We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Lexus doesn’t do boring any more.
Where it was once the sensible choice of Alan Partridge types who simply wanted the “Japanese Mercedes”, it is now the purveyor of some seriously cutting-edge styling, brave hybrid technology and a performance department that isn’t afraid to slap an old school V8 in it latest super saloon.
The GS F is the Japanese marque’s answer to BMW’s monstrous M5 and the Mercedes-AMG E63 – both brutal weapons in their own right but vehicles that easily tickle the £80,000 mark with a few options added.
But Lexus differentiates itself by bundling bag loads of technology into the £73,375 asking price and offers the tempting morsel of a proper, naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine underneath the bonnet.
In a world of downsized turbocharged engines, this shouty 471bhp motor is refreshingly different.
“Where previous Lexus cars have felt decidedly Japanese inside, the interior of its current crop of vehicles are far more European and the build quality is second to none”
Lexus holds its hands up and admits it can’t compete with the big German rivals in terms of outright performance and handling chops, so it has instead crafted a car that will happily cruise the motorway networks in comfort but turns into a noisy, pleasingly punchy brute at the press of a button.
Yes, the Mercedes-AMG E63 is faster and the BMW M5 more dynamically minded, but there’s something strangely alluring about the way the big V8 delivers its power.
There’s simply a surge of grunt throughout the rev range, which is joined by a deep, if not particularly menacing noise from the rear, while the automatic gearbox is perfectly good at handing over cog-swapping responsibilities when slipped into manual mode.
“In a world of downsized turbocharged engines, this shouty 471bhp motor is refreshingly different”
It’s a handsome fellow too and although this test car was kitted out in what I would refer to as “drug dealer spec” (bright white paint, blacked out windows and flashy gunmetal 19-inch alloy wheels), it still looks brilliantly individual when parked next to a BMW.
The gaping front ‘spindle’ grille, the razor sharp LED lamps, the swooping roofline and neat carbon-trimmed retractable spoiler ensure it exudes menace, yet in more subdued tones, it also looks smart and respectable.
There’s plenty of room in the back for adults, the electrically adjustable front seats are supportive, heated and very comfy, there’s a smart 12.3-inch infotainment screen and the digital instrument panels look modern.
Where previous Lexus cars have felt decidedly Japanese inside, the interior of its current crop of vehicles are far more European and the build quality is second to none.
There are still a few issues with the bizarre joystick Lexus insists on using to control its infotainment system and the system itself isn’t as advanced as those offered by the Germans but the interior is a nice place to dwell.
It’s a shame many won’t be able to look past the badge snobbery and consider the big GS F, because it offers plenty of bang for your buck and a build quality that’s difficult to ignore.
Model: Lexus GS F
Price: £74,375 (as tested)
Engine: 4,969cc V8 petrol
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Top speed: 168mph
Economy: 25.2mpg (combined)
CO2: 260g/km (combined)
On sale: Now