By KBB.com Editors
Slotting between the flagship LS 460 and the popular ES 350, the mid-size Lexus GS line occupies an admittedly modest but still notable niche in the sport sedan segment. Intertwining aggressive styling and formidable performance with typical Lexus luxury cues, it gives Toyota's premium division a very credible competitor in an arena most often associated with German offerings, including the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class. In addition to offering the only hybrid in this segment, the GS 450h (reviewed separately), the GS lineup consists of three gasoline-powered variants. The rear-drive GS 350 and all-wheel-drive GS 350 AWD share a common 3.5-liter V6, while the rear-drive GS 460 is powered by a larger and more powerful V8 engine.
Those demanding a vehicle that offers sporting character infused with loads of luxury touches will find the entire GS family, but particularly the V8-powered GS 460, more than capable of satisfying their multi-dimensional appetites.
For some, any proper sport sedan still must come with a German pedigree – or at least with a manual transmission. For those folks, the GS in any guise will likely not pass muster.
For 2010, the GS gains an updated navigation system with Lexus Enform Voice Command casual language recognition, Safety Connect driver assistance program, and a new Premium Sound system with USB port and streaming audio via Bluetooth.
Driving Impressions Well-mannered, well-controlled and admirably quick with either powertrain or drivetrain combination, the GS strikes a very desirable balance of personality traits that should please all but the hardest-core sport-sedan buyers....The suspension trades off a bit of fine-edge feel in return for excellent comfort on a daily-driver basis, and the GS 460's optional Power Active Stabilizer system does a first-rate job of keeping body roll in check. Despite a slightly artificial feel, the electronically-boosted variable power steering is both quick and precise. The various supplemental handling assists can be switched off completely by anyone who really does want to press to the edge of the envelope. For those who prefer all-weather security, the GS 350 AWD deserves consideration. Regardless of model, the finely crafted cabin always maintains Lexus levels of isolation from wind and road noise.
Optional Mark Levinson Premium Audio System
Boasting 330 watts of 5.1 Surround Sound power and 14 strategically positioned speakers, the available Mark Levinson audio package delivers an auditory experience that rivals hearing music performed live. It's available with or without the DVD-based Lexus navigation system in any GS model.
Affording an even tidier look to the already business-like cabin of the GS, a concealed panel on the left side of the dash houses a bank of power switches for several items, including the power mirrors, instrument illumination levels and odometer resets.
Supple leather, brushed aluminum and bird's-eye maple help define a well-organized, well-isolated and exceptionally comfortable cabin in all GS versions. In a realm where typical Lexus levels of fit and finish abound, revamped white-on-black gauges provide great legibility, basic controls are well-positioned and an array of supplemental function switches hide discretely behind a drop-down panel on the dash until they're called into action. Nicely formed power front buckets are the best seats in the house, but even the "bucketed" rear bench has sufficient head and legroom to handle a pair of adults and the occasional smaller child in the less-hospitable center spot.Exterior
Embracing the division's L-Finesse styling language, the GS brings a legitimate sense of design passion to its sleekly flowing sheetmetal that arguably qualifies it as the best-looking Lexus sedan. 2008's minor facelift carries over largely unchanged for 2010. It saw the prominent aero flair receive a minor tweaking courtesy of an edgier front fascia with a bigger air inlet and new chrome grille surround. A well-proportioned glass area provides good outward visibility while bi-xenon HID headlamps and quick-responding LED taillamps make it easier for you to see and be seen, day or night. All GS models have standard alloy wheels, with the GS 350 sporting 225/50WR17 performance tires, the GS 350 AWD opting for an all-season run-flat alternative and the GS 460 rolling on 245/40ZR18s.
True to the division's upscale persona, every GS model comes packed to please even the most discriminating buyer. Beyond stellar powertrains, you'll find leather-covered and heated 10-way power front seats (heated and ventilated in the GS 460), a comprehensive array of power assists, SmartAccess keyless locking and starting, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio, a seven-inch multifunction display screen, an advanced anti-lock brake (ABS) package, driver-switchable Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system and front, front-side, side-curtain and knee airbags. Standard on the GS 460, and optional on the GS 350, are Adaptive Variable suspension and the corner-following Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS).
The GS options list is fairly short, with the key elements being the DVD-based voice-activated navigation system and rear backup camera, a 330-watt Mark Levinson Premium Sound System that includes the navigation package and the Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Other single items of note include Lexus Link, Intuitive Parking Assist, all-season run-flat tires, rain sensing wipers with headlamp washers and a power rear sunshade. The GS 460 also offers the computer-controlled Active Power Stabilizer Suspension System, while the GS 350 can be fitted with the GS 460's Adaptive Variable Suspension, ventilated front seats and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Two impressive engines impart a definite enthusiast flavor to the GS. Both are exercises made of weight-saving aluminum and fitted with continuously-variable valve timing that optimizes responsiveness and efficiency across the entire operating range. The 3.5-liter V6 in the GS 350 and GS 350 AWD turns out an impressive 303 horsepower and 274 pound-feet of torque, enough to send either car sprinting from zero to 60 mph in under six seconds when backed by the six-speed automatic. The 4.6-liter V8 ups those output figures to 342 and 339, respectively. Teamed with an equally smooth and sophisticated eight-speed automatic, it allows the GS 460 to complete that benchmark sprint in less than 5.5 ticks. The sole caveat: Manual-style gear changes still must be made using the conventional console lever, as neither transmission offers steering-wheel-mounted shift buttons or paddles.
303 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
274 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26(RWD), 18/25(AWD)
342 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
339 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24
By Jane on Thursday, February 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "still runs great-have it serviced regularly"
Cons: "night inside lighting soso--trunk space poor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Had to have new calipers-used up oil after 90000 but still wondering if I should trade as it has been such a great car,"
By miki on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "amazing t drive and so quiet on highway"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"2008 gs rwd i love this car is amazing is very good on gas and have a lot a power , mine is black on black so looks very hot"
By Hunter on Monday, January 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "quiet, quick, quality"
Cons: "None so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my 2006 GS 300 CPO in 2010. Had the car for three and a half years now and could not be happier. The only issue I had was that the dash squeaked a bit when I first purchased it. This is a common issue with the 2006 GS. I called Lexus customer care and they fixed it at no charge. The has a septic kit, that adds some padding in key locations under the dash, took about two days. Besides that, the car has been perfect. I am now at 85,000 miles and it drives great and I plan to keep for many more years. I like the car so much that I purchased my wife a CPO 2007 RX 350 in late 2012 and we have been very pleased with that Lexus as well. My experience with Lexus has been great. I highly recommend purchasing a Lexus"
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By hio on Monday, January 06, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Major quality problems
Pros: "Great looks"
Cons: "Very poor quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought my first Lexus, a used 2006 GS 350 based on reputation and the style of the car. It was beautiful. I ran into major quality problems within a few months and had to sell it at a loss of $7,000. Problems included transmission slipping or not engaging in the cold, the rear defrost broke, the trunk motor broke and the front axles clanked like a tin toy. STAY AWAY - this is a first year model and Toyota/Lexus did not get it right."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By bullseye 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."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By BeElZebub 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 7 found this review helpful