Lexus GS F

Lexus GS F, front quarter
Lexus GS F, dynamic
Lexus GS F, profile
Lexus GS F, rear quarter
Lexus GS F, interior
Lexus GS F, interior rear
Lexus GS F, engine
Lexus GS F, boot

I DON'T know what I have done to annoy them, but the weather gods seem intent on taking every opportunity to ruin my enjoyment of the enviable task of driving around in new cars.

Virtually every time I manage to procure a convertible to evaluate you can guarantee it is going to pour down all week - meaning little or no chance to ponce around town with the roof down.

Recently, though, there was a fresh twist to this meteorological torture.

On the rare occasions that I had a rear-wheel drive super-saloon we were treated to the first real snow and ice we've had for years - crippling conditions for such a motor.

So I ended up with just three days behind the wheel of the Lexus GS F and it spent the rest of the time on my driveway beneath a heavy blanket of the white stuff.

This would have been easier to stomach had the car not been much fun to drive - but it was a sheer joy and every hour it was snowed in was one less I had to revel in its precision, power and pace.

Lexus has taken an old-school approach with their flagship sports saloon, eschewing the turbocharged power packs favoured by rivals such as Mercedes, BMW, etc.

Instead, beneath the GS F's bonnet sits the same 471bhp naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 unit that features in the brand's RC F coupe.

This muscular engine, coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission, will shift the 1.8 tonne GS F from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds and on to an Autobahn-busting top speed of 168mph.

Power is delivered promptly and smoothly and accompanied by the most satisfying of growls from the quadruple tailpipes, which adds real character to this car.

Impressive orange Brembo performance brakes lurk behind multi-spoke 19-inch alloys and stop the GS F almost as quickly as it accelerates while stability and traction control and torque vectoring systems ensure that all that power is directed keeping you on the road rather than throwing you off it.

If you fancy yourself as a budding Lewis Hamilton, though, and want to live on the edge many of the driver assistance features are, or can be, disabled depending upon drive mode, four of which are available - Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+.

Eco seems to be a prerequisite these days but is, quite frankly, superfluous on this car. With best claimed average fuel economy of just over 25mpg on average running costs will be high - but that's not usually a worry for to those shopping in the £73,000 price bracket.

Sport and Sport+, as you'd expect, dial up the responsiveness of the throttle, chassis and steering for the real enthusiast. For most, though, normal mode will offer plenty of urgency and strikes the right balance between engagement and ease of driving.

Cruising is refined and relaxed while winding lanes can be tackled in complete confidence as the GS F remains secure and settled in bends, the adaptive variable suspension smoothing out any imperfections in road surface and ensuring passengers get a comfortable ride.

They also get an impressively appointed cabin finished in high-quality materials and bristling with high-tech creature comforts.

Up front the leather clad sports seats are impressively supportive and boast heating and cooling functions as well as electric adjustment while other kit includes climate control, satnav, head-up display, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, a 10-speaker Pioneer sound system with DVD player and DAB radio and a 12.3 inch multimedia display screen.

Lexus' insistence on using a mouse-style controller remains a slight frustration, making navigating menus and functions more fiddly and less intuitive than with a rotary knob or touchscreen.

FAST FACTS

Lexus GS F

Price: £73,375

Mechanical: 471bhp, 4,969cc, 8cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:168mph

0-62mph:4.6 seconds

Combined MPG:25.2

Insurance Group: 48

C02 emissions:260g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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