2017 Lexus GS F is old-school cool but lags the performance competition

The performance sedan segment has been engaged in a battle for horsepower dominance in recent years. While a performance sedan making 400 horsepower would suffice a decade ago, we now have the option to buy a family-sized sedan that can produce as much power as some of the fastest supercars. Take the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V; its 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 outputs 640 horsepower, which means it outguns Audi’s flagship R8 — producing 610 horsepower.

Why then did Lexus release its supersedan, the GS F, with a power figure of 467 horsepower?

Whereas all of the GS F’s rivals have gone down the turbocharged or supercharged route, Lexus decided to stay natural with its engine’s breathing. This means a lower overall power output, but it does come with some benefits. The noise that emanates from the Japanese 5.0-liter V-8 is a mixture of distant thunder and bear growl, and the response to the right foot is instant. These are two factors often undermined when using turbos or superchargers. So for that, Lexus, we thank you.

The rest of the drivetrain is an annoyance known as the transmission. The eight-speed automatic feels lazy in comparison to the competition. Cars such as the CTS-V always seem keen to rip your face off, eagerly awaiting a harder push on the gas pedal. The GS F takes a more relaxed approach, casually shifting down a couple of gears before it unleashes the full potential of the engine.