Unusually for an executive saloon, the GS isn’t available with any diesel engines. Instead, there’s a 2.5-litre petrol V6 (badged GS 250) and a GS 450h hybrid model, which combines a 3.5-litre V6 with an electric motor. The GS 250 is too sluggish because it has just 187lb ft of torque to call on, but the GS450h feels pretty swift.
SE and Luxury-spec cars have conventional springs and dampers, whereas Premier trim brings an adaptive set-up; the GS generally rides well when fitted with this, but there's a degree of slack in the body control and steering that make it feel its size on twisty roads. The top-spec GS 450h F Sport has a firmer adaptive set-up and rear-wheel-steering, so it turns into corners more crisply, but has a less settled ride.
The GS 250’s V6 engine sounds rough when you work it hard, as you need to all too often. Meanwhile, the V6 in the GS 450h is linked to a Continuously Variable Transmission that sends the revs soaring when you put your foot down and makes the engine sound coarse. On the up side, you can coast around in electric-only mode at town speeds and wind and road noise are pretty well controlled.
The GS450h averages 47.9mpg and emits 137g/km of CO2, which is comparable with six-cylinder diesel rivals, but can’t compete with rival four-cylinder diesel execs. The GS250 averages just 31.7mpg and has CO2 emissions of 207g/km – 12.4mpg less and 58g/km more than a BMW 520i automatic. List prices are on the high side, and resale values aren’t likely to be anything special.
Lexus has an exemplary record in most of our JD Power customer satisfaction and annual reliability surveys. There’s nothing to suggest the GS will let the side down and the cabin feels built to last. There’s lots of plush leather, too, but some of the plastics and switchgear would look more at home in a Toyota that costs half as much.
Lexus has thrown everything at the GS when it comes to safety kit – as well as a stability control system there are no less than 10 airbags. Top-spec Premier models are available with LED headlamps and a preventive safety package that includes Adaptive Cruise Control and a pre-crash safety system. All the security kit you’d expect of an executive saloon is present and correct.
The GS has a supportive driver’s seat and a decent range of adjustment for that and the steering wheel. Visibility is fine, too. The dashboard has a lot of switches, but the huge information screen at the top of the dash is easy to read. Sadly, it’s linked to Lexus’s ‘Remote Touch Interface’, which features a computer mouse-style controller and is overly fiddly.
The GS is reasonably roomy, although it doesn’t provide as much space as you might expect in such a big car. The cabin certainly isn’t as practical as the GS’s German rivals. Rear legroom is plentiful, but foot space is rather limited and rear headroom is tight for anyone more than six feet tall. The 250 model has a big boot, but the 450h’s is unusually short.
The GS doesn’t out-rank its German rivals in many areas, but it does in this one. Even entry-level SE trim includes leather upholstery, electric front seat and steering wheel adjustment, a rear-view camera and DAB radio. Beyond that, Luxury and F Sport models supply an increasingly lavish range of extras. At the pinnacle, Premier trim includes three-way climate control, Mark Levinson stereo and automatic boot closing.
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