Tuesday, July 17, 2018

2018 Lexus GS 300: The Brand’s Midsize 4-Cylinder Luxury Sedan

Highlight: The GS is available in a 4-cylinder, a 6-cylinder, an 8-cylinder and a hybrid.

Vehicle’s MSRP: $ 51,829 (Base model: $47,535)

Seating Capacity: Five

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; a blind spot monitor with a rear traffic cross alert system; Daytime running lights; a radar activated cruise control system; automatic high beam headlamps;  an electronic brake distribution system; a backup camera; a tire pressure monitoring system; a vehicle stability control system; a departure lane warning system; and Lexus Enform Safety Connect system

Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheel and tires; an 8-speed automatic transmission; leather seats; electric parking brakes; automatic headlights; a push-button ignition starter system; Lexus memory setting to control driver’s seat, exterior mirrors and steering wheel; 12.3-inch infotainment screen; a navigation system; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a power sunroof; and a dual zone automatic control system

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: 18-inch, 5-spoke alloy wheel with summer tires; 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system DVD/CD/MP3; a navigation system; a one touch power trunk; a rain-sensing wiper system, heated and ventilated front seats; power rear sunshade; key gloves; and  paint protection film

Other Trim Level: GS 200t; GS 350; GS 450h and GS F

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 12-speaker AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/241-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 22-city/32-hwy

What’s New:  The GS is a carryover.

Why: The midsize GS is available in a variety of powertrains, trims and price points. In the fourth-generation GS, Lexus offers everything from a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder turbo to a hybrid to a power-packing, high-performance 8-cylinder.

The GS, which can be configured as a rear wheel drive or an all-wheel drive, offers a variety of driving modes. Each driving mode slightly adjusts the engine throttle setting, the suspension and the steering. This all-weather vehicle allows for both a personalized and a more engaging driving experience.

Added to that, for those seeking to enhance the look and feel of the GS, they can opt for the F-Sport package. In 2017, we reviewed a GS outfitted with the F-Sport package, which included a massive matted spindle grille, larger spoke wheels, sportier seats and an enhanced steering suspension.

This time around we got our hands on the brand’s 4-cylinder GS. While there was a noticeable difference in the engine’s sound, it was not as obvious in terms of the performance. In fact, the vehicle was still outfitted with two rear exhaust pipes and we found the 4-cylinder to be quite suitable. Moreover, with gas prices rising, drivers will appreciate the additional gas mileage and extended driving range, before its time to refuel again, when compared to the 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder models.

So, besides the appearance, our vehicle was outfitted with Lexus’ all-new standard safety system. This system included a pre-collision braking system, a lane departure warning system, a radar-activated cruise control system and high-beam automatic headlights. All of these features combine compliment the rear cross traffic alert system and a blind spot electronic lane changing system, pushing the GS to be closer toward an autonomous vehicle.

Furthermore, the GS can be outfitted with a humongous 12.3-infotainment screen, which house a navigation system, an audio system, the climate control system and Apps. All of these functions can be controlled through an interactive mouse pad.

But: Despite the GS being offered with a variety of powertrains from a 4 cylinder to a 6-cylinder to an 8-cylinder to a hybrid, sales continue to decline. The aging design, the confined interior cabin, the cramped rear seats and the brand’s controversial signature wide-mouth spindle grille is making this vehicle a difficult sell in a market, where crossovers are the dominant vehicle choice.   

Verdict: The well-built GS offers all of the amenities one has come to expect in a Lexus. There are a variety of powertrains and price points to cover almost every budget in the luxury segment. However, being that sales are down significantly with the GS, buyers in the market for a reliable midsize luxury sedan should be in a perfect position to negotiate an unbelievable deal. And, with the arrival of a new ES in the pipeline, which is expected to taking on a sportier profile, the future of the GS seems quite bleak.

Competition:  Acura RLX; Audi A6; BMW 5-Series; Cadillac CTS; Genesis G80; Infiniti Q70; Jaguar XF; Mercedes-Benz E-Class; and Volvo S90

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