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2016 Lexus GS F Debuts at 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Lexus’ first high-performance GS sedan.

Julia LaPalmephotographerConner Goldenwriter

Exactly one year after the debut of the polarizing 2015 Lexus RC F coupe, Lexus pulls the covers off the 2016 Lexus GS F sports sedan at this year's 2015 Detroit auto show. The debut of the GS F furthers Lexus' pursuit of diversifying its performance lineup, as this is the fourth vehicle to wear the F badge.

At first glance, the GS F doesn't look as extreme as the in-your-face RC F coupe. It still prominently displays the aggressive Lexus spindle grille, and features similar LED accent strips below the headlights as other Lexus models. Larger wheels and tires fill out the wheel wells, and various vents, scoops, and spoilers make for a more performance-oriented look. The rear fascia displays new quad exhaust pipes, and the taillight design differs from the regular GS as well.

The similarly subdued interior is trimmed in Alcantara, leather, and carbon-fiber, and features new sport seats with aggressive bolstering. Lexus' trick gauge cluster with a movable tachometer originally from the LF A is also included, and there is blue stitching on the gearshift and steering wheel.

Under the skin, the GS F features many go-fast bits lifted from the Lexus RC F. Most importantly, the GS F gains some increased firepower under the hood, courtesy of a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8, good for the same 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque as the RC F. This power is managed by an 8-speed transmission, which sends the power to the rear wheels through a trick differential also sourced from the RC F, called the Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD).

To keep all of this power and speed in check, the GS F also pilfers the RCF's optional TVD dynamic modes, which tailor the GS F's handling characteristics for different driving environments. The "Standard" setting is the normal driving mode with balanced handling, suitable for day-to-day driving. The "Slalom" setting increases the feedback and allows the GS F to be more responsive at higher speeds. Finally, the "Track" option provides maximum control at high speeds.

Lexus also designed a suspension set-up unique to the GS F, and reinforced crucial points on the chassis to give the sedan a performance edge over non-F GS models. With the modified chassis and suspension, the overall height of the GS F drops 0.6 inch. Disturbingly, the GS F gains 308 lbs over the base 2015 Lexus GS 350, an unfortunate side effect likely attributed to the addition of a larger engine and increased chassis reinforcement.

While the GS F may seem as though it is aimed squarely at the best from Germany, it may lack the hardcore performance to take on the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. When compared to the M5, the GS F is down 93 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque, though the M5 is 300 lbs heavier. Things are not looking up when you take a look at the E63 AMG, which has 83 more horsepower and a whopping 201 lb-ft more torque than the GS F.

So where does the GS F's target lie, then? Well, the slightly heavier Audi S6 measures up well with its 420 horsepower and 406 ft-lbs of torque. The 445-hp BMW 550i with the M Sport package is also in the same ballpark, though it's not a dedicated performance model. Ultimately, the 2016 Lexus GS F's pricing will end up determining where it sits on this sports sedan spectrum.

Stay tuned for more information on the 2016 Lexus GS F performance sedan as it makes its official debut at the 2015 Detroit auto show.