Toyota’s luxury line looks to be shedding some of that posh exterior in exchange for some serious road chops. At least with the unveiling of the new Lexus GS F sedan — which will debut at the North American International Auto Show next week — it sure feels that way.
That’s right performance fans, Lexus is giving its lineup a bit of an augmentation, and it appears that it’ll be worth the wait. Though Lexus will formally take the curtain off of the new GS F sedan in Detroit at the NAIAS, the first images and details are starting to make the rounds. As for the juicy details, we know that the GS F will produce a robust 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque, all from a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine. Pair that with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the GS F suddenly looks like it will be a formidable newcomer to the performance car segment.
As for the car’s construction, Lexus says that new engineering innovations will underpin the car’s performance. “The GS F unibody will also feature structural reinforcements and suspension exclusively designed to optimize this super sedan’s handling envelope without detracting from its ride quality,” the company said in a press release. “Drivers will appreciate the GS F’s handling and smoothness on the open highway as well as the sedan’s ability to devour challenging roads, whether they’re winding up the side of a mountain or at a racetrack.”
Finally, the GS F will utilize the Torque Vectoring Differential — the same technology used in the Lexus RC F — which will allow drivers to select from three distinct driving modes: Slalom, Track, and Standard. The technology lets drivers select different modes depending on driving conditions, allowing for more efficient use of the car’s power.
Again, we won’t get our first in-the-flesh look at the GS F until it hits the stage in Detroit, but that shouldn’t stop us from digging into the car’s potential. First off, the GS F offers a bigger and family-friendly alternative to the RC F sport coupe, adding a couple of extra doors but maintaining integrity in performance. While it should slide right into the current Lexus lineup, what does the vehicle face on the market?
Foremost, it appears that the GS F will likely go head to head with cars like the BMW M3, or similar cars from Audi and Mercedes. There are already plenty of similar cars already out there, so it’s possible that Lexus could be running into a market segment that is starting to get saturated. After all, these cars aren’t cheap, and are definitely aimed at a specific segment of the population, which isn’t terribly large.
But still, luxury car sales have been surging as of late, with BMW sales going up by 9.8% in 2014, and Mercedes by 5.7%, according to 24/7 Wall St. Those numbers exhibit significant gains year-over-year, and the Lexus brass is probably trying to capitalize on the renewed interest in luxury cars as the economy grows. Going head-to-head with competitors in more arenas is a good way to do that.
And you can probably expect Lexus to outsource its performance-centric “F” moniker to other models as well. The company looks as if it’s ready to abandon the more traditional luxury designs and cater to a more performance-based consumer segment. “You’ll see F apply to more models than just RC,” Lexus General Manager Jeff Bracken told Automotive News last year. “What you’re seeing from Lexus is not just traditional sedan products, but you’re going to see more and more aggressive design, styling and driving dynamics.”
If what Jeff Bracken said holds true, then the GS F may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sleek and sporty performance-based Lexus vehicles.