2016 Lexus GS F
There have been many steps along Lexus’ path from posh to performance. The watershed one of course, was the LFA. But more recently, the IS F and RC F have helped to pick up the pace. Now there’s a new GS F for us to sample, and we’ve got a race track with many tasty turns on which to do so. Let’s see if it’s a perfect pairing for our well-seasoned palettes.
Ahh… Lexus. That purveyor of fine luxury goods that masquerade as transportation. Like any automotive brand, they’ve had their hits and misses over the years, and we’re still not sold on their current trend of putting a European performance bent to every model. But perhaps this 2016 Lexus GS F will change our opinion.
The powertrain is the same 5.0-liter V8 and 8-speed automatic transmission that has been kicking around since the 2008 IS F launched the F performance branding. But horsepower is now up to 467, and torque to 389 lb-ft.
Around Roebling Road Raceway’s high-speed twists and turns that engine sounds fantastic, even though that sound is largely synthesized. And it runs even better, with very linear feel and power delivery that seems torquier than its sibling the RC F coupe, even with identical numbers. Still, it’s nothing close to CTS-V levels of brutality.
As for the chassis, well it’s completely competent and capable, yet not much more. Roll is subdued enough, but there’s just an overall soft feel that constantly reminds you you’re in a Lexus; as does the over 4,000-lbs of curb weight with 53% of it over the front wheels.
Still, it behaves mostly neutral with some mid-corner understeer to go along with throttle-on oversteer. The torque vectoring rear differential helps to tame that oversteer by transferring power to the rear wheel that will do the most good with it. You don’t really feel it working, but you clearly can tell the difference between Standard and Track modes.
The automatic transmission performs darn near like a sequential manual when in Sport S+ mode, with very quick gear changes when the steering wheel-mounted shifters are triggered.
Brakes were also solid, run after run; without any of the mushy feeling that usually arises in Lexus performance cars after a few hard laps.
Bottom line, we’ll call it a home run; but Lexus, drop some pounds and stiffen the suspension instead of relying on electronics to improve the handling and we might really have a grand slam.
But then, the GS F is not intended as a track car. To be one, the ultra-comfortable highway ride that Lexus owners expect would surely be history.
Speaking of comfort, there’s a unique interior to enjoy as you effortlessly eat up those miles, and an incredible 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system to help pass the time.
F-exclusive gauges change themes according to Drive Mode, are easy to read at speed, and feature interactive displays like a G meter and lap timer.
Other special touches include the 3-spoke steering wheel, Heads-Up Display, aluminum-trimmed pedals, shift knob, carbon fiber trim, Metallic Dark Silver paint, Alcantara leather, and sport seats.
You definitely don’t want to be messing with the remote touch controller at speed as it’s hard to be precise with even at normal pace, but the infotainment system that it controls is very comprehensive.
Room inside is plentiful, and seats are top notch front to back. The GS F even retains all of its 14.0 cubic-ft. of trunk space.
The exterior gains some aero help by way of flared front fenders with grooved liners and air extracting vents, strategically placed under-trays, larger openings in the front fascia, sculpted rocker panels, unique side mirrors, and carbon fiber rear spoiler.
The quad tips of the stainless steel exhaust system, and available colors such as Molten Pearl, will surely shake things up in the Lexus showrooms. Lightweight 19-inch wheels with 255/35 tires up front and 275/35 rubber in the rear complete the package.
You’ll have to walk gingerly on the gas pedal if you want to keep those rears from spinning up off the line, but a 4.5-second 0-60 is the result, when you do it just right.
Throughout the 13.0-seconds that it takes to complete a ¼-mile at 111 miles-per-hour, the GS F feels fiercely fast, yet still smooth and comfortable like a true luxury liner.
Likewise, shifts are about as fast as they can be without sacrificing smoothness.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 24-Highway, and 19-Combined. The Energy Impact Score is just a bit worse than average at 17.3-barrels of yearly oil use with CO2 emissions of 7.8-tons.
The GS F is not exactly a performance bargain either, with base pricing of $85,390.
So the 2016 Lexus GS F may not be as big of a step up as other previous Lexus performance cars, but it is no doubt an important one. It’s well-seasoned enough to spice things up, without letting the performance flavor overwhelm the rest of the Lexus luxury dish. We predict the brand’s fans, old and new, will lap it up.
- Engine: 5.0 liter
- Horsepower: 467
- Torque: 389 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.5-seconds
- 1/4 mile: 13.0 seconds @ 111 mph
- EPA: 16 mpg city/ 19 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 17.3 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 7.8 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined