What is it?
Ever considered a Lexus? Probably. Then you brought a BMW or Audi. Enough of that, the firm has decided – and, proving it wants to get serious is the latest GS, which spearheads a spangly new direction for the premium brand that’s promised plenty for two decades but never quite delivered.
There’s no missing the GS, which was launched last year to go head-to-head with the Audi A6 and BMW 5-Series. The sporty F-Sport trim’s front bumper is one of the most aggressive ever seen on a production car, giving a dynamic appearance like no Lexus before it. Other variants are almost as standout too. With a new platform, all-new interior and revised drivetrain, Lexus reckons the GS has finally come of age.
Once again, Lexus is using hybrid power as the key draw of the GS range. The GS 450h tops the range and uses a new version of the Lexus Hybrid Drive. This mates a 3.5-litre Atkinson Cycle V6 petrol to an electric motor to give 338bhp. It can run in electric mode alone, or reach 62mph from rest in 5.9 seconds if you’re feeling less green.
So, it’s rapid. The old one was too, though. But now, it’s distinctly more pleasing dynamically, too. All cars get adaptive variable suspension and the best-looking F-Sport models go one better with Lexus Dynamic Handling: that’s dynamic rear steering and variable-ratio steering. It’s good, much more distinct and (you guessed it) dynamic than before, but also blessed with natural fluency too. The jury is out on the GS 250 alternative, mind: Lexus is sticking to its guns and not offering a diesel, so the 206bhp 2.5-litre V6 remains. And who wants petrol these days?
On the inside
The interior is much more European than before, proving thoughtful and sober where the old car was tacky and garish. The slick dashboard is dominated by a huge 12.3in screen that’s more intuitive to use than on some other Lexus, and the material quality throughout is superb. Needless to say, being a Lexus, there is a veritable bounty of equipment as standard. There are features included here you never even knew existed. It’s also immaculately well built, with the sort of quality you associate with Audi - only now, the design is on a part with the German leader too.
Here’s where things remain a bit challenging. The Lexus GS range starts at a competitive £32,995. However, that’s for a petrol-only model. The more fuel-sipping hybrid weighs in at a hefty £44,995, and it’s this that may still limit the GS’ chances in the UK. The vast majority in this sector buy diesel: come on, Lexus, when will you change your principles?