By: Jason Woosey
Johannesburg - As the next-generation Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series loom on the horizon, Lexus is perking up its own business class saloon with a head-turning nip and tuck as well as some heart surgery.
The latter comes in the form of a new base engine, which is none other than Lexus's 2-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol. Replacing the GS 350 EX, the new GS 200t EX is good for 180kW and 380Nm and according to Lexus that'll get you from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds and to a top speed of 230km/h. While the new four-pot loses 53kW over its V6 predecessor, it gains 2Nm and much of the difference will made up for at reef altitude. There should be a big cost advantage too, although in reality the price drops by a mere R5000 to R688 600, probably due to the weak rand. It’s still cheaper than its key rivals though, as you’ll see below.
The GS 350 F-Sport soldiers on, at R777 700 (R16 500 more than before), offering 233kW and 378Nm of normally aspirated V6 power, a six-second 0-100 sprint, at the coast, and 235km/h top end. Both engines send their power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
To improve road holding, engineers recalibrated the coil springs and body rigidity is improved through no less than 188 new spot-welding points. The F-Sport comes standard with Adaptive Variable Suspension and rear-wheel steering.
NEW LOOK, INSIDE AND OUT
As you’ll see above, Lexus has also made some bold design changes to the front end and those angular Bi-LED headlights are standard on both versions. Look closely and you'll also notice the revised taillights and bumper at the tail end.
Inside, the dashboard gets new metal ornamentation, redesigned air vents, clock, audio panel and climate controls. The seat upholstery features a fresh design too and you can choose between ivory and black in the 200t, while the 350 offers black or red colour schemes.
Both models come with navigation as standard, which forms part of the huge 31.2cm infotainment screen, operated via the 'Remote Touch Interface' which now has side 'enter' buttons.
PRICES (vs rivals)
Lexus GS 200t EX (180kW/380Nm) - R688 600
Audi A6 2.0T quattro (185kW/370Nm) - R775 000
BMW 528i Standard (180kW/350Nm) - R763 757
Mercedes-Benz E250 (155kW/350Nm) - R693 378
Lexus GS 350 F-Sport (233kW/378Nm) - R761 200
BMW 535i M Sport (225kW/400Nm) - R913 127
Infiniti Q70 3.7 S Premium (235kW/360Nm) - R732 426