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Lexus revs up with GS F

Safety first: Lexus has confirmed it will supply safety and course cars for the V8 Supercars this year, but there may be a bigger involvement in the future.

BMW M5-rivalling GS F to fire up the Lexus line-up by the end of the year

13 Feb 2015

LEXUS has committed to bringing the GS F sedan - unveiled at the Detroit motor show earlier this year in prototype form - to Australia in the second half of this year, to inject some emotion into its line-up.

Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley was initially reluctant to talk specifics about the arrival of a production version of the GS F prototype but revealed some detail about the brand's opponent for the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and the Audi S6.

"In the second half of this year, probably in the latter part of the second half of this year, I am very pleased to let you know that we will launch the GS F into the Australian market with the 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated V8 engine," he said.

"I can't provide any further plans than that, but we'll have the GS F by the end of the year."The prototype shown earlier this year was fitted with the same naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 that has just launched in Australia in the RC F coupe, albeit with lower outputs of 348kW and 528Nm.

Mr Hanley believes the GS F will be a "good fit" for the brand in the four-door market, and hinted at further involvement with the V8 Supercar series in the future.

"It's a significant performance car for us, there's a strong appeal and what I love is that we retain the five-litre V8, and if you put some thought into it and think about the V8 Supercar partnership it explores a whole new bunch of opportunities," he said.

Lexus has recently announced its presence on the V8 Supercar grid as a supplier of the safety and course cars.

It has stated the involvement will offer it the chance to assess public opinion on any involvement in the Australian motorsport scene as a competitor and it's impact on the brand image.

"Three years ago if you had asked me where we saw the Lexus brand, I would say we are well regarded brand for quality and customer service," Mr Hanley said.

"Lexus doesn't offend and doesn't excite, it's a safe brand with a loyal strong customer base – we need to take it from safe to exciting without relinquishing the soul of the brand."Its recent sales of F Sport and Sport Luxury variant grades have accounted for almost a third of vehicles sold and the three-pronged product strategy, that also includes the Luxury grade, is key for the brand's sustainable growth, according to Mr Hanley.

"If we continue to build on the F strategy, you can slowly but sustainably take the brand from safe to exciting but you don't lose the traditional value of giving the best customer experience," he said.

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