Lexus GS – the new face of Lexus







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: June 1, 2012
Categories: Lexus, Lexus GS 450h

  • Dramatic design sets the tone for future Lexus models
  • Dynamically a more rewarding driving experience
  • "Spindle"-grille the new Lexus visual signature
  • Expansive range of luxury equipment available across the range

Lexus GS 450h

The 2012 GS is the new Lexus. This most dramatic and anticipated of new Lexus models combines an attractive, distinctive appearance with sporting performance and a high level of standard equipment.

The new Lexus GS is more than just a luxury car. It brings a more engaging driving experience, bolder design and a more spacious, contemporary interior, heralding a new chapter in the history of Lexus.

A four-model range is available in the local market. For the first time in South Africa, a V6-powered 2.5-litre GS 250 model provides entry into the prestigious GS range. The models are:

  • GS 250 EX, with 154 kW/253 Nm 2500 cm³ V6 petrol engine (code 4GR-FSE) and 6-speed automatic gearbox, and comprehensive equipment range.
  • GS350 EX, with 233 kW/378 Nm 3456 cm³ V6 petrol engine (code (2GR-FSE) and 6-speed autobox, visually identical to the GS 250 and with the same equipment grade.
  • GS 450h F-Sport, with similar V6 petrol engine as on the GS 350 (coded 2GR-FXE). While delivering 345 Nm of torque, it is tuned for a maximum delivery of 213 kW. This is further complimented by a powerful electric motor and high voltage battery to boost total system output to 252kW. The electric motor also adds a further 275 Nm for impressive response.The drivetrain is coupled with an E-CVT continuously variable gearbox and special F-Sport dynamic mechanical enhancements. Trim and equipment enhancements set this model apart.
  • GS 450h SE, with the same drivetrain combination as the F-Sport model, but with an ultra-comprehensive standard specification grade, the ultimate in luxury.

Viewed from the front, the Spindle Grille with its trapezoidal contours – set to be a signature feature on all future Lexus models – integrates into the aggressive front bumper to allow for efficient aerodynamics. It sets the scene for the sporty overtones of this new luxury sedan. As a distinctive Lexus design feature, combined with the deep-set, high-tech headlamps and L-shaped LED daytime running lamps (DRLs), the grille expresses the GS's confident and dynamic character. As complement, the headlamps with its projector beam design add a strong, chiselled appearance – not to mention excellent illumination.

Lexus GS 450h Rear

The chassis and suspension – agility is key

In developing the new GS, the Lexus team of engineers strived to create an "emotionally intriguing driving experience". This philosophy was central to the development of all aspects of the new GS.

For design and dynamic inspiration, the engineering team looked to the Lexus LFA supercar. The end result is a luxury sports sedan that is more driver-focused than ever before, delivering a far more engaging and dynamic driving experience.

The GS's new platform is more rigid. Engineers conducted extensive testing, ultimately increasing the number of spot welds and adding laser welds in very specific locations to increase rigidity. The wider track – by 40 mm at the front and 50 mm at the rear – works in combination with a revised suspension design to help ensure a more solid stance and superior cornering performance.

In the front, the double-wishbone suspension's upper and lower control arms are made from aluminium and employ larger bushings. The rear sub-frame has been completely redesigned to accommodate an all-new multi-link suspension incorporating improved suspension geometry that helps retain tyre cornering force and enhances rear control. With the stiffer platform and lighter components, the shocks can use lighter-viscosity oil. This way it can move easily and respond to small inputs more quickly.

The use of front and rear aluminium control arms helps reduce unsprung weight and results in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision. Overall, the suspension is lighter and stronger, allowing it to react to driver input readily, and ride quietly without harshness.

The F-Sport suspension ensures even more agility. It features a retuned suspension with firmer springs, an adaptive variable damping system, thicker anti-roll bars, a variable gear ratio steering system, bushing changes and larger front brakes with high-friction brake pads.

Ventilated disc brakes featuring four-piston aluminium front callipers boast the latest electronic enhancements to help provide braking balance and control. On the GS 450h, its Electronically Controlled Braking system characteristics have been modified to provide greater responsiveness from the first touch of the pedal.

The GS 250, GS 350 and GS 450h SE feature as standard 18-inch alloy wheels paired with 235/45 tyres, while the GS 450h F-Sport comes with a 235/40 R19 tyre and rim combination at the front and 265/35 R19s at the rear.

Safety and security features

Compared to the previous-generation Lexus GS, significant advances have been made in both passive and active safety systems as standard equipment.

All GS models – except the GS 250, which has eight – are equipped with 10 airbags, including a knee airbag for both driver and front passenger. Outboard rear seats have seat-mounted side airbags (not on the GS 250). All models have full-length side curtain airbags.

New Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats reduce the space between the occupant's head and headrest to help limit excessive head movement and help decrease the severity of whiplash-type injuries in certain types of rear end collisions.

Other standard safety equipment on all GS models includes ABS, BAS, EBD, EPS, VSC and TRC.

Exterior design – all about dynamics

From the front to the rear, the new Lexus GS is all-new and fuses distinctive style with engineering functionality. As first seen on the CT 200h, the new GS is the next Lexus model to adopt the striking Spindle Grille design language to give it an instantly recognisable identity on the road.

The grille fully integrates into the aggressive front bumper to allow for efficient airflow. Air inlets located on the outer edges of the lower grille serve as cooling ducts. This distinctive Lexus design feature combines with deep-set, high-tech headlamps with a projector beam design and L-shaped LED daytime running lamps (DRLs) to further express the vehicle's dynamic character, which culminates at the rear with a bumper featuring a built-in diffuser and centred aero fins to help control under-body airflow. Combined with the L-shaped LED tail lamps with special fins to enhance aerodynamics, another Lexus design cue, these rear bumper features lend a high-performance appearance.

From the side, the GS projects the image of a spacious performance sedan with a road-hugging stance. The tapered lower door sills and the short front overhang give the GS a sense of motion, while width-enhancing wheel arches add an athletic stance, hinting at its dynamic abilities.

Lexus GS-450h Steering

Interior design – driver focused

Lexus engineers challenged themselves to develop a more spacious interior environment for the new GS. Leaving exterior dimensions virtually unchanged, they increased cabin and boot space to create a richly appointed interior to transport passengers and their luggage in comfort.

Painstaking attention to detail has been applied to the GS cabin to create a balance of luxury, technological amenity and emotional design. Focused around the driver and the driving experience, it provides more space for all occupants, increasing the comfort of both front and rear passengers.

The new layout of the long, sculpted dash gives the driver and front passenger a sense of roominess through its clean centre stack and large, high-resolution display screen. Most of the comfort and convenience controls such as audio and climate are relocated to provide a cleaner and more sophisticated dash layout.

Attention to detail, such as changing the steering column angle from 23 to 21 degrees, and redesigning the seat frame, enabled engineers to improve the driver's seating position for increased comfort, better forward visibility and overall command of the road.

Designers modified the roof shape by employing techniques on the front pillars to help increase the driver's field of vision. These changes allow the driver to concentrate more on driving while reducing stress and fatigue. Equal attention has been paid to maximising space for rear passengers. The new GS has more headroom, knee room, leg room and foot space than the previous-generation GS.

Revised door openings offer easier entry and exit all round. Boot access is improved with a wider, deeper opening. Luggage capacity has been increased by almost 25 per cent to easily accommodate four golf bags.

The interior includes a number of embedded premium features as standard equipment. A new energy-saving auto climate control system called S-Flow uses an occupant-detection system to focus airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seated, a first-in-class technology. A next-generation Remote Touch with one-push confirmation is standard on all models and enables smooth, intuitive operation of climate, audio and phone controls as well as use of the navigation system (standard on all models). A standard reversing camera adds security and convenience.

Lexus GS-450h Instruments

The finely crafted interior detail is complemented by ambient lighting that unobtrusively welcomes and guides the user into the vehicle, providing a carefully designed experience. White LED lights are sequentially lit to illuminate the areas around the doors, centre console and foot wells.

