Joyriding … with the Family

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Some automobile purists have difficulty with the term “four-door sports car.” Those who thrive on quick acceleration are used to just two doors. But performance- oriented cars that double as family sedans are an expanding segment. The limited run 2016 Lexus GS-F is among that group. Lexus introduced the GS-F this year seeking a singular goal: to compete with performance-oriented stalwarts from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Lexus is testing the market with a production of only 2,000 units.

As a five-passenger sedan, the Lexus GS-F is propelled by a 5.0-liter, 32-valve V8 that produces 467 horsepower. The only transmission option is an eight-speed automatic, but paddle shifters are mounted to the steering wheel, adding a fun element.

Plenty of pure sports cars are faster, but not too many heavy sedans are. It accelerates with authority, achieving the 0-60 mph standard test in 4.4 seconds. But there’s a caveat. While its versatility is impressive, the GS-F powers down the road with a prominent growl. The sound will likely please sports car fanciers, but the tone is annoying. It’s not too dissimilar from someone with a deep voice clearing his throat. Steering, maneuverability and braking suit the car’s aggressive nature.

One constant strong point of Lexus is its standard feature list and option packages. The GS-F equipment list is exhaustive, and key features include: 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated auto-dimming side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition and driver-selectable drive modes. There’s also leather upholstery, heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats (with twoway power lumbar), driver seat memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and power rear sunshade.

State-of-the art technology reaches near saturation: Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Lexus’s Remote Touch interface, a 12.3-inch screen with navigation, a rearview camera and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, a USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Also included is Siri integration for select iPhones, and Enform Remote, a feature for the engine to be engaged remotely.

The car’s interior is equally impressive. The sleek dash and console are constructed with quality materials and a high-end designer’s touch. The synthetic suede accents on the top of the dash and on other key touch points add style, as does the carbon-fiber trim.

The two front seats are equipped with bolsters and have a “tucked in” feel for the driver and passenger. The 2016 Lexus GS-F is a unique, powerful machine, but it’s not for everyone. It’s a worthy choice if you want to own a sports car and take several others along for the joy ride.

James Raia, a freelance writer based in Sacramento, California, specializes in sports and lifestyle topics. He publishes the website


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