What's the used Lexus GS saloon like?
Standing out in the established luxury car class is hard. The Lexus GS has to compete with a number of premium rivals, such as the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and even the Volkswagen Passat. With such a strong list of alternatives, it has to have a unique selling point in order for it to garner some attention. Fortunately, it does.
One of the major reasons you’d choose the GS over the competition is that it's available with a hybrid powertrain. This is good news for those who do most of their driving in congested town or city traffic, since the car can run for a limited time on electric power only, making it a very quiet way to get around. The GS 300h is probably best for this, because it promises diesel-like economy.
For those who need more power, there's also another hybrid that features a 292bhp 3.5-litre V6 (the GS 450h), as well as 220bhp 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in the GS 250. Unfortunately for some, there are no diesel engines available.
The GS's interior is something special, featuring plenty of soft-touch plastics, real metal and supple leather. Standard equipment is incredibly generous, with most models getting a rear-view camera, parking sensors, electric leather seats, sat-nav and a crystal-clear 12-speaker sound system. However, the infotainment system isn’t the easiest to use, because it's controlled by a trackpad that’s far too sensitive, meaning you often miss your intended icon, particularly when you're driving.
Hybrid GS models use a CVT gearbox. This makes the driving experience a little odd, at least to begin with. When you put your foot down, instead of the 'box kicking down to a lower gear (because there aren't any), it increases the engine revs to the top of the power band to give the best acceleration. However, this should rarely happen at slower speeds, and you'll be treated to a very peaceful drive. Unfortunately, the extra weight of the battery makes the GS handle ponderously, while its steering doesn’t inspire confidence and its ride is fidgety at town speeds.
The hybrid system also robs the boot of space, and you can't get split-folding rear seats, whereas you can in most rival cars. This inflexibility hampers practicality greatly if you need to carry long items, such as a bicycle. Space in the rear seats isn’t that great, either, and the car's high windowline can make the interior feel cramped. Room up front is better, and there's a wide range of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel – often electrically.