A new analogue clock with LED indicators, carved from a single ingot of aluminium for a smooth consistent look, adds a unique retro-modern touch to the centre of the dash. The clock illuminates when the vehicle is unlocked, welcoming driver and passengers into the classy cabin of the GS.

Central to the driver interface is the world's first 12.3-inch Electro Multi Vision (EMV) display screen, the focal point of the GS interior. This impressive display screen is augmented by a new generation multimedia interface system with many improvements over the previous version.

It combines with a second-generation Remote Touch Interface, which has been redesigned and enhanced to increase ease of use. The new system features a slide-type control. The Enter-command, previously performed by the two Enter buttons mounted on the side, is now performed by clicking down on the haptic device, similar to a conventional computer mouse and thus more intuitive to use.

The Drive Mode Select control, which falls easily to hand next to the gear shift lever, allows the driver to choose between three (and on F-Sport, four) different dynamic modes depending on the driving conditions and the driver's mood. ECO, NORMAL and SPORT modes are available on all models, while SPORT+ mode is available on the GS 450h F-Sport only to activate the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and allow tailoring of the engine, gearbox and suspension settings.

Standard equipment

Apart from the comprehensive list of safety equipment, the new GS leaves no stone unturned to provide its driver and passengers with the last word in luxury, comfort and refinement.

All models with EX grade specification – the GS 250 and GS 350 – come with the following as standard:

  • HID (High Intensity Discharge) auto headlights with auto levelling and washers
  • DRLs (Daytime Running Lights)
  • Front fog lights
  • Retractable and heated side mirrors
  • Rain sensing intermittent wipers
  • Leather interior with piano black trim detail
  • Seat Heating and Ventilation System for driver and passenger with 10-way electric adjustment and two-way lumbar support adjustment
  • Smart entry and start system (driver, passenger and boot)
  • Tilt/telescopic leather steering wheel with multifunction controls
  • 12-speaker Lexus Premium Sound System with MP3/USB/iPod integration
  • EMV display with HDD navigation with traffic data and voice command
  • Drive Mode Select (Eco, Normal and Sport)
  • Reverse camera and guidance monitor
  • Park Distance Control
  • Dual-zone automatic air conditioning with pollen filter
  • Bluetooth with voice command
  • Cruise control
  • Electro-chromatic rear view mirror

The F-Sport package as standard on the GS 450h F-Sport includes the following over and above the EX trim pack:

  • F-Sport front bumper
  • Boot spoiler
  • Aluminium interior trim
  • 16-way adjustable Sport seats with 4-way lumbar support
  • Drive Mode Select with Sport S+
  • Rear window blind

The SE specification grade – only available on the GS 450h – adds the following as standard over and above the EX trim pack:

  • Moonroof
  • Three-zone climate control
  • 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system
  • 18-way electric adjustment with driver and passenger memory and four-way lumbar support adjustment
  • Walnut wood trim
  • Semi-aniline seat trim
  • Side mirrors with Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) function
  • Rear and side window blinds

Judged purely on the merits of the standard specification included in every new GS model, there is no denying the fact that Lexus has surpassed its own high standards it has previous set in this class.

The engine line-up

Right from launch, three engines are available on the new Lexus GS range, each offering a unique character. The 2.5-litre V6 in the GS 250 offers smooth and comfortable cruising whilst delivering good fuel economy. The GS 350 combines the acclaimed 3.5-litre V6 with the dynamic chassis of the GS to create a vehicle that delivers both a smooth, refined drive and a sporty and engaging character when called upon. In the GS 450h, the proven Performance Hybrid technology creates a fusion of petrol and electric power resulting in unmatched refinement with rapid acceleration, excellent fuel economy and low CO2 emissions.

