good" in the moderate offset crash, side impact, and the rollover categories.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The GS F comes outfitted with Lexus Safety System + that includes a Pre-Collision System w/ Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent High Beam Headlamps, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Lane Keep Assist.

Optional Tech: The optional color head-up display is a great feature that keeps your eyes on the road and is easy to read.

Storage/Cargo

6.8

 

The GS F lacks some of the interior storage conveniences of more conventional sedans, but there's enough to get by. Trunk space is about average.

Storage Space: The retractable door on the center console has two large cupholders, and the Alcantara-covered armrest is decently sized. The door pockets lack the depth to be really convenient.

Cargo Room: Cargo space in the trunk is 14 cubic feet, which is about average, but the GS F gets killed by it's lack of a fold down rear seat, making it very antiquated in this segment.

Fuel Economy

5.9

 

The V8 is a monster, and it's thirsty when you get on the gas. No doubt, the EPA numbers are attainable under more conservative driving. We kept it in Sport+ mode 100% of the time and did our best to maximize performance rather than gas mileage.

Observed: 13.8 mpg.

Distance Driven: 115 miles.

Audio

9.4

 

The optional 17-speaker Mark Levinson system is great, and we continue to believe it's one of the best systems around with great bass, clarity, and power. The $1,380 option is totally worth it.



Final Thoughts

We're sad to see the GS F go. Sure, it's not the most prominent sports sedan, nor the most capable. Cars like the BMW M5, Audi S6, Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, and the Mercedes C63 AMG are more ferocious and look better. But the GS F just makes us happy for everyday driving. It's not so monstrous that you're afraid you're going to go to jail, but it has enough power to be fun and authoritative. It's also right-sized for a family of four and has the kind of reliability the others could only dream about. We'll miss you GS F.
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