Lexus GS Showdown: 200t F Sport vs. GS F

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Lexus GS F

How much are you willing to pay for the ultimate in Lexus performance?

The letter F conjures up many different thoughts, depending on what you’re talking about. But in the world of Lexus, F means performance. From the LFA to the IS F, that simple, singular letter lets you know that this isn’t your typical luxury sedan. The F Sport designation, on the other hand, is a little different. Sure, you get more performance in terms of braking and handling, but no additional grunt. Which makes both the Lexus GS F and 200t F Sport very different animals.

Exterior

Despite their differences, both GS models offer many of the same things, which prompted the folks at Top Speed to conduct a side-by-side comparison. At least on the outside, both of these Lexus GS models are pretty similar. The GS F has larger air intakes and carbon fiber trim along the bottom of the grille. The F also sports large slotted vents behind the wheels to aid brake cooling, along with quad exhaust pipes and a carbon fiber spoiler out back.

Wheels are 19-inches for both Lexus GS models, but the GS F’s design is more aggressive. Inside, small details continue to separate the two. The GS F comes with niceties like carbon fiber trim, suede inserts, and uniquely stitched, deep bucket seats. Comfort and simplicity is more the aim with the 200t F Sport, both in the seating and trim.

Performance

Obviously, the biggest difference between these two Lexus GS trim levels involves what’s under the hood. The 200t gets by with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, the GS F gets Lexus’ beastly, naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8, producing 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. Both come with 8-speed automatic transmissions.

As you might imagine, the GS F wins the performance war here with a 4.4-second 0-60, 12.9-second quarter mile time, and 168 mph top speed. The 200t takes 6.6-seconds to hit 60, 14.9 seconds for the quarter mile, and is limited to a 143 mph top speed. One edge the 200t F Sport does have over the GS F is its optional Dynamic Handling System with rear-wheel steering. The GS F does come standard with a torque-vectoring rear diff, but rear steering isn’t available.

Suspension

Both cars come with tuned suspensions, but the GS F utilizes an F-Adaptive Variable Suspension designed for high-speed cornering. Big Brembo brakes both front and rear, along with large 255/35R19 tires up front and 275/35R19 in back, make this GS better suited for the track. The GS F will do 0.93 g’s on the skidpad even though it weighs in at a hefty 4,034 pounds.

The 200t F Sport is no slouch, however. A slightly different “F Sport Tune” isn’t quite as aggressive, but still works with the active suspension. Brakes are Lexus bits, but still larger than stock. And tires are smaller than the GS, measuring in at 235/40R19 up front and 265/35R19 in the back. It benefits from a slimmer 3,869 pound curb weight, however, recording an impressive 0.86 g’s on the skidpad.

Price

The biggest difference between these two Lexus GS models, other than performance, is price. The 200t F Sport bases out at $53,980. Stepping up to the GS F will run you a whopping thirty grand more at $84,350. Does that large divide in price justify the gap in performance? Well, according to Top Speed, maybe.

Bottom Line

While both cars feel fairly similar, the GS F “will rocket away, accelerating very rapidly to extra-legal speeds.” On the other hand, the 200t takes a second to get moving due to a “slow-shifting transmission and slight turbo lag.” However, the differences in both handling and braking are “nominal,” at least on the street. To fully explore the GS F’s limits, you need to be on a racetrack.

So unless you’re the kind of person who spends their weekends flogging their ride on the local circuit, perhaps the 200t F Sport is the wiser choice. Its performance is perfectly suitable for public roads, and you’ll save a ton of cash. On a car that most non-Lexus experts could never distinguish from its big brother!

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Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts.

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