The Lexus GS Turbo and GS F executive saloons are at opposite ends of their model lineup, but both deliver fast and refined performance.
(above) is a
lot better for
When the current-generation GS was launched four years ago, Lexus claimed that it was the most dynamic one they had ever produced.
The model certainly looks the part. It is both sharper and more aggressive-looking than its predecessor.
However, the most powerful GS models sold in Singapore then were the GS350 and GS Hybrid. The entry-level GS250 lacks low-end muscle, with its 2.5-litre V6 requiring plenty of revs to get going, which is not always fun.
Fortunately, the GS250 was replaced by the GS Turbo, which has a more potent turbocharged 2-litre 4-cylinder. It packs 241bhp and 350Nm – 36bhp and a massive 98Nm more than the 2.5 V6.
The turbocharged motor not only endows the entry-level GS with plenty of low-end oomph, it also shaves 1.3 seconds from its century sprint time. The GS Turbo finishes the century sprint in a respectable 7.3 seconds.
If the GS Turbo is the “alpha” or beginning of the GS range, the “omega” is the high-performance GS F.
Unlike its GS Turbo sibling which follows the smaller- displacement turbo-engine formula, the GS F is like an old-school muscle car adhering to the “No replacement for displacement” mantra.
Indeed, the GS F’s naturally aspirated 5-litre V8 has twice as many cylinders, and its displacement is nearly 2.5 times that of the GS Turbo’s powerplant.
The V8’s output doesn’t disappoint either. With 470bhp and 530Nm, it propels the GS F from rest to 100km/h in just 4.3 seconds. The racy performance is accompanied by an equally racy soundtrack.
The V8 starts with a deep growl, and rumbles menacingly when you’re just trundling around town.
Nail the accelerator and the engine unleashes its full fury, with guttural notes emanating from its quad-exhaust. If you set the Driving Mode to Sport+, the GS F’s volume will off end traditional Lexus owners.
GS Turbo 4-pot (top) feels as tractable as the GS F V8, and its power delivery is impressively linear, too.
For improved handling, the GS F has a stiff er suspension setup and 19-inch tyres mounted on gorgeous, forged gunmetal wheels. Lurking behind these rims are equally large slotted brake rotors, for improved stopping ability.
The GS Turbo does without these go-faster bits and goes about its business in an unobtrusive manner. Even when pressed, neither its engine nor its exhaust will create a din.
However, the GS Turbo is more driveable than its sibling. Unlike the GS F, which must be squeezed to 4800rpm to avail of its 530Nm, the GS Turbo’s 350Nm is already available from 1650rpm. And while it’s not as agile as the GS F, the GS Turbo’s more pliant ride means more comfortable daily commutes.
Complementing the GS Turbo’s cushier character is its equally comfy cabin. The 18-way adjustable front seats (the GS F’s are only eight-way), for instance, easily conform to most body types, and their ventilation function, which isn’t available in the GS F, helps ensure sweat-free backs, even if you’re in a long-sleeved shirt.
While not as flexible, the GS F’s Alcantara-trimmed sports seats do a good job of keeping you in place when you’re cornering hard. The backseats are also trimmed in the same material to help keep occupants from sliding about, but won’t prevent them from becoming nauseated if you drive in a ham-fisted manner.
Curbing your enthusiasm is difficult in the GS F, though. Faced with an LFA-inspired instrument panel, surrounded by etched aluminium trimmings and with alloy pedals beneath your feet, the temptation to go fast is difficult to resist.
With these “alpha” and “omega” variants, Lexus not only completes its GS lineup, but can truly claim that the model is the most dynamic one it has ever made.
"The GS Turbo and its quiet manners will please traditionalists, while the GF’S Throaty Vocals will offend them."
The GS F’s go-faster bits (right) make it even more attractive to keen drivers.
LEXUS GS TURBO 2.0 (A)
LEXUS GS F 5.0 (A)