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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The GS is hushed, refined and has masses of kit

Against It loses value from new faster than most rivals

Verdict It's the most refined car in its class

Go for… The base 300

Avoid… The 450h SE-L hybrid

Lexus GS Saloon
  • 1. The GS feels serene, although there's so little feedback through the controls you feel detached
  • 2. The brakes and suspension are the areas most likely to need work, although the bills are modest for an executive car
  • 3. The engines and transmissions are pretty near faultless, as long as that servicing is kept up
  • 4. The boot is enormous but, to reach its farthest corners, you need to be tall
  • 5. The shape of the driver’s seat won’t suit everyone, and the position of some minor controls can prove confusing
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Lexus GS Saloon full review with expert trade views

It’s an accomplished and comfortable cruiser, wafted along by a 3.0 V6 or 4.3 V8 linked to a six-speed auto gearbox. It feels serene, albeit with so little feedback you feel detached.

There’s no wind noise up to the national speed limit, but you will hear a bit too much road noise. All the while, the gearchanges are fantastically smooth and the engines do little more than whisper, even when they're working hard.

Green-minded drivers may be attracted to the the petrol-electric hybrid GS450h, but with 35.8mpg overall, it's unlikely to find fans among environmentalists.

Inside, the cabin is roomy, but the shape of the driver’s seat won’t suit everyone and the siting of a few minor controls can prove confusing – not least because some are hidden in a panel that drops down from the dash. The boot is enormous but, to reach its farthest corners, you need to be tall.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Different and more reliable than a Merc. Low numbers keeps depreciation in check

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Go for the cheapest model. There’s not as much of a difference as you’d think between the 3.0 V6 and the 4.3 V8, and the smaller engine suits the car’s relaxed nature best.

Alternatively, the petrol-electric hybrid GS450h teams a 286bhp petrol engine with a 190bhp electric one. It’s a clever device and amazingly rapid, but its 35.8mpg overall isn’t frugal enough to make it sensibly eco-friendly, or even sensible.

There are two trim levels - standard and SE - but even the basic models hardly short-change you, with electric front seats, headlamps that swivel with the steering and touch-screen controls as standard. Moving up to the SE brings standard sat-nav, a rear parking camera and heated and cooled front seats.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Few around, 300SE is the one to have for retail though

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Measured against other executive rivals, the GS is no bargain to buy or run. It loses more of its resale value early on than a similar BMW or Merc, making nearly-new purchases a potentially expensive long-term investment, although older cars seem good value.

Servicing costs are expensive at main dealers and there are few independent specialists you can turn to as an alternative. Most spare parts are also highly-priced and, as with servicing, there’s little scope for saving by buying non-Lexus parts. On the other hand, insurance costs are average: group 16 for the 3.0-litre models, group 18 for the 430 and the hybrid. And, fuel economy is reasonable, ranging up to 35.8mpg overall for the hybrid through 28.8mpg for the 3.0 and 24.8mpg for the 4.3. However, you won't get any better than these figures, as there’s no diesel option.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Different and more reliable than a Merc. Low numbers keeps depreciation in check

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Lexus claims a regular top 10 position in the What Car? Reliability Index. However, in contrast to the peerless performance of its big brother, the LS, the GS is only average; it’s less reliable than a BMW 5-series or a Mercedes E-class.

According to the index, its brakes and suspension were the areas most likely to need work, although the bills when they come are modest for an executive car. Engines and transmissions are pretty near faultless, provided that servicing is kept up.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Few around, 300SE is the one to have for retail though

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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