1. "F" stands for "Fuji" as in Fuji Speedway.
2. The "F" brand was created to sway the perception of Lexus from the old man's car to a luxury sports car with track capabilities. All "F" cars are engineered from the ground up—not simply modified versions of the base model.
3. "F" is not to be confused with "F Sport," Lexus' accessory brand.
4. The GS is the most popular Lexus model in the U.S. In '16, the GS will have the 200t (four-cylinder turbo, woo!), 350, 450, and "F" trims.
5. There will only be 2,000 GS Fs for sale in America. Grab one while it's hot!
6. The hood, fenders, and front fascia are all unique to the GS F.
7. While an option in the RC F, Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) comes standard. We found it eliminates cases of both under- and oversteer. The technology works instantaneously and allows rear-wheel torque control without using the brakes. This comes in handy going hard into a corner where the TVD can put all the power to the inside wheel, improving turn-in. When you're back on the gas, it can shift power to the outside tire to prevent oversteer and offer maximum grip.
8. Don't let the numbers fool you... The 5.0L V-8 is still rated at the same 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque in the RC F. But each GS F engine has been balanced individually (clip-on weights added to the front of the engine crank pulley) for better efficiency. What's that mean? Smoother power delivery!
9. Active Sound Control (ASC) is a new feature that uses dedicated speakers to amplify engine and exhaust noise. Personally, I wasn't a huge fan of the artificial noises. I'd rather have a free-flowing exhaust!
10. The GS F comes fully loaded. There aren't many options to add except a 17-speaker Mark Levinson stereo. Got bass?
11. Impeccable stopping power for the 4,000-pound sedan thanks to Brembo brakes—15" front, 13.6" rear slotted rotors matched with six- and four-piston calipers.
12. The 12.3" center screen is leagues better than the RC F's smaller display. It's also easy to use with a mouse and "enter" buttons.
13. Stronger and stiffer chassis via a new underbody brace, structural adhesive, and additional welds in important areas. The spring rates, shocks, and sway bars are also updated.
14. Holy drive modes! You can toggle between Eco, Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus (S+) modes, but S+ is what you should keep it on unless in traffic. S+ offers heavier steering and holds the revs when you enter corners, as well as downshifts during hard braking. Works magnificently!
15. With the longer wheelbase of the GS F (hinting toward more weight in the rear), the GS F feels more neutral than the RC F. We found it easier to drive despite a curb weight 100+ pounds more than the RC F.
16. Interior is hard to beat with beautiful bucket seats, carbon accents, stitched leather, and alcantara bits—how a Lexus should feel!
17. "F" model cars don't take the massive horsepower approach such as AMG or Cadillac. The GS F won't win a drag race, but we promise it's still fun and capable around the twisties.
18. The exterior design doesn't have the commanding road presence we would have liked, but it still features some very cool elements such as the carbon rear spoiler and specially designed undertray.
19. After taking a few hot laps at the Circuito del Jarama (former home of the Spanish Grand Prix), we're 100 percent convinced the GS F is an able track car! Just keep the TVD in Slalom or Track mode and the Drive Mode in S+...
20. The median age buyer of the GS is 53 years old. Lexus' hope is to bring that down with the sportiness of the GS F. The $85K price tag is still too much for a struggling editor like me, but if I had the money...
We can always count on our pal Gordon Ting to come through with a dope build. Here is his GS F that debuted at SEMA '15 featuring Advan Racing GT Premium twenties, larger Brembos, TEIN suspension, GReddy exhaust, and a custom carbon-fiber lip kit from Sumeru. Gordon, please hand us the keys!
When in Madrid
While the highlight of my trip was driving the GS F on Circuito del Jarama, here's a taste of some other cool things to check out if you ever make your way to Espana!
Restaurante Vaca Nostra had best steak I've ever eaten in Europe!
Two words: jamon iberico!
Exploring the mean streets of Madrid on a Wednesday night...