The Lexus GS is a very good luxury sports sedan, that competes in a declining-yet-very competitive segment of the market.
New for 2020: 2020 might be the last year of production for the GS. The sedan segment as a whole has been declining globally, and since 2018 Lexus has stopped offering the GS in Europe. As the worst-selling sedan in the luxury brand’s lineup, it has been estimated that the GS will be axed.
In the meantime, the base GS 300 has been discontinued for 2020, while the GS 350 has remained unchanged.
For all of Lexus’ success, the company’s GS mid-luxury sedan has never been able to keep pace with its other models, let alone major competitors like the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Its current generation, launched for 2013 and redesigned for 2016, offers a very compelling proposition at an attractive price, but was never able to truly threaten the German trinity.
After dropping the hybrid and four-cylinder versions, the only variant on sale for 2020 (other than the sporty GS F) is the GS 350. As before, it carries a 3.5-liter V6 unit that produces 311 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque and manages to hit 60 miles per hour in under 5.7 seconds while still averaging 23 mpg in combined highway/city driving. It is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and is offered in both RWD and AWD options.
The F Sport package is available with Lexus’ Dynamic Rear Steering. This four-wheel steering system allows the rear wheels to automatically turn up to two degrees while cornering which aids turn-in and stability.
The GS F is a different beast entirely, with a 5.0-liter V8 producing 467 horsepower and a dynamically focused chassis. It might be lagging in performance against its forced induction engined rivals, but it gets our sympathy for being the last of the breed, having a wicked, high-revving, naturally aspirated engine with sharp responses and a V8 roar to die for.
Pros/ Sharp, dialed-in chassis / Tech and safety features / Competitive price
Cons/Steering a bit numb / Brake feel could be improved / Styling not for everyone
Bottom Line/The Lexus GS checks all the right boxes for a sports sedan, but struggles to match the talented German competition.
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Lexus GS Pricing
The base price of the 2020 Lexus GS 350 is $52,090 for the all-wheel drive model and $52,420 for the RWD, including $1025 in delivery charges. You’re not reading that wrong: the all-paw model is in fact cheaper, as it comes with Toyota’s NuLuxe synthetic leather versus genuine cow in the rear-drive model. The RWD F Sport is priced at $53,785 while the AWD version will set you back $55,530.
The GS F super-sedan starts at $86,035, which is still a relative bargain compare to most of its (admittedly higher powered) rivals.
Lexus GS Features
Lexus models tend to come with a high level of spec right out of the box, and the GS is no exception. Standard interior gadgets include Bluetooth compatibility, SMS text-to-speech, HD Radio, satellite radio and of course a high-resolution 8.0-inch screen. This system is complemented by a 12-speaker surround-sound stereo, though audiophiles can instead option up to the 17-speaker Mark Levinson unit.
The Premium package includes rain-sensing wipers, a power rear sunshade and heated and ventilated front seats. The Luxury Package builds on this, with nicer seats in the front, rear HVAC and audio controls, rear manual side sunshades, an Adaptive Front Lighting System, Adaptive Variable Suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels. Opt for the navigation system and Lexus will upgrade the center screen to a 12.3-inch high-resolution version. This screen is big enough to accommodate split-screen or full-screen viewing of things like maps, audio, climate, and vehicle information.
Lexus GS vs BMW 5 Series
Costing upwards of $50,000, the BMW 5 Series offers all the luxury of its various competitors while giving drivers a significantly sportier driving experience than any of its peers. Handling is and always has been world-class for the line, with powerful engines, sharp steering and a playful chassis. The 5 Series is even offered with a hybrid electric engine model that achieves extraordinary gas mileage.
Lexus GS vs Mercedes E-Class
All of the competitors in the mid-size luxury sedan segment offer plenty of space, with an array of powerful engines, but none offer the kind of refinement, ease of operation, or model variety of the E-Class. The E-Class also offers great fuel economy for a luxury vehicle, making do with a turbocharged four-cylinder in E300 guise while most of its competitors use bigger and thirstier engines.
Lexus GS vs Audi A6
The Audi A6 got a full redesign for 2019. Audi’s mid-sized luxury sedan returned with sharp new styling and tons of tech to maintain the car’s cutting-edge reputation. Audi is concentrating heavily on the implementation of technology to keep the driving experience as fun and comfortable as possible. It has understated and handsome styling, powerful engines and the best interior tech in the game.
2016 Lexus GS F Review
|Engine /||3.5L V6 / 5.0L V8|
|Horsepower (hp) /||311 / 467|
|Torque (lb-ft) /||280 / 389|
|Transmission /||8-speed automatic|
|Drivetrain /||Rear-wheel drive / all-wheel drive|
|Price Range (USD) /||$52,090-$86,035|
Our Final Verdict
The Lexus GS checks all the right boxes for a sports sedan, with the latest gadgets and technology, a powerful engine, sport-tuned suspension and available F Sport and GS F editions. But it competes in a very strong class of more modern midsize sedans from luxury manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes.