We Took the Lexus GSF Saloon for a Test Drive!
At Page and Cooper, we are known primarily for our expertise in all things horological. Why then are we reviewing a car on this blog?
Quite simple really. Since the earliest days of competitive motorsport/racing, accurate timing has been of the utmost importance, and thus cars and watches have become inextricably linked.
At P&C we have formed friendships, both horological and automotive, and we value these greatly.
We are proud champions of individual and unique watchmakers - masters of their craft. So when asked to review manufacturers from the world of cars, we chose to select models that we think will offer a unique ownership experience.
We were lucky enough to be loaned a brand-new Lexus GSF saloon for our recent photo shoot and thought we would like to share our experiences of driving this rare sports saloon.
Jonathan has driven cars for many leading car magazines in the U.K. From 'Evo' and 'Top Gear' to 'Car' magazine. Coached by Gavan Kershaw ex-Lotus chassis and development engineer (now with Aston Martin) Jonathan has experienced the thrill of driving the Nurburgring in a Group B E30 M3.
The Lexus GSF is powered by one of the last remaining naturally aspirated V8 engines on the market. A mighty 5 litre V8 is at the heart of this super saloon. We genuinely think it is one of the 'greats'. Hand built and blueprinted, this power plant provides a tractable and free revving engine with plenty of smooth power.
But break through past 3500rpm and this wonderful engine assumes a whole new character, with an urgency and thrust reminiscent of the classic BMW V8 E39. The engine note assumes a deep sonorous bellow. As the Americans put it 'there is no replacement for displacement'. A gentle run in economy setting achieved nearly 30mpg. Not bad for an engine of this size and capability.
Whilst on the subject of modes we personally find that on many cars the electrically adjustable settings are too hard and coarse. Simply making the ride firmer, the steering tougher and the throttle sharper does not always do 'the business'. But there is a subtlety to the Lexus that makes a pleasant change and enables the various modes to be practical in everyday use.
The chassis is perfectly judged, well balanced, and has the optimum front engine/rear gearbox layout for fantastic balance. With adaptive dampers, comfort and control are always available.
With reference to the passenger cabin, this is a craftsman built environment, evident from the moment one sits behind the wheel. The driving position is excellent. One sits at just the right point in the chassis. The steering wheel/seat position is a perfect fit.
The interior is, as you would expect from Lexus, premium quality, with carbon dash and door strips that are deep and lustrous. Alcantara is used sparingly and cleverly and the shape and weight of each control is perfectly calculated.
As far as in-car technology goes, this seems to be the one area where some reviewers have found the Lexus lacking. However, we found that the system requires just a little getting used to. Once optimum settings have been obtained, it becomes possible to use the duplicated 'hard buttons' to ease everyday progress.
An excellent Mark Levinson surround sound system offers good balance and wide tonal control. There is a great opportunity to drive the car's extra amplifiers without an excess of bass frequencies.
Lexus have a wonderful and adaptive digital display which changes with the drive mode selected. In Sport Plus, it was interesting to have all relative information for performance driving on-screen. Dual revs, speed, oil, and water temperature.
We remember the late, great Douglas Adams (author of the 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) saying that he liked a car that he felt many people had spent late nights and frequent coffee breaks designing!
The Lexus GSF feels as if it is the creation of a team of engineers and enthusiasts who have spent countless hours to create something really special and individual.
By the same token, at Page and Cooper, we put the same energy and enthusiasm into the design of each and every watchstrap that we produce.
One thing you can be sure of. When you buy a Lexus at any price level, your investment in quality and expertise are guaranteed.
Just like a watch from Page and Cooper.