Lexus has tonight revealed the fourth-generation mid-size GS model to a small group of the automotive press corps at Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt Hotel and it’s nothing like the previous car.
This is a good two generations ahead of the current model Lexus GS in every way, and that’s before we’ve even driven the car.
The styling alone is a lot more aggressive than anything Lexus has done in the past and represents a bold new corporate face of the next range of Lexus cars. The front end and grille treatment Lexus calls its spindle grille with trapezoidal contours, shows signs of DNA from the LFA supercar, and that can only be a good thing from a styling perspective. That said, I was told that all the front air intakes are totally functional.
For too long Lexus’s GS model has skewed more towards the luxury side of things rather than dynamic performance and handling. Truth be told, the previous GS 450h (hybrid) and GS 460 sedans were very quick cars, but they lacked the on-road dynamics that would have transformed them into proper sports sedans to rival some of its German competitors in the hotly contested medium sedan segment.
Leading the charge for the new GS model range will be a GS F Hybrid with 252kW that will see it accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 5.9 seconds. Following in close pursuit will be the 233 kW GS 350 petrol variant, which will do the sprint in 6.0 seconds flat.
Things are expected to be substantially better in the handling department too with the addition of the new Lexus Dynamic Handling System (LDHS) said to provide on-road ride and handling characteristics in line with the best European standards. Also a first for Lexus is a rear-wheel steering system called Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS), which will mean a more accurate turn-in response and greater agility with the added benefit of four-wheel steering.
Expect more grip too with less chance for slip and a larger rubber footprint from the staggered tyres sizes of 235/40s up front and extra wide 265/35s at the rear, riding on 19-inch wheels on all four corners. These are in fact the widest tyres ever used of a Lexus sedan.
Stopping power has been significantly boosted too with larger two-piece brake discs with reduced weight measures using aluminium hats.
Lexus has also added a Drive Mode Select system that looks similar to that used in some performance models from Mercedes-Benz. This allows drivers to switch between Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus driving modes, which in turn alter aspects of the car’s performance by enhancing engine speed, throttle response, and more, for a more engaging driving experience.
Lexus also told us that ride and handling on the GS F Sport models has been dramatically improved through extensive retuning of the front and rear suspension systems for less body roll on turn-in and increased stability when cornering.
Lexus Australia chief executive Tony Cramb said,
"The all-new GS 350 F Sport is a vehicle that will appeal to the sporting driver, those who seek performance and comfort without compromise.”"With dynamic handling, incredible stopping power and a true sporting feel, the GS 350 F Sport is a vehicle that offers the best of everything to the enthusiast."GS 350 F Sport is a true sports luxury sedan, offering the ideal mix of driving performance, comfort and advanced technology."
He’s absolutely right about the comfort and advanced technology in GS F Sport we looked at tonight.
The interior alone looks to be more of a revolution rather than evolution of the current car with a clear indication that the luxury Japanese carmaker has benchmarked both BMW’s 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The leather upholstery I sat in tonight in the GS F Sport model was superbly comfortable with a level of suppleness beyond anything from the German carmakers. They're also very well bolstered.
Technology includes a massive 12.2-inch HD multimedia screen with a multitude of clever functions along with a total of 10 airbags and electronic everything as we have come to expect from the luxury carmaker that seems bent on taking the fight to the German carmakers in this lucrative segment.
Lexus intends to launch the all-new GS model in the second quarter of 2012 and says pricing will be highly competitive. It will need to be if they are to go from 10 cars per month to up to 150 cars per month, which BMW and Mercedes-Benz regularly achieve in this segment.
CarAdvice will bring you a road test of the new Lexus GS as soon as possible.