The current-generation BMW M5 is getting quite old now and is on its way out the door. In fact, the upcoming BMW M550i, which isn’t even a proper M car, is faster and more impressive than the current M5. While the M5 is still a great car, its age is stating to reveal its flaws that, when new, were hidden by its impressive performance and allure. Especially now that new competitors have come out and challenged the aging M5. One of those competitors is the Lexus GS-F, the hottest performance sedan to come from the Japanese brand yet. Chris Harris pits them against each other on some snowy roads in Wales to see which is best.
Things start out quite unfairly for the Lexus, as it’s going up against the BMW M5 30 Jahre, the most powerful car ever to come from BMW M, with 600 hp from its twin-turbo V8. It also wears the Competition Package adjustable suspension, 20″ wheels and carbon ceramic brakes, so it’s full kitted out to be the ultimate performance sedan. The Lexus GS-F? It uses a naturally-aspirated V8 that only makes 471 hp, fixed dampers and steel brakes. So the Lexus is off to a bad start.
However, on the snowy Welsh roads, the BMW M5 struggles to put down its power. All of that twin-turbocharged torque makes the M5 a bit sketchy on those roads and, to be honest, I applaud Harris for driving that monster on roads those treacherous roads. On the other hand, the Lexus’ less torquey engine and more linear power band makes it easier to drive in such bad conditions. Admittedly in normal conditions things might be different but they weren’t normal conditions so it’s all we have to go by.
On the inside of each, it’s clear which cabin is better — the BMW M5’s. While the Lexus GS-F has an interesting and incredibly well-built cabin, though it’s a disaster, ergonomically. It’s just a giant mishmash of weird buttons that don’t seem to make sense and the computer mouse-like infotainment controller is the worst in the business and actually makes having such a system more of a burden than anything else. Thole cockpit almost seems like a hazard to operate while driving. Harris finds it charming. I do not, I find it frustrating.
But Harris finds that the Lexus GS-F is actually the sweeter car to drive. Without adjustable this and configurable that, it’s the simpler car to drive as there’s not as much to change. And because of that, it feels more pure and more dynamic. Its steering is said to be better and its suspension is more comfortable. Its atmospheric engine is also great to use, with a smooth powerband and a wonderful noise.
On a dry road, the GS-F wouldn’t stand a chance against the BMW M5, dynamically, as its monster power and insanely impressive dynamics would run away from the Lexus in a straight line and one a track. However, on these twisty and slushy roads, Harris claims that the GS-F is nicer to drive.