Are Turbos A Must? The 2020 Lexus GS F Is A Shocking Japanese Muscle Car! Hot or Not Review

Sometimes, the old ways are just better (or at least more fun)

The Lexus GS has been around in its current generation for nearly a decade, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of tricks just yet. In a time when the entire automotive landscape is shifting toward downsized engines, turbocharging and electrification, Toyota’s luxury marque is still taking a different approach. First launched a few years ago, the 2020 Lexus GS F still packs a large naturally-aspirated V-8, instead of the more fashionable turbocharged V-6 powerplants or even four-cylinder units coupled to electric motors.

But does its large, relatively outdated drivetrain still make the Lexus GS F a potent force on the track? To find out whether it’s still hot or if the rest of the world has moved on, we put this rear-wheel drive sports sedan in the hands of our pro racing driver Paul Gerrard. Will it put up an impressive lap time, or is it truly time for Lexus to move in a different direction, leaving this as a swan song for the aging GS lineup?

2018 Lexus GS F
The Lexus GS F sedan shares its engine with the RC F coupe: a 467 horsepower 5.0-liter V-8. [Photo: Lexus]

Setting a time

Against some of its competition, the 2020 Lexus GS F looks outclassed, at least on paper. While it still packs a 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood, power figures aren’t near what we’re used to seeing from BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi. Its naturally-aspirated engine manages 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque, all of which is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Lexus quotes the GS F’s 0-60 time around the 4.5 second range, though that was something we unfortunately weren’t able to test at a mile above sea level.

Although it does have a relative lack of power compared to its modern rivals, it does have some tricks up its sleeve. First among those tricks are the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Beyond that, though, it also has a mechanical torque vectoring differential, which more effectively sends the power where it needs to go, at least compared to a brake-based torque vectoring system that tries to achieve the same effect by dragging the inside brakes in the corners.

The 2020 Lexus GS F did manage a lap time of 1:07.10 minutes, which puts it just behind the Tesla Model 3 and Model X. We run all our Hot or Not laps on the road course at IMI Motorsports Park in Dacono, Colorado.