Big­ger sporty Lexus has more mus­cle power

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By PAUL GOVER

KEEN driv­ers con­sid­er­ing a lux­ury car will soon have a new rea­son to put a Lexus on their shop­ping list – an F-Sport ver­sion of the up­com­ing mid-sized Lexus GS is about to be re­vealed as the Ja­panese maker looks to du­pli­cate its IS F-Sport cars’ suc­cess in a big­ger body.

The GS-F is part of

a pro­gres­sive roll­out of the new model, also to in­clude a new hy­brid and, po­ten­tially, a gen­uine hot rod GS with a V8 en­gine un­der the bon­net.

De­tails of the pro­gram were con­firmed by GS deputy chief en­gi­neer Koji Sato in a pre­view drive of the new car in Pasadena, on the out­skirts of Los An­ge­les.

He says the Lexus reg­u­lar V6-pow­ered GS comes first, fol­lowed by the hy­brid at the Frank­furt Mo­tor Show in Septem­ber, then the F-Sport car at Amer­ica’s big­gest hot rod and ac­ces­sories con­ven­tion in Las Ve­gas in the first week of Novem­ber.

‘‘It will be re­vealed at the SEMA show,’’ Sato says of the GS-F.

He con­firms the youth­ful ap­proach for the new GS is cre­at­ing po­ten­tial for more body styles, most likely a coupe. ‘‘We have made no de­ci­sions but we have many fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies. Yes, a coupe is one. It might work bet­ter with this new GS.’’

The lat­est GS, which Cars­guide drove in Los An­ge­les, is in­tended to slash the cur­rent age of own­ers by more than 15 years.

‘‘The cur­rent mod­els are bought mostly by peo­ple who are in re­tire­ment. We want to have pro­fes­sion­als from 30 to 40,’’ says the deputy chief en­gi­neer. ‘‘This must be a con­quest model. We must com­pete with BMWand Mercedes-Benz.’’

The pro­gres­sive roll­out of GS mod­els, he says, is typ­i­cal of the brand but in­tended to give more fo­cus to the per­for­mance cars. The V6 sets the ba­sic bench­mark, with the hy­brid fo­cused more on ex­tra per­for­mance than elec­tric city driv­ing, with the GS-F to transform the car into an M5 ri­val.

Sato re­fuses to dis­cuss the po­ten­tial for a V8 en­gine in the GS, de­spite the rel­a­tive suc­cess of the IS-F — which still fails to match a BMW M3 or Benz C63 — with an eight in the en­gine bay.

‘‘We have no V8. Not yet.’’

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