Lexus GS Saloon full 9 point review
Unusually for an executive saloon, the GS isn’t available with any diesel engines. Instead, there are two hybrid models that combine a petrol engine with an electric motor – there’s the GS 300h, with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, and the GS 450h, with a 3.5-litre V6. For most people, the 300h will be swift enough, and it’s a capable cruiser. The 450h is brisk, but doesn’t feel as fast as the figures suggest.
Ride & Handling
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 makes it feel its size on twisty roads. The 450h F Sport has a firmer adaptive set-up and rear-wheel steering, so it turns in to corners more crisply, but has a less settled ride. All versions feel more adept at cruising than being driven hard, however.
Both the GS 300h and 450h have a CVT automatic gearbox that sends the revs soaring when you put your foot down. Unless you’re accelerating hard, though, both engines are quiet. The GS is especially refined around town, where it’s almost silent and is a good antidote to noisier diesel rivals. There’s not much wind noise at speed, but road noise is an issue on coarse surfaces.
Buying & Owning
The GS300h is a sound option as a company car because its low CO2 emissions make it cheaper to tax than many four-cylinder diesel rivals. The 450h isn’t quite so advantageous, but it’s still competitive. The cheaper models look good value for money, but resale values of all versions aren’t particularly strong.
Quality & Reliability
Lexus has an exemplary record in most of our reliability surveys and the JD Power customer satisfaction study. There’s nothing to suggest the GS will let the side down and the cabin feels built to last; craftsmanship feels as good as it does in any of the German rivals. There’s also lots of plush leather, although some of the switchgear doesn’t feel quite as upmarket as in the best execs.
Safety & Security
Lexus has thrown everything at the GS when it comes to safety equipment; as well as a stability control system, there are no less than 10 airbags. Top-spec Premier models are available with LED headlights and a preventative 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.
Behind The Wheel
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 dashboard is easy to read. Sadly, it’s linked to Lexus’s ‘Remote Touch Interface’, which features a fiddly computer mouse-style controller.
Space & Practicality
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 those of many rivals. Rear legroom is plentiful, but foot space is rather limited and rear headroom is tight for anyone more than six-feet tall. The need to accommodate the hybrid batteries has also played havoc with the boot: it’s small, short and an awkward T-shape.
Even entry-level SE models come with electrically adjustable front seats, front and rear parking sensors, a digital radio and a reversing camera. Luxury trim is our favourite and adds heated and ventilated leather seats, sat-nav and larger wheels, while F Sport versions have sporty styling inside and out. At the pinnacle, Premier trim includes three-way climate control, a Mark Levinson stereo and automatic boot closing.