By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
The 4-door Lexus GS sedan for 2016 expands its portfolio, adding the GS 200t 4-cylinder turbo and fire-breathing GS F sedan powered by a 467-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. As is expected of a Lexus sedan, the 2016 GS is loaded with luxury and technology features, as well as an available F-Sport performance package for three of the four trims. Proving a car can be both eco-friendly and still fun to drive, the 2016 Lexus GS 450h hybrid elevates fuel economy without undermining acceleration or performance. When stacked up against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series or Cadillac CTS, the GS proves a worthy competitor, offering similar levels of performance and technology plus superior long-term reliability and resale figures.
If you’re seeking the peace of mind that comes from owning a Lexus, but you value performance over a soft, comfy ride, the 2016 Lexus GS luxury performance sedans can accommodate just about any price point or performance aspiration. You can even opt for all-wheel drive (GS 350 only).
With the exception of the GS F, the new GS line doesn’t feel as track-ready as a BWM 5 Series or Cadillac CTS, although it does offer a more comfortable ride. Some luxury buyers may find the 2016 Lexus GS’ new styling a bit too aggressive.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016, the Lexus GS 350 and GS 450h are joined by two new models: GS 200t and GS F. All GS models receive an aggressive new front end, and the F Sport Package can now be added to all but the GS F.
We spent a considerable amount of time behind the wheel of Lexus’ 2016 GS 350 sedan and found it to be a competent performance sedan displaying impressive abilities in the...
... areas of acceleration, cornering and braking response. While we’d say the BMW 5 Series and Cadillac CTS have a bit of an edge on the GS 350, it can certainly hold its own against an AWD Audi A6 or a Jaguar XF. The GS’ stiff body, lightweight aluminum control-arm suspension and wide track all contribute to its level cornering and compliant ride. The 3-setting Drive Mode permits a choice among Eco, Normal and Sport, with each setting varying the degree of response from the steering and throttle. Adding the F-Sport package brings more aggressive ride and handling as well as opens the door to more upgrades, such as the Lexus Dynamic Handling system with Variable Gear Ratio Steering.
LEXUS DRIVE MODE
By offering separate settings for Eco, Normal and Sport, Lexus Drive Mode hands the driver more control over steering input and throttle response. When teamed with the F-Sport package, there’s an additional Sport+ mode offering control of the adaptive suspension and VDIM systems.
Who says performance and environmentalism can’t go hand in hand? In the 2016 Lexus GS 450h, an Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 is teamed with an electric motor for a combined 338 horsepower. The combo delivers an impressive 31-mpg combined, yet accelerates the hybrid sedan faster than its gasoline-only counterpart.
Although edgy on the outside, Lexus’ 2016 GS luxury sedan is all about comfort on the inside. The attractively shaped instrument panel includes analog Optitron gauges with a color Multi-Information Display and an 8- or 12.3-inch color high-resolution central-control screen that operates with the 2nd-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) control function. Both front occupants enjoy 10-way-power seats, and LED ambient lighting is integrated into the door ornamentation and the RTI surround area. Nice touches and details abound, from “Lexus”-stamped scuff plates on all doorsills to contrast stitching on the upper instrument panel, door panels and shift boot.
The Lexus GS luxury performance sedan for 2016 is not for the shy, as the Lexus L-Finesse design theme results in a boldly styled piece of road-going art. It leads with a bold new front-end treatment that is becoming the Lexus corporate face. Fitting its more sporting image, the GS continues with edgy styling and highly defined shapes that include distinctive headlights and LED taillights. The GS 350 and 450h are fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels, while the F Sport Package and GS F add 19-inch wheels. Rich and varied paint options are a pleasant departure from the ubiquitous sea of silver, white and black.
All 2016 Lexus GS models include leather upholstery (NuLuxe simulated leather on the GS 200t), wood/metallic accent trim, power moonroof, multifunction steering wheel and energy-saving S-flow automatic climate control. The standard Lexus Premium Audio System has 12 speakers, AM/FM/DVD with HD Radio and WMA/MP3 capability, Bluetooth streaming, 5.1 Surround Sound and numerous other features. Additional standard equipment includes Navigation (GS 350), keyless remote/push-button start, Lexus Drive Mode, a rearview camera, the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system (combining the functions of anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control), Safety Connect with Automatic Collision Notification and all the usual and government-mandated safety features.
The 2016 Lexus GS with a Premium Package includes heated and ventilated front seats; a Luxury Package with Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), rear audio and climate controls and semi-aniline leather upholstery; a Cold Weather Package with heated steering wheel; and the F Sport Package with a 16-way driver’s sport seat, custom-tuned AVS, bigger wheels/tires/brakes and Variable Gear Ratio Steering. Stand-alone options include an HDD 12.3-inch Navigation system, power trunk release, 835-watt Mark Levinson premium audio and a Head-Up Display. The Lexus Safety System+ package combines pre-collision warning and pedestrian detection, land-departure warning with steering assist, auto high beams and adaptive cruise control.
The 2016 Lexus GS 200t sedan derives its power from a twin-scroll 2.0-liter turbocharged engine sending power to rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. The GS 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with dual variable-valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and direct fuel injection. In rear-wheel-drive (RWD) models it is matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission and with all-wheel drive (AWD) it has a 6-speed automatic. The hybrid GS 450h employs an Atkinson-cycle version of the 3.5-liter V6, with the Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive that combines the gasoline engine and the electric motor for a total system output of 338 horsepower. Lastly, the rear-drive GS F is equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 engine and an 8-speed automatic with manual shift control.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (GS 200t)
241 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,650-4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 mpg, 20/30 mpg (F-Sport)
3.5-liter V6 (GS 350)
311 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (RWD), 19/28 mpg (F-Sport), 19/27 mpg (AWD)
3.5-liter V6 + electric motor and battery pack (GS 450h)
286 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
180-horsepower electric motor – 338 net system horsepower
254 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/34 mpg
467 horsepower @ 7,100 rpm
389 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800-5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2016 Lexus GS 200t starts just a shade over $46,500. The GS 350 starts closer to $51,000, with the AWD version starting closer to $51,500. The hybrid GS 450h starts just over $64,000 and adding numerous options can push it considerably higher. The GS F starts just over $85,000. The GS 350’s likely European competitors, the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, tend to have starting prices above that of the GS and are fairly close to each other in resale values, but the GS 350 is expected to maintain both 3-year and 5-year residuals that are higher, thus paying benefits in the long term. Before heading off to the dealer, be sure and check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2016 Lexus GS 200t, 350 or 450h.