Lexus GS (2012 – 2018) Review

Lexus GS (2012 – 2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Lexus often plays by its own rules and this is evident with the GS executive saloon.

+High quality and superbly built, strong performance and relatively low CO2 from 450h, impressively refined

-Steering feels too remote, firm ride on F Sport models, no PHEV version.

Insurance Groups are between 26–48
On average it achieves 79% of the official MPG figure

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.

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.

Ask Honest John

I've only done 1000 miles in the last 12 months. Do I need my car's annual service done?

"I have a 2009 Lexus GS450h. I had a full Lexus service at 69,000 miles in September 2020. The car has now done 70,000 miles. Should I have my annual service this year? Thank you."
We would recommend servicing the car every 12,000 miles or 12 months (whichever comes first). Given that the car has been standing for long periods of time, I would argue that the 2021 service is more vital than ever. The garage will perform a full safety inspection and replace the oil and oil filter. The brake fluid may also need replacing if it has become contaminated by condensation.
Answered by Dan Powell

Do I need an extended warranty for my Lexus 300h GS?

"I have a Lexus 300h GS which runs out of warranty in June 2017. My local dealer is offering an extended warranty for £1095 for two years, including AA cover. Do you think it is a good idea to have this and is the price fair?"
It's a standard sort of price but a Lexus 300h GS is one of the World's most reliable cars. I wouldn't bother, but it depends how much you value absolute peace of mind.
Answered by Honest John

Where can I get a replacement key for my Lexus?

"I have only one key for my Lexus GS 450H (62 plate). As it is a keyless entry car, I would like to get a second key. Do you know where I could get one from?"
Try a branch of Timpsons in the High Street, side street or in a Shopping Mall. No joy there, links to keys and locksmiths in this directory: The first two on the list apparently give very good, very fast and very cheap service.
Answered by Administrator

Buying an exec saloon for a short commute - A6 or GS?

"I drive a 2005 Lexus GS300 and love the reliability, standard level of equipment and comfort. I want to change up to a newer car (1-3 years old). I cover 20,000 miles per year, 70 per cent of which is a short distance commute each day lasting no more than 20 miles. I'm thinking a Lexus GS300H 2014/15 OR Audi A6 2.0 diesel 2014/15. My gut tells me the Lexus is the better option for me based on my driving habits but would appreciate your thoughts or suggestions of an alternative not mentioned here."
Definitely the Lexus hybrid rather than the Audi diesel.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Lexus GS (2012 – 2018) cost?