By IOL Motoring Staff:
Johannesburg - While it was trying to establish itself as the top-selling luxury car in the United States - which it now is - Lexus of necessity pursued a conservative, quality-first approach in terms of styling.
But now the pendulum has swung the other way and Toyota feels its premium brand is in danger of being labelled a grandpa's car (and we all know what that did to Buick!), so Lexus has redefined its GS 'executive sedan' with more emphasis on driving dynamics, while retaining Lexus standards of comfort and solid build quality.
The subtly revised Lexus GS sedan - released in South Africa this week - has a wider track, more direct steering, an aurally engineered (read: authoritative) exhaust system, an automatic gearbox with paddle shifters and virtually immediate lock-up technology, vented disc brakes and, thanks to generous use of aluminium, it's lighter than its predecessor.
The new Lexus GS is also available for the first time with the eighth-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission from the Lexus IS F and, due to customer demand, the GS350 will, for the first time in South Africa, be offered with the F Sport package - a more aggressive front bumper and spindle design with larger lower-grille aperture and a honey-comb grille slats, running on smoked 19” alloys as opposed to the 18” hoops on the GS350 EX.
But the new, bolder GS still comes with an impressive list of luxury features as standard, including an intelligent climate control system, an upmarket sound system and power-adjustable front seats and steering column, all wrapped in full leather trim.
The “power hybrid” model starts with the same 3.5-litre petrol V6 as its sibling, kicking out a quoted 213kW and 345Nm, then adds a 39kW electric motor and high-voltage battery for a total of 252kW and 620Nm.
All of that gets laid down through the rear wheels, via an electronically controlled constantly-variable transmission.
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The SE trim level includes the full EX monty, plus a full-colour head up display and rear cross-traffic alert, to help you when backing out from a parking space.
When your Lexus is in reverse, it detects vehicles approaching from the right or left rear and alerts you by flashing the side mirror indicators and sounding a warning tone.
GS350 EX - R629 000
GS350 F SPORT - R697 800
GS450h SE - R872 100
Lexus GS models are covered by a four-year or 100 000km warranty and service plan.