Lexus' F Sport Package Is Brilliant
The last few years have seen the demand for dynamic equipment packs explode. More and more customers are lusting for the go-fast aura, but without the burden of having 500 hp under the hood. Since Lexus is younger than most of its competitors, the company didn't have an established performance division that could borrow its name to dynamic equipment packages, like the German carmakers did, for example.
When we drove the Lexus GS 450h F Sport, we enjoyed the various features brought by the package, but we have to admit that we didn't fully get the picture. It was only after the drive that we started feeling the importance of certain goodies offered by the car.
Even though the aforementioned F Sport face is meaner than an angry bird, together with the rest of the F Sport visual elements, such as the wheels or the GS' bootlid spoiler, it all seems perfectly there, nothing says "look at me, I'm so cool!".
As for the seats, this is where it all starts to become hilarious. That's because they may wear the "F" badge on the headrest and come with beefier bolsters, but they're so comfortable that you'll never want to use the "F" word when talking about the decision to order the package.
Make no mistake though, you'll feel the full benefits of Lexus' F Sport package once you're on the move. On the GS, the F Sport pack means that the rear wheels know how to steer too. These only rotate up to 2 degrees, but they make a big difference.
Since the rear wheels learned how to dance, those us front didn't want to be left behind, so they pulled a special F Sport stunt of their own. Thus, the Variable Gear Ratio Steering replaces the standard Electric Power Steering. The system manages to find the right consistency at any speed. Out on the open road, you'll be pleased by the weight of the steering.
Hybrid vehicles never managed to offer a braking confidence one can remember after a drive, at least not in a good way. Nevertheless, the F Sport badges on the GS not only brings larger front rotors, but these make extensive use of aluminum to keep unsprung weight down.
As you drive along, both the stopping power and the modulation match the overall performance of the car, which, at 5.9s for the 0 to 62 sprint, is respectable.
Even on models that show a lesser implementation of the F Sport package, such as the CT 200h or the RX 450h, you still get elements that make a handling difference. We'll use the Lateral Damping System as an example. To put it shortly, the bracing for the front suspension towers is replaced with a damper, while a second damper links the two sides of the car's lower rear panel. Especially in the CT, where the aforementioned dampers are part of a web of reinforcement elements, you can really feel how nice the handling is sorted out when you're on a twisty road.
The F Sport-ization gives you plenty of reasons to smile on the road, but you don't have to pay for this in comfort currency, which is excellent. Box ticked.