By KBB.com Editors
Lexus is moving to change its image as a producer of pure luxury cars to a producer of world-class luxury performance cars. The first phase in this transformation was launched last year in the form of the new GS sedan. Built to challenge the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, the GS features some of Lexus' most aggressive styling and performance capabilities. Despite the advances in power and a taut new suspension, the GS still lacks one of the rudimentary tools desired by die-hard driving enthusiasts: A manual transmission. Without a doubt the best GS to date, the 2007 GS 350 and GS 430 afford Lexus its best shot at winning over European-leaning buyers.
For anyone torn between the performance of a European sport sedan and the unmatched attention to detail of a Lexus, choosing the GS won't require a coin flip.
Even though the new GS delivers impressive performance figures, some people might still be hesitant to drop $50K on a luxury-sport sedan that doesn't wear a European nametag or offer a traditional manual transmission.
The GS 350 receives a new 3.5-liter engine, making it the most powerful V6-powered sedan in its class.
Driving Impressions While some luxury-sport sedans are built on the Three Bears theorynot too hard, not too soft, just right in betweenthe best ones manage to deliver high levels of both performance...and comfort at the same time. Such is the newest Lexus GS.
Mark Levinson Surround Sound
Delivering true 5.1 Surround Sound through 14 speakers, the optional DVD-Audio surround system is one of the finest factory sound systems we've ever heard.
To reduce cabin clutter, a cleverly hidden but easily accessed drop-down dash panel hides 14 infrequently used controls.
Inside, the GS expresses its enthusiastic character with sharp lines, perforated leather seating and attractive machined-aluminum gauge faces. Overall, the passenger cabin is a comfortable, sensible environment outfitted in wood, polished metal and leather. The backseat is also comfortable, offering generous headroom and legroom plus comfortable quasi-bucket seats that provide welcome lateral support on spirited drives. Technology fans will love the seemingly endless array of gadgets and gizmos, a phalanx so sophisticated it may turn off an equal number of buyers who feel one shouldn't have to be an MIT graduate to operate one's car.Exterior
The fact that Lexus has managed to develop such a passionate following while wrapping its cars in admittedly bland styling speaks volumes about the appeal of quality and attention to detail that seemingly remains underestimated by many other carmakers. And while not a radical design by any stretch, the latest GS is the first to incorporate the company's new L-Finesse design philosophy that's meant to charge Lexus vehicles with more emotional appealand provide yet another reason for buyers to opt into the Lexus family. Perhaps the most notable design element is the fastback-style roofline that terminates in a very short rear deck. Interestingly, the current model evokes the first-generation GS much more than the second-generation model it replaced.
Even a "base" GS features a complete list of standard features that includes leather seating, keyless entry/start, xenon headlamps, heated 10-way power front seats with memory, four-way power adjustable steering wheel, seven-inch LCD touchscreen and four one-touch windows. Safety features include a full complement of airbags; front, side and knee airbags for front passengers and a side-curtain airbag protecting all four outboard passengers. Stepping up to the GS 430 adds not just the V8, but also an active suspension, variable gear ratio steering and a sophisticated active vehicle stability system, all of which are unavailable on the GS 350.
Optional equipment on the GS sedan includes all-wheel drive (GS 350 only), Generation 5 Lexus DVD navigation system with rear backup camera, Mark Levinson Surround Sound audio system, rear park assist sensors, adaptive headlamps (standard on GS 430), pre-collision system with dynamic radar cruise control, moonroof, ventilated front seats and run-flat tires.
The new 3.5-liter V6 in the GS 350 begs the question: Why opt for the V8? Of course the GS 430 does offer more torque and amenities, not to mention an advanced electronic suspension. Unless absolute power is paramount we think most people will be more than pleased with the V6.
