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Lexus GS F 2020 review: 10th Anniversary edition

The Lexus GS F 10th Anniversary edition is the same price as the regular GS F

Lexus has proven plenty skilled at transforming the once sensible and sedate into tyre-shredding monsters. And given it's the German brands that traditionally set the benchmark in this department, it takes something extra special to stand out. 

Enter the Lexus GS F 2020 10th Anniversary edition. An old school performance sedan that blends naturally aspirated V8 power with modern Japanese design and engineering.

So how does this rocket-powered performance sedan handle the more sedate role of family chariot and daily driver? My three kids and I had the week with GS F to find out.

 The Lexus GS F 2020 10th Anniversary edition is an old school performance sedan. The Lexus GS F 2020 10th Anniversary edition is an old school performance sedan.

What does it look like?

The 19-inch forged alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres layered over bold blue brake callipers look the absolute business. This, along with its beefed up flanks, provides a strong indication of the car’s performance intent. 

Featuring 19-inch forged alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres. Featuring 19-inch forged alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.

Front-end styling is dominated by the large spindle grille, with distinctive chrome ‘L’ contrasting with the dark mesh, while the rear features the Lexus F Series signature; diagonally stacked twin exhausts with a carbon fibre spoiler positioned above the LED tail lights. All up, it's an incredibly well-proportioned unit and easily one of the best looking performance sedans on the road.

The 19-inch forged alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres. The 19-inch forged alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.

The inside boasts a patchwork quilt of materials and finishes, with lashings of blue and white accented semi-aniline leather. The design is polarising but bold, and it grabs your attention as soon as you open the door. My kids on the other hand were unimpressed - I guess you can't please everyone.

Boasting lashings of blue and white accented semi-aniline leather. Boasting lashings of blue and white accented semi-aniline leather.

How does it drive?

A well-mannered and comfortable family taxi around town that turns into a powerful brute at the twist of a dial.  

The GS F carries a rather hefty 351kW/530Nm 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 up front, which is matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission delivering drive to the rear wheels. An intoxicating and increasingly rare find.

A well-mannered family taxi that turns into a powerful brute at the twist of a dial.  A well-mannered family taxi that turns into a powerful brute at the twist of a dial.

This V8 engine is potent. Switch it to Sport or Sport+ mode and acceleration from a standing start becomes an addiction that's hard to quit. It gets away sharply with power that builds and builds, and which is joined by a wonderful howl erupting from the exhaust at around 4000rpm before hitting peak torque at 4800rpm.

The experience is only bettered when you start throwing the GS F around some twisty black top. This Lexus is more nimble than its size would suggest, with pedal and steering inputs triggering a fast response.

Brembo ventilated and slotted rotors with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers deliver impressive stopping power, too. It makes for a heady combination of power, performance and handling, and it instils plenty of confidence. All the ingredients of an incredibly enthralling and entertaining tourer. 

An incredibly enthralling and entertaining tourer. An incredibly enthralling and entertaining tourer.

What’s perhaps more surprising about the GS F is the ease at which it navigates the suburbs, with the eight-speed automatic delivering a smooth and efficient drive. The low rumble from the V8 barely registers in the cabin at slower speeds.

After around 300km of city and suburban driving with four of us on board the trip computer displayed a fuel consumption of 12.5L/100km. Not bad considering the engine size, and only slightly more than the claimed/combined consumption of 11.3L/100km. Unfortunately the 66-litre fuel tank is too small for an engine of this size.

How spacious is it?

Its large dimensions translate to plenty of leg and headroom, regardless of where you sit. Plonked in the rear seat (I’m 180cm), there was ample space between my knees and the driver seat set to my position.

The 520-litre boot was big enough to fit all of our gear over the course of the week, with the large opening providing for easy access.

The large opening of the boot provides easy access. The large opening of the boot provides easy access.

How easy is it to use every day?

Better than it looks. Fuel economy aside, I would quite happily employ the GS F as the family taxi, as adept at tackling the speed bump-riddled 'burbs as it is the daily commuter grind. The adaptive suspension delivered a surprisingly comfortable ride and the cabin remained a quiet and refined space to spend time in.

The cabin contains a good-sized console bin, four cupholders, a storage bin in the rear arm rest and bottle holders within each of the doors.

There is a storage bin in the rear arm rest. There is a storage bin in the rear arm rest.

 

How safe is it?

What’s the tech like?

Looks impressive, but it's ergonomically flawed. The 12.3-inch screen (controlled from a console-mounted mouse-clicker) looks good, sure, but it's irritating to operate. Conversely, the premium 15-speaker Mark Levinson system was excellent and provided crystal-clear sound.

The tech looks impressive, but it's ergonomically flawed. The tech looks impressive, but it's ergonomically flawed.

How much does it cost to own?

There are only a limited number of 10th Anniversary editions available, with prices starting at $155,940. That also happens to be the same price as a regular GS F. A bargain, then. 

Our test vehicle was fitted with a $5000 Enhancement Pack, including 19-inch alloy wheels and carbon fibre ornamentation, bringing the final price to $160,582.

The standard features list includes adaptive suspension, dual-zone climate control, leather trim, a head-up display, electrically-operated heated and ventilated front seats, rear sunshade, F Sport instrument screen, auto LED headlights, keyless entry and start, sat nav, front and rear parking sensors with around-view cameras and a space-saver spare.


The Wrap

Lexus has cooked up something truly special with the GS F 10th Anniversary. A capable family taxi and performance-packed grand tourer in a beautifully designed and engineered package.  

Likes

Sharp looks
Ridiculously fun to drive
Easy to live with as daily driver

Dislikes

Operating the 12.3-inch screen
Polarising cabin design
Giving it back

Scores

Dan:

4.3

The Kids:

4

$127,710 - $146,850

Based on third party pricing data

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