Lexus GS (2012 – 2018) Review
Lexus GS (2012 – 2018) At A Glance
Where Lexus' key rivals make much of their diesel-powered models for company car sales, the Lexus is only available in petrol- and hybrid-powered forms. There’s also no estate model of the GS, limiting its scope in that crucial company car sector, yet the saloon is a handsome beasty and offers different charms, such as its superb reputation for reliability and owner satisfaction. Even so, these factors are not quite enough to shift the Lexus GS from the margins of a class dominated by rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
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The Lexus GS carved out its own niche within the executive sector as an upmarket and somewhat leftfield alternative to large saloons like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. For those who value quality and refinement, the Lexus ticks a lot of boxes.
It's helped by Lexus dealers, who are widely recognised as the best in the business for customer service and this is backed up by top marks in the various customer satisfaction surveys like JD Power. It's no surprise the brand has one of the highest rates of repeat buyers.
The GS launched in 2012 built on the same qualities of the old model but Lexus worked hard to add a dash of style and driver enjoyment to the mix. It didn’t quite hit the mark, which has been the case with the GS throughout its life. What we got instead was a very comfortable, competent cruiser that much prefers to make unruffled progress than be hustled down a country road in the way you can with a BMW 5 Series.
In terms of looks, it's a lot more angular at the front and it's a similar story at the back where the stretched lights make it appear wider. Overall, it has a lot more road presence than its bland predecessors.
The improvements over the generations than went before are most noticeable inside with a far better interior in terms of design and quality. There are less obvious Toyota elements and a far more stylish feel with features like the solid metal controls for the stereo and the analogue clock between the air vents.
There's more space than earlier GS models too and it feels much more like a premium car than the older GS generations did. There is also plenty of space for those in the front and Lexus piled in the technology, which is thankfully easier to comprehend and use than some of its later offerings.
As before, Lexus didn’t fit a diesel engine to the GS range, something which will mean many buyers immediately rule it out. Instead, it sticks with standard petrols and a hybrid version. The GS450h is the impressive hybrid and it combines swift performance with low carbon dioxide emissions and decent fuel economy considering its power.
There's also a GS250 powered by a 2.5-litre V6 petrol with more than 200bhp which is significantly cheaper than the hybrid model.
Starting prices are fairly high, but all models come highly equipped as standard although entry-level versions don't get sat nav. You could also GS F that came with a 471PS 5.0-litre V8 petrol motor to give Lexus a rival to the BMW M5. It’s a rare beast, but it can deliver 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and sounds amazing.
However, most buyers will be looking to either the 2.5-litre petrol or hybrid models and they make an intriguing alternative to the main German contenders in this class. Lexus was ahead of the curve with its hybrid offering, so used buyers can take advantage of this now.