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Are performance sports sedans still a thing?

Are performance sports sedans still a thing?

Lexus GS F hits your horsepower heart at 467, and it has four doors

High-performance coupes are popular, but sometimes disappointing as well. But what about the so-called sport sedans?  Do they provide a more practical alternative?

Lexus GS F features the same 5.0-liter V8 as the RC F coupe

Lexus GS F features the same 5.0-liter V8 as the RC F coupe

Lexus has redeemed itself by overpowering the performance sports sedan market with the 2019 Lexus GS F, a 4-door features the same 5.0-liter V8 as the RC F coupe as well as the Adaptive Variable Suspension.

Luxury, convenience, functionality and performance are rolled into the GS F, a sports sedan with plenty of leg room (at 40.6-inches up front and 32.8 in the rear) as well as room for junk in the trunk yet also is fun to drive with 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. That’s just a few numbers shy of the RC F.

But while the RC-F fell short in our recent review, the GS F has excelled with a defined identity.

Features signature Lexus Spindle Grille

Features signature Lexus Spindle Grille

Exterior features are much more muted than the sportier coupes, though the 4-door still carries the Lexus spindle grille and triple-beam LED headlamps. The car also has aggressively large air vents on either side of the grille, yet is less in-your-face than the coupe.

F embossed red leather seats | Lexus photo

F embossed red leather seats | Lexus photo

Step inside find F-embossed leather-trimmed seats that are among the  most comfortable racing-inspired seats I’ve experienced, and they are heated and ventilated.  The interior style has breathtaking details defined in the deep red colored leather, supposedly inspired by athletic wear and in the seats are positioned to provide support and grip in high-g situations.

Carbon fiber accents add to the sporty look

Carbon accents finish the look, but I will mention that I hate the “remote touch” knob-like mouse used to navigate through the infotainment system.  There are oddly placed buttons on either side of the elevated platform for the remote touch knob that were never used and are a bit of an eyesore.

Lexus GS F circuit red leather interior | Lexus photo

The infotainment system is displayed on a 12.3-inch display with the usual features, voice-command, Bluetooth, 3D city views and navigation.  The GS F also has a feature called the Lexus Enform Remote so you can utilize your smartphone, smartwatch, Alexa devices and Google Assistant enabled devices to start your engine, adjust climate controls, lock and unlock doors, find your vehicles location and more.  Something that could come in handy for those with families or even pets.

Pushing 467 horsepower is great, but the V8 just doesn’t perform the way I’d want it too and seems to need added help to get out of its own way.  Sluggish on take-off perhaps fighting with the automatic transmission still boasted a smooth and comfortable ride in even Sport S mode.

19-inch hand-polished split-10-spoke forged alloy wheels

Considering the size I expected more body roll through corners but was pleasantly surprised to feel it plant itself enough to take each corner at above average speeds.  However, as photographed I did have the opportunity to drive this sports sedan in the rain and I would suggest a slow and steady approach as the rear end likes to come out on you.  Comfortable and responsive, the steering wasn’t overly stiff like the RC F, making adjustments more fluid.

This sports sedan is for someone who values convenience and luxury over performance but still wants it sprinkled into the mix.

2019 Lexus GS F

Vehicle type: Sixpassenger, four-door SUV, rear-wheel drive
Base price: $84,600 Price as tested: $87,985
Engine: 5.0-liter V8, 467 horsepower at 7,100 rpm, 389 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm.  Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches Overall length/width: 193.5 inches / 72.6 inches
Curb weight: 4,034 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 16 city / 24 highway / 19 combined
Assembled in: Aichi, Japan

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Rebecca Nguyen
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  • Ryan Corman
    August 30, 2019, 8:06 PM

    I dunno ’bout the Lexus stuff, can’t afford luxo ‘Yodas.
    But if Subaru is still making WRXs and STis, then sport sedans are alive and well.
    And if it’s pounding rain & sleet, or snowing like a Siberian Christmas, I can’t think of anything "car" Lexus (or BMW, Benz, Jag, etcetcetc) markets that is safer, faster, easier to drive, and more cost effective than a Subie WRX with some real winter only tires.
    I live in Fargo ND, and a friend has a ’18 WRX Premium that runs Goodyear Ultragrip snows in the winter (not an STi, but still way cool). Even with the manual, the Subie behaves very much like it’s a rainy summer day, even in the most heinously Fargo-y winter. Ice, potholes, lumps, ridges; every so often one hears the front airdam touch down, otherwise one feels safe, secure, in control, and inappropriately fast.
    No, it’s not a neighbor shaming luxo-penis extension, and it doesn’t have a native chewed, hand tanned, Yeti leather interior & appointments as well as a Mark Levinson- gasp!- audio system (with specifications so far beyond the range and discrimination of human hearing capability- especially in a car- as to be ludicrous and only of interest to those who have "equipment" so undersized that the car’s badge is insufficient compensation), but yon Subie cuts traffic and snow/ice like the proverbial budda knife. And gets way good mileage and is cheap to insure as well. Lexus & the rest? Mmm, not so much.

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