303 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
274 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (RWD), 20/27 (AWD)
290 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
319 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25
By bullseye (AZ) on Monday, September 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Super good looking, safe and luxuries vehicle"
Cons: "Only thing I can think of is the initial expense"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle is a dream. It is my wife's car and I take care of it for her. The car is perfect in every way. Plenty of power and as smooth as glass and 100% reliable. The mileage is approx. 25-29 mpg around town and 33-37 on highway! The only thing that was bad were the factory installed Yokohama tires (this was the second set on two different GS Lexus's that cupped and were miserable to drive even though they were properly inflated and rotated). Changed to Michelins (as usual) and all is back to Lexus standards."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By BeElZebub (CA) on Friday, September 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 119,950overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price for a Lexus GS300 at $13,500 plus tax."
Cons: "Handling is not its forte but quietness is."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I just bought this car because the wife said I needed to buy a reliable Japanese automobile with 4-doors. I'd been driving European cars for decades. Specifically, many BMW and a few Saab autos. I loved the driving dynamics of the BMW marque and still do. In fact, prior to owning this Lexus GS300, I test drove a 2004 BMW M3. Now THAT is a driver's car! I loved the speed and handling. IMHO, the 2004 M3 is among the legendary BMW's to own if that is on your bucket list to own. Saab's on the other hand are the cheapest bang for the buck. I owned a 1999 Saab Viggen "Born from Jets" in Lightning Blue. Turbo charged with 40-70mph faster than the same year Porsche 911. 911? Yep, that's right. But, I digress. The automobile in question here is the 2006 Lexus GS300. I found this car listed by a local high line dealership and purchased it at a bargain price. it has high miles but relatively well taken care of by local Lexus dealership. The biggest appeal to this iteration of the Lexus GS is that it has sporting character lines and a sterling reputation for longevity without constant maintenance. Driving dynamics are that of a taut "Japanese sport sedan" which means it does its level best to imitate BMW handling dynamics. Acceleration is leisurely for those who are not in a rush to get to where they are going. Unfortunately, it falls short or the BMW marque in terns of both handling and acceleration. Interior accoutrements include Mark Levinson sound system with DVD viewing, navigation, and back up camera. Man cave material! LOL! All in all, a valiant effort that falls somewhat short of BMW's handling dynamics but excels in reliability."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By beasy (FL) on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, looks, ageless styling, luxury"
Cons: "GAS MILEAGE - and that's really it"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I own an 06 GS430 with 78k on it now. Purchased at 64k CPO from a Lexus dealer. I fell in love with it at first sight. Very well put together and overall fit and finish. Extremely smooth ride and decent engine. In 06 im sure the v8 with 300hp was a lot but anymore now that isn't much compared to many v6's out there like those nissan/infiniti use. But theres nothing like the pull of a v8 engine. Be prepared to spend a lot of money on gas though. If you arent ready for 16mpg avg city and max 24mpg on road trips then this isn't your car. Go get a 300 or 350 instead. I dont drive far for many commutes at all (15-25 mi/day) and avg 50/wk to keep the needle towards full. Reliability is where it is at though along with value. I purchased used at 24k and trade in is still around the 18k mark with private party value showing avg of 20-23k. Good luck doing that in anything else. I'd say if you were on the fence about this car to just go ahead and buy it. You wont have any regrets. Just make sure you find one certified pre owned or pay the money to get it certified. You wont be upset."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By GS momma (WA) on Saturday, March 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I buy a car every two years when I traded out of my GS to another brand I had to get the GS back. Now I will only trade for a newer GS. I rated the 8's because there were significant changes to the interior and nav systems 09 and newer."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Guinness (TN) on Friday, March 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Cons: "Small trunk on hybrid"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Love driving, great and sporty bachelor car. Biggest problem is small trunk with the Hybrid battery hogging the space. Incredibly reliable and high tech. Drives like a BMW 0-60 acceleration is on par with a sports car at 5.5 seconds."
By DMY (GA) on Sunday, January 13, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun and comfortable...very classy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have owned BMW Mercedes & Jaguar and Lexus is the only luxury brand that i have repeated buying. Lexus is wonderful"