THE LUXURY sedan segment has, over the years struggled to keep its head above water with sales figure dropping as customers lean towards the practical advantages of luxury SUVs. Manufacturers are trying to make their luxury sedans as appealing as possible. Take Lexus for example, they have thrown just about everything that is an option into their new GS model as standard. They have also fitted it with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Add to that a rather good looking exterior and the new GS comes across as an attractive option. I spent a few days with the GS to see just how attractive this underrated executive sedan really is.
The Pythagoras affect
From what I can remember from high school math, Pythagoras played a vital role when it came to triangles. He also caused us to stay after school and do extra math classes. The reason why I’m referring to this is that when I look at the Lexus GS I can’t help but think that the designers who worked on this car are excellent at geometry. The Lexus GS features striking angles and design elements which not only make it attractive but it makes it stand out from the crowd. I particularly like the front end. The large spindle grille gives the car an aggressive look and theDay Time Running Lights are now separate from the sleek headlights.
From the side the car features a somewhat stretched silhouette. The lower side skirts feature a twist design towards the rear. Lexus has also given the car a rather interesting wheel design. The 18 inch rims feature a duel colour scheme and incorporate subtle design features pertaining to a chrome lip.
At the rear the car features the Lexus trademark L design taillights. These have been slightly blacked out on the inside to give a more striking appearance. The rear is a neat affair, the twin tailpipes which are behind a chrome surround are now split by a rear diffuser, this adds to the sporty connotation of the car.
Lexus has taken the idea of separating the driver from the chaotic outside world to heart. The new GS features better noise insulation. The result is an inaudible cabin, add to that the leather trim on just about everything and the soft, comfortable seatsand the interior is a delightful place to be, even when stuck in horrendous traffic as I was. The model that I drove featured what Lexus call their Ivory interior. So as to enhance the eye catching qualities of the interior the foot wells and lower door panels as well as the dashboard are finished in black. Space inside the cabin is ample and rear passengers benefit from a slightly rear angled seat configuration.
Mounted on top of the dashboard is a large 12.3 inch screen which displays all the infotainment information as well as navigation (which is standard) and vehicle settings. The system is controlled by the brands familiar Remote Touch Interface controller, which I’m not a fan of to be honest. It is sometimes difficult to select options while on the move. I feel that a rotary dial would suffice. Lexus has updated the graphics on the system yet it still feels out-dated compared to that found in competitors.
That said, the dashboard features a sweeping design and incorporated finely crafted wood trim and machined dials for the volume control. Lexus has also reworked the climate control which now features better visual controls.
Dynamite does come in small packages
As we move into 2016, it is clear that manufacturers are downsizing on engine capacity quite substantially. Smaller, more economical turbocharged engines seem to be the way forward. This might put some buyers off as many people like big cars with big engines. Lexus has been able to extract 180kW and 350Nm from its little 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine by adopting the use of a twin-scroll turbocharger as well as other systems like D-4ST which means that there is an injector installed in the combustion chamber and a second mounted in the intake port, this gives the car a wider power band as well as improved economy. I managed an average of8.3l/100km over my time with the Lexus GS. As economical as what the engine is, it is also sporty with a 0-100km time of around 7.3 seconds.
The Lexus GS prides itself on offering customers a quality, comfortable, yet dynamic driving experience. Sure the GS200t doesn’t have the sweet exhaust note of the more powerful GS350 but it does offer economical benefits to customers. The ride is compliant on just about any road surface and the 8-speed gearbox changes seamlessly between cogs. I also think that Lexus South Africa has done a fine job in offering this fully loaded GS200t at a price of R688 600, which is a whole lot less than its nearest German competitor.