Lexus GS

Lexus GS review

The Lexus GS, available in GS 300h or GS 450h models, is an executive saloon that offers owners the economy benefits of a full hybrid powertrain combined with the comfort and quality expected in a premium sector saloon car.

Lexus Hybrid Drive technology pairs an electric motor with either a 2.5-litre petrol engine (GS 300h) or 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine (GS 450h) for on-demand performance with great fuel economy, and a range of four well-equipped trim levels – SE (GS 300h only), Luxury, F SPORT and Premier – affords buyers a wide choice of GS models to suit their needs and driving style.

And as well as looking great inside and out, the Lexus GS is attractive on paper too: low company car tax ratings make it an ideal proposition for business people and executives.

DRIVING
Lexus engineers covered over one million miles when developing the GS, and it’s evident from the moment you start the engine. The latest Lexus Hybrid Drive technology powers both the GS 300h and GS 450h, using a combination of petrol engine (2.5-litre in the GS 300h, 3.5-litre V6 in the GS 450h) and electric motor twinned with a smooth, refined E-CVT automatic transmission to produce impressive performance and economy.

The GS 300h has a total of 220hp from the system, hitting 62mph in just over nine seconds while returning over 60mpg (combined – SE version), and the 341bhp GS 450h dashes to 62mph in under six seconds and still achieves over 46mpg (combined). As full hybrids, all GS models can also operate in electric-only EV mode at speeds of up to 25mph, using no fuel and producing no harmful emissions.

Retuned suspension and sharper steering responses mean that driving the GS is a more involving and rewarding experience, and the selectable Sport S driving mode sharpens acceleration response too. The focused F SPORT grades benefit from Adaptive Variable Suspension (also on Premier models) that constantly adjusts the suspension at each individual wheel for optimal handling, and the GS 450h F SPORT is fitted with Lexus Dynamic Handling technology and four-wheel steering.

COMFORT
As you’d expect from a Lexus, the interior of the GS is spacious, comfortable and well-appointed, and was recognised in 2013 as one of the top 10 best interiors. For drivers, all the controls and displays are placed easily within reach and sight, minimising distractions from the task at hand. Meanwhile passengers enjoy increased levels of leg and headroom.

Lexus has chosen the finest materials for the interior – the GS has heated and ventilated leather seats (except SE models), leather steering wheel and machined aluminium audio controls.

As standard, the GS is fitted with a 12-speaker DAB audio system with DVD player, with range-topping Premier models taking occupants to new levels of aural bliss with a 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio system (optional on Luxury and F SPORT).

Other standard features include cruise control, parking sensors, auto headlights and wipers, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control (tri-zone on Premier grades). Lexus also equips the GS with the world’s largest display, a 12.3″ full colour multimedia display, as part of its Premium Navigation system, standard on Luxury, F SPORT and Premier trim grades and an optional extra for SE models.

PRACTICALITY
The improvements in interior space of the Lexus GS aren’t confined to the passenger cabin alone, as Lexus has redesigned the hybrid battery pack to create more luggage space too. Now the premium saloon boasts 465 litres of boot space, enough for four suitcases or three sets of golf clubs.

SAFETY
By using high-strength steel and the latest construction methods, the GS has class-leading levels of occupant and pedestrian protection. The safety measures continue with 10 airbags fitted as standard, as well as the latest generation of Lexus’ Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System that enhances the performance of active safety technologies like stability and traction control, and the advanced braking assists. From Luxury grade upwards, all models are equipped with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert to prevent collisions with unseen vehicles. An optional radar-based Pre-Crash Safety system is also available on the GS 450h Premier edition.

RUNNING COSTS*
Thanks to its use of full hybrid power, the Lexus GS costs less to run than you would expect. Particularly in GS 300h SE guise, its low emissions rating of 109g/km mean and 60.1mpg fuel economy (on the combined test cycle) keeps fuel costs to a minimum and road tax costs only £10 per year with the first year free. Other GS 300h trim grades achieve around 57mpg (combined) and also qualify for a year’s free road tax and cost just £20 per annum after that.

The GS 450h’s larger 3.5-litre full hybrid powertrain returns an economical 46.3mpg on the combined cycle and a year’s road tax is only £130.

Company car users will benefit from the low benefit-in-kind rates of the Lexus GS 300h SE – compared to its premium market hybrid competitors, the GS 300h SE could save business users as much as £7000 over a three year period.

QUALITY
Lexus goes to great lengths to ensure its car’s are of the highest quality, training specialist ‘Takuma’ craftspeople to oversee the production of the GS. Because of these skills and the rigorous testing procedures put in place, Lexus confidently warrants the GS for three years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes sooner) and covers the hybrid components for five years/60,000 miles. Additional cover comes in the form of a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.

PRICES*
The Lexus GS range begins with the entry-level GS 300h SE priced at £31,495 on the road. Luxury grade models costs £37,495 and £45,495 for the GS 300h and GS 450h respectively, with the F SPORT models coming in at £41,745 (GS 300h) and £51,495 (GS 450h). At the top of the range, the GS 300h Premier retails at £43,745 and the GS 450h Premier at £51,495.

For further information about the GS range, visit the designated section of the Lexus UK website. If you’d like a test drive, leave a comment or contact us through one of the Lexus UK social media channels.

*Prices correct at time of publication

By Andrew Biddle