Lexus GS saloon (2005-2011)
"Brimming with standard equipment, the Lexus GS is powerful, quiet and comfortable. It's also extremely reliable, but has only one engine option."
- Excellent reliability
- Powerful, smooth engine
- Loads of standard equipment
- Diesel-engined rivals are more economical
- Relatively poor resale values
If you're in the market for an executive saloon like a BMW 5-Series, but you want something out of the ordinary, then the Lexus GS is for you. The car only offers a single engine choice – which in this case is a petrol-electric hybrid. It’s not as popular as rivals like the Audi A6, but it's a great alternative thanks to top-notch reliability, great dealer service and loads of standard equipment. The engine is powerful and quiet, particularly around town. However with Lexus tuning the hybrid system more for performance than economy, you can also be sure of blistering acceleration.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Since Lexus dropped the non-hybrid versions of the GS from its line-up, the running costs have become more acceptable. The GS 450h model will return 37.2mpg and 179g/km of CO2, but the fact that it's a hybrid means that it qualifies for slightly lower Road Tax given its emissions, so it currently costs £190 per year rather than £200. Most rivals offer diesel engines with superior fuel economy, though.
Engines, drive & performance
The GS comes with a single engine option - a 3.5-litre petrol V6 that is mated to an electric motor. It has 341bhp, which is enough power to get it from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds, which is rapid for such a large saloon. The suspension is firm and there is plenty of grip on offer from the tyres. Even so, light steering and a comfortable driving position makes it better suited to relaxed motorway and town journeys, where it performs exceptionally well. The engine is composed and gearchanges are slick.
Interior & comfort
You won't hear any road noise at all inside the Lexus. Its cabin is very well insulated, and despite a bit of rumble from the tyres, the cockpit is extremely quiet, as is the engine. The GS copes with potholes and rough road surfaces equally well, while the soft leather seats are very supportive. At low speeds the Lexus is powered by the electric motor alone, which makes things even quieter around town.
Practicality & boot space
This is where the Lexus struggles, as the electric motor eats into the boot space. There's only 280 litres of room with the rear seats in place, which isn't great when you compare it to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (532 litres) and BMW 5-Series (520 litres). Lexus makes up for this by offering a special set of luggage that's designed to make the best of the space - and the boot lid can be closed electronically. There's plenty of legroom for rear passengers, but the back seats are only really suitable for two, as the middle seat lacks foot room.
Reliability & safety
Lexus finished at the top of the manufacturer tables of 2010's JD Power Satisfaction Survey, which proves how reliable its cars are. Lexus is also renowned for excellent customer service from its dealers, so you can buy with confidence. The GS’s five-star Euro NCAP adult occupant rating and four stars for child occupants is about as good as it gets. The GS also comes with ten airbags, stability control and seat belt pre-tensioners as standard. Top-of-the-range models get a crash-sensing system that prepares the car for an impact if it calculates that a collision is imminent.
Price, value for money & options
The GS has quite high list prices, but it makes up for that with phenomenal levels of standard equipment. Electrically adjustable and heated front seats, sat-nav, Bluetooth phone connection, leather upholstery and directional headlights that move with the steering are all standard, among other things. The Lexus doesn't hold its value as well as more established German rivals, though.