2018 Lexus GS F: Upgraded Safety Tech, Same Old School V8 Charm [Review]

2018 Lexus GS F
[Photo: Lexus]


The 2018 Lexus GS F sedan may not be as fast as polished steel, compared to costlier rivals, but it should be more than fast enough for most folks with a 0-60 m.ph. time of 4.5 seconds and a 168 MPH top speed. Those figures are pretty good for this big, roomy, powerful rear-drive sedan, which weighs 4,034 pounds and is nearly 194 inches long.

The 2018 version of the $84,350 rear-drive GS F hasn’t changed much from the 2017 model. New features are a more advanced cruise control and lane keep assist, as well as Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect. Both those services are complimentary for 10 years.

This is the best-looking Lexus sedan, with its low-slung stance, bold front fascia with functional wide and tall air inlets, triple-beam headlights, carbon-fiber rear spoiler, four functional exhaust tips and a rear diffuser. Also, the grille features a lower molding, and wide front fender flares let excess airflow escape down the car’s side. Broad fenders and sculpted rocker panels provide what Lexus calls “visual muscle.”

2018 Lexus GS F
[Photo: Lexus]


The striking 2018 Lexus GS F has a great-sounding naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 making 467 horsepower 389 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. I found during a routine 65-75 MPH passing test that the car passed 75 in a split second and was still accelerating hard. Fuel economy isn’t great, as you’d expect. The car makes 16 MPG in the city and 24 on highways. It has a manual shift feature, via paddles or the console shifter. The 17.4-gallon tank calls for 91-octane premium fuel.

Using Drive Mode Select feature a GS F driver can set the car’s performance responses by using Normal for the smoothest, most balanced ride quality and drivetrain performance. Sport can be used to sharpen performance responses, and Sport S+ extracts the most from the powertrain. There’s also an Eco mode to help enhance fuel efficiency. Naturally, Normal is the best all-around mode.

The body exhibits mild lean when rushing through curves, but the GS F stays glued to the road with no tire howl. The firm steering is quick at 2.84 turns lock-to-lock, and the ride is firm, but not overly so. The GS F does a good job of handling road imperfections, but some above-average bumps can be mildly felt.

The Brembo ventilated disc brakes with high-friction pads stop the car quickly and surely. They bite early if the brake pedal is pressed a little harder than normal. A vertical G sensor in the anti-lock brake control helps ensure optimized brake force.

2018 Lexus GS F
[Photo: Lexus]


The quiet interior is posh and roomy, but large, heavy doors call for extra effort to open and swing close. The bolstered front bucket seats are upholstered in perforated leather, provide power adjustment and are heated and ventilated. However, they sit rather low so one must sort of plop into them and sort of climb out of them.  The rear seat has comfortable space for only two because the center area is stiff. However, that area accommodates a fold-down armrest with cup holders and a covered storage area.

One doesn’t expect anything but a nice interior in a Lexus. The GS F won’t disappoint. There’s perforated leather and carbon fiber trim, and Alcantara envelops the top of the instrument panel, door trim and center console. The elbow rest is conveniently placed for a driver’s right arm, and the extra-large “dead pedal” near the brake pedal is a good place to rest a driver’s left foot during a long trip. The front seat belts are hard to buckle quickly, requiring an awkward reach. The rear seats don’t flip forward for more cargo room, but the trunk has a low, wide opening and is fairly large, at 14 cubic feet.

The GS F is loaded with comfort and convenience features. They include pushbutton start, power tilt/slide moonroof, tilt wheel and climate control system. The industry’s first 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display provides immediate, simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems including navigation. A 12-speaker audio system is standard, but there’s also an available 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.

2018 Lexus GS F
[Photo: Lexus]

TFLcar’s Take

With a Lexus, you’ve got a luxury car. With a GS F you’ve got something a lot more. You have a car that’s smooth and comfortable, as well as a solid performer. Rivals include the Audi RS7, BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG E63 and Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Among standard safety features are 10 air bags, including side curtain air bags, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. Options include premium paint and a heads-up display, as well as the premium audio system.


On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $84,350
Price as Tested: $85,395
Engine: 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8
Drivetrain (Layout): Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Horsepower: 467 hp @ 7,100 RPM
Torque: 389 lb-ft @ 4,800 – 5,600 RPM
Transmission: 8-speed automatic w/ manual mode
0-60 Acceleration: 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 168 MPH
Suspension: Front: Double-wishbone w/ high-rate coil springs, stabilizer bar

Rear: Multilink w/ high-rate coil springs

Brakes: Front: 15.0-inch ventilated rotors w/ six-piston opposed aluminum calipers

Rear: 13.6-inch ventilated rotors w/ four-piston opposed aluminum calipers

Tires: Front: Michelin Pilot Super Sport P255/35ZR19

Rear: Michelin Pilot Super Sport P275/35ZR19

Fuel capacity: 17.4 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 16 City/24 Highway/19 Combined MPG


Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length:  193.5 inches
Width: 82.1 inches
Height:  56.7 inches
Turning Circle: 36.8 feet
Curb Weight: 4,034 pounds