1 Apr 2012
COMPLETELY redesigned, comprehensively reengineered, and priced to undermine the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6, the fourth-generation GS marks the rebirth of Lexus in Australia.
Out in early 2012, the Japanese midsized luxury sedan contender boasts more space, strength, equipment, technology, safety, value, and driver appeal than – as well as a whole new look compared to – its underachieving predecessor released in 2004.
Each of the three engine variants (GS250, GS350 and GS450h) is offered in three model grades – Luxury, F Sport, and Sports Luxury – to greatly increase customer choice and satisfaction.
Key to the latest iteration’s long-term success is the far-more accessible entry price, with the GS250 Luxury being 20 per cent down on the previous base GS300 Sports while containing 20 per cent of extra added value in terms of standard specification.
Dubbed the 4GR-FSE, the GS250’s 2500cc 2.5-litre all-alloy quad cam 24-valve V6 petrol unit features dual VVT-i variable valve timing to produce 154kW of power at 6400rpm and 253Nm of torque at 4800rpm.
The GS350 features a 3456cc 3.5-litre quad-cam 2GR-FSE dual-injection V6, meanwhile, and delivers 233kW at 6400rpm and 378Nm at 4800rpm.
Both V6s drive the rear wheels via an Aisin-supplied six-speed automatic gearbox fitted with sequential paddle shifters.
The GS450h, meanwhile, is powered by a 252kW direct/port-injection Atkinson-cycle 3.5-litre V6 that teams with an electric motor and a CVT continuously variable transmission.
The front suspension consists of a new double wishbone set-up while the rear is a redesigned multi-link design electricity powers the rack and pinion steering system, and is linked to the Drive Mode Select ‘Sport+’ mode on the F Sport and Sports Luxury models to conform to the operator’s desired weight and input the brake control is also electronic and the F Sport’s suspension calibration is unique.
With over 1.6 million kilometres of testing on the autobahns as well as at the Nurburgring track in Germany and the Fuji Speedway in Japan, the Lexus was benchmarked against the E60 5 Series and W211 E-Class models of the time.
Though the new GS has much the same basic measurements as the old one, it is 25mm taller and the front, the rear wheels have been pushed forward a few millimetres, and the tracks are about 20mm wider to improve dynamic balance and interior space.
Rear seat space rises 20mm, headroom increases between 25mm (rear) and 30mm (front), and luggage space is 23 per cent larger, at 530 litres. Overall length/width/height and wheelbase ratings are 4850/1840/1455/2850mm respectively.