The new Lexus GS was launched in South Africa recently. As a newcomer to the scene, I missed the launch. But I did have a go in a dealers test model. Here are my thoughts:The Looks
This is one of the best looking saloons on sale today. At the moment I think the only better looking saloon is the Lexus GS’ rival: The BMW 5-Series.
The GS is far more agressive than the previous model, with a kind of ‘fangs’ on the front, almost like a pit viper. This look is possibly too bold for the traditional Lexus buyer, but with the IS-F and LFA in the mix, Lexus are looking to take on BMW at their own game in terms of good looking cars that go like hell.
As usual, Lexus have introduced a hybrid – the GS 450h. I haven’t driven it, but if the old GS hybrid was anything to go by it’ll be fantstic as it will feel exactly like a normal car.
Although the engine range is not entirely new, the engines have been updated to be more fuel efficient. The range consists of three models: GS 250 (a new addition), 350 and 450h. The F-Sport package is only available on the 450h. It includes an upgraded brake system, different bumper, grille and wheels, while the adaptive variable suspension is offered along with a sport S+ mode. Enthusiastic drivers will also be interested in the four-wheel-steering system.
As mentioned above, Lexus are stating to taking on its German rivals – Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The LFA sort of competes with the Mercedes SLS AMG, the IS-F with the M3 and C63 AMG and the standard IS with the 3-series and C-Class.
The GS competes, in theory, with the 5-Series and E-Class. But which model fits where? The GS250 should compete with a 528i, but is priced like a 520i. The same applies to the GS350, while the GS450h, being a hybrid, only has the BMW ActiveHybrid5 as competition.
Lexus’ very aggessive pricing strategy will hopefully mean more South Africans consider the GS as an option for mid-level executives. It is extremely well priced, well speced and I think very very good looking. With it’s Toyota liniage, it will certainly be reliable and Lexus’ do hold their value well.
The big question is whether that incredible pricing will coax people out of their German saloons and into the Lexus.