By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
As is expected of a Lexus sedan, the new 2017 GS is loaded with luxury and technology features, as well as superior long-term reliability and resale figures. Last year, the 4-door Lexus GS portfolio expanded to include the GS 200t 4-cylinder turbo and fire-breathing GS F sedan, which is powered by a 467-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. At the heart of the lineup are the V6-powered GS 350 and the more eco-friendly yet still fun-to-drive 2017 Lexus GS 450h hybrid. And to spice it up there’s an available F-Sport performance package on three of the four trim levels. When stacked up against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series or Cadillac CTS, the new GS proves a worthy competitor, offering similar levels of performance and technology.
If you’re seeking the peace of mind that comes from owning a Lexus, along with strong performance and exceptional levels of luxury and features, the 2017 Lexus GS luxury-sports sedans can accommodate just about any price point or aspiration. You can even opt for all-wheel drive (GS 350 only).
Some luxury buyers may find the styling of the 2017 Lexus GS a bit too aggressive. With the exception of the GS F, the new GS line doesn’t feel quite as driver focused as a more sporting BMW 5 Series or Cadillac CTS, although it does offer a more comfortable ride.
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For 2017, the Lexus Safety System+ package, introduced last year as an option, is now standard on the new GS 200t, GS 350 and GS 450h. The state-of-the-art system includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam (IHB) and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
After considerable time behind the wheel of a new Lexus GS 350 sedan, we found it to be a likable and competent performance sedan with impressive acceleration, cornering and braking...
... response. It’s fun to drive and absolutely luxurious. The GS’s stiff structure, lightweight aluminum 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. While we’d say the BMW 5 Series and Cadillac CTS have a bit of a sporting edge on the GS 350, it can certainly hold its own against an AWD Audi A6 or a Jaguar XF.
LEXUS DRIVE MODE
The Lexus Safety System+ package, introduced last year as an option, is now standard on the new GS 200t, GS 350 and GS 450h. The state-of-the-art system includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam (IHB) and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
Who says performance and fuel economy can’t live in harmony? In the 2017 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 rating, yet accelerates the hybrid sedan faster than its gasoline-only counterpart.
Although edgy on the outside, Lexus’ 2017 GS luxury sedan is all about comfort on the inside. Both front occupants enjoy 10-way-power seats, and LED ambient lighting is integrated into the door ornamentation and the console. Soft leather is everywhere and 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 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.
Not for the shy, the new Lexus GS luxury performance sedan is a boldly styled piece of road-going art. It leads with an aggressive front-end treatment with an oversized grille, deep chin spoiler and intense expression. Distinctive headlights and LED taillights fit its sporting image, as do its muscular lines, highly defined shapes and low stance. 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.
The Lexus Safety System+ package, introduced last year as an option, is now standard on the new GS 200t, GS 350 and GS 450h. The state-of-the-art system includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam (IHB) and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. All 2017 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.
The 2017 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, which makes any Lexus more fun to drive. It adds a 16-way driver’s sport seat, custom-tuned AVS, bigger wheels, tires and brakes along with Variable Gear Ratio Steering. Stand-alone options include an HDD 12.3-inch Navigation system, power trunk release, an 835-watt, 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround-sound audio system and a Head-Up Display.
The 2017 Lexus GS 200t sedan is powered by a twin-scroll 2.0-liter turbocharged engine sending power to the 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 high-performance 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
5.0-liter V8 (GS F)
467 horsepower @ 7,100 rpm
389 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800-5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2017 Lexus GS 200t starts just a shade over $47,000. The GS 350 starts closer to $51,500, with the AWD version starting closer to $52,500. The hybrid GS 450h starts just over $64,500 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 to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2017 Lexus GS 200t, 350 or 450h.