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- Innovative technology
- Fun F-Sport model
- Large screen
- Interior quality concerns
- Tiny engine range
- Rivals are better
As with all cars built by Lexus, there isn’t much to complain about with regards to interior build quality – though some critics did comment on a slight reduction in overall trim quality, everything was well screwed together, and features some very cool detailing – for instance, the metal trim on the dash that houses the clock was machined out of a single block of aluminium.
Space inside is also decent enough for a car of this type, with good room up front and, in 250 guise at least, a good size of boot. However, despite the GS being 30mm taller than its predecessor, taller passengers will be short of headroom in the back, and the load space in the 450h is limited as a result of the intrusive battery packs.
Lexus has been making cars that prioritise comfort and refinement over dynamics for yonks, and the new GS is no exception – whilst the BMW 5 Series would walk all over it in terms of handling and road holding, the GS is an exceptionally refined car at any speeds, especially when the hybrid 450h is running on electric power. However, the GS is actually a much more engaging car to drive than the previous GS, and most critics reckon a majority of buyers will be satisfied with the way the GS goes down the road.
What got on some road tester’s nerves, though, was the quality of the ride – even on the top-spec cars with adaptive suspension, the car never really seems to settle over anything other than smooth roads, and not even the seats that took Lexus five years to make as comfortable as they could possibly be can soak up all of the imperfections that the suspension can’t iron out.
Whilst almost all executive cars on the market come with the option of a diesel motor, Lexus is only offering petrol engines in the GS – a 2.5 V6 for the ‘250’, and a 3.5 V6 with a supplementary electric motor in the ‘450h’. However, don’t be put off yet, as they seem to be decent enough powertrains, especially the hybrid version.
For instance, both engines are incredibly refined, no matter what speed you’re driving at, and the 450h is incredibly efficient for what is a two tonne petrol-powered executive car – whilst the claimed 43mpg won’t set the world on fire, the claimed 141g/km of CO2 emissions mean the road tax bill is, for a car of this calibre, incredibly low at £135.
However, most of the critics reckon the GS 250 is a bit down on power and torque, and you have to work it fairly hard if you want to get up to any speed. The CVT transmissions that come in the GS were also met with a bit of criticism, as it appears to be a bit dim-witted in fully auto mode and isn’t the most refined unit on the market.
Value for money
In some areas, the Lexus GS does provide glimpses of good value for money. After all, standard equipment levels are impressive – all cars come with heated and cooled seats, a reversing camera, ten airbags and parking sensors on all but the most basic models. Running costs should also be low if you opt for the hybrid model.
That said, some highly economical diesels in rival cars do offer return better mpg figures, and a few do undercut the Lexus GS on price. Residual values also aren’t expected to be as strong as they are for the more desirable cars in this class.
If none of the current engines tickle your fancy, you’ll be pleased to know that a smaller and more efficient motor – presumably a hybrid of some sorts – will be entering the GS range in the near future. However, we wouldn’t bet on it being a diesel, and we’re told that the earliest we’ll expect to see it enter the GS range is sometime in 2013.
If you’re an enthusiastic driver, then you may want to take a look at the F-Sport trim, which brings with it not only a more ‘aggressive’ bodykit, but also comes with firmer suspension and even rear-wheel steering. However, with the stiffer setup, there is a compromise on ride quality.
In quite a few ways, the Lexus GS is a very commendable all-rounder. After all, if you’re after a smartly styled, well-appointed and refined executive car with petrol power and niche appeal, the GS should be right up there at the top of your shopping list – as far as ‘bit-part’ players go, the Lexus GS one of the best you’ll come across.
Of course, the more dominant cars in this class are at the top of the charts for a reason, and the Lexus GS can’t quite match the class leaders as an all-rounder, so we wouldn’t recommend it over some of the more capable competition.
That said, the GS does have its appealing quirks, so is definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a high-end saloon car that isn’t trying to be a copy of something German.
- Price range:
- £32,995 - £55,355
- 31 - 46
- Date released:
- Replacement due:
- Not for a few years