In years past, if you bought a Lexus GS, you were looking for something comfortable, luxurious and reliable. The Lexus GS was never meant to be a super-sedan, built to take on the likes of the Audi S6 and BMW M5. However, now Lexus does have a GS sedan that can bring the heat to the Germans — the Lexus GS F.
Packing a 5.0 liter naturally-aspirated V8, the Lexus GS F makes 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. With that power comes a rip-snorting V8 soundtrack and the instant throttle response that can only be had with free-breathing, naturally-aspirate engines. That engine is mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic and powers only the rear wheels. The Lexus GS F can get from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and costs $84,000.
In many ways, the Audi S6 is the anti-Lexus GS F. Where the Lexus is pretty old-school, being that it uses a naturally-aspirated engine, torque converter automatic and powers only the rear wheels, the Audi S6 uses a twin-turbocharged 4.0 liter V8, a high-tech seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. The Lexus makes 467 hp, which is more than the Audi S6’s 450 hp. However, the Audi S6 makes more torque, to the tune of 406 lb-ft, thanks to those two turbochargers. Its extra torque and Quattro all-wheel drive grip means that the S6 gets from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds, faster than the Lexus GS F.
However, power and performance aren’t the only reason to buy a sedan in this segment. Luxury, comfort and technology also play a big role as well. On the inside, the Lexus GS F is a very nice place to be. It looks very nice, the seats are fantastic and the materials are high-end. However, its ergonomics are a mess and its infotainment system is frustrating to use at best. Whereas the Audi S6 has possibly the nicest cabin in the segment, superior build quality, better materials and a far better infotainment system, as Audi’s MMI system is one of the best in the business.
In terms of handling and dynamics, these two are an interesting match-up. The Lexus is rear-wheel drive and can get its tail out a bit easier. But the Audi S6’s brutish torque and monster Quattro grip make it the far faster vehicle through corners. The Lexus is also a bit vague and too heavy for its own good. While the Audi S6 is no featherweight, it hides its mass better than the Lexus and its extra grip helps keep it nice and tidy through twisty turns.
Another feather in the Audi S6’s cap is its price. At $70,000, the Audi S6 is almost $15,000 cheaper and it’s faster, better equipped, has better technology and a much better cabin. While the Lexus GS F is a great car in its own right and would be very impressive in isolation, the Audi S6 has had too many years of fine tuning and Bavarian distillation for the Lexus to keep up.