Technical and performance summary

Model GS 250 GS350 GS 450h GS 450h F-Sport
Engine type   2500 cm³ V6 3456 dm³ 3456 dm³ Hybrid V6 with electric motor and battery 3456 dm³ Hybrid V6 with electric motor and battery
Max power   154 kW @ 6400 rpm 233 kW @ 6400 rpm 213 kW @ 6000 rpm (252 kW total system output) 213 kW @ 6000 rpm (252 kW total system output)
Max torque   253 Nm @ 4800 rpm 378 Nm @ 4800 rpm 345 Nm + 275 Nm 345 Nm + 275 Nm
0-100 km/h 8.8 secs 6.3 secs 6.1 secs 6.1 secs
Gearbox   6-speed auto 6-speed auto e-CVT e-CVT
Consumption (combined)   8.9 ℓ /100 km 9.4 ℓ/100 km 6.2 ℓ/100 km 6.2 ℓ/100 km
CO2 (comb.) 215 g/km 223 g/km 139 g/km 139 g/km

The GS 250 – affordable entry to the luxury class

Leaving nothing to be desired in terms of its overall luxury specification, nor superior performance combined with commendable economy figures, the GS 250 is at the forefront of technology when it comes to offering a desirable, thoroughly modern and up-to-date sedan. Power and overall performance from the 2.5-litre Dual VVT-i V6 engine with D-4S direct port injection, mated to a six-speed ECT-i automatic gearbox with sequential manual shift function and selectable drive modes, all combine to ensure that it outperforms its competitors in the desirability stakes.

The ECT-i sequential gearbox has been engineered to deliver faster shift speeds, earlier torque converter lock-up and downshift throttle blips, complimenting the range of different drive modes – Eco, Normal and Sport – available through the GS 250's Drive Mode Select System.

In addition to the Normal mode, the following settings allow the driver to customise the driving experience:

  • ECO mode revises throttle mapping, seat heating and climate control systems for better fuel economy. In ECO mode, meter lighting changes to blue.
  • SPORT mode revises throttle mapping and gear-shift priorities to fully exploit the capabilities of the powertrain and provide a more engaging driving experience. In SPORT mode, meter lighting changes to red.

Its standard EX specification grade – which includes 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlamps and windscreen wipers, LED daytime running lights and rear-view camera with parking guidance, to single out but some of the comprehensive equipment – sets the tone for the entry-model in die GS range to be more than just another luxury car.

Seen against it price versus those of competitors, it provides unbeatable value and an attainable entry into the premium segment of the medium-size luxury sedan class. For that reason, the GS 250 is expected to be one of the most popular models in the GS range.

The GS350

The GS 350 is powered by an advanced 3.5-liter V6 engine with four cams and four valves per cylinder, and with dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i). With 233 kW on tap and with an Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i), it is one of the most powerful engines in the segment as well as the only one with both port and direct injection.

As on the GS 250, the GS 350 comes with a six-speed sequential-shift automatic gearbox with paddle shifters and Drive Mode selector to select sporting functions for enhanced driving pleasure.

The GS450h – much-improved economy and performance

The new GS 450h incorporates improvements to its hybrid powertrain and is equipped with a second-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system.

The GS 450h was the first hybrid-powered luxury sport sedan to enter the market when it was introduced for the first time in 2007. Today, it is part of a five-vehicle hybrid line-up in the Lexus range, more individual offerings than from any other luxury brand.

Despite an increase in overall power delivery, fuel consumption is improved by more than 35 per cent compared to the previous GS 450h. It boasts lower emissions than clean diesels. For enhanced driving dynamics, the new GS hybrid also features the Drive Mode selector with Normal, Eco and Sport modes, but also adds an EV-only (Electric Vehicle) mode.

Like all other Lexus hybrid vehicles, the new GS 450h is a full hybrid capable of operating in petrol-only or electric-only modes, as well as a combination of both. Its Lexus Hybrid Drive system features an ultra-smooth running, next generation D-4S direct and port fuel injection system with an Atkinson cycle 3.5-litre V6 engine mated to a compact, high-output, water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor powered by a high performance nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The two powerplants drive the rear wheels both independently and in tandem, as needed.

Improved fuel consumption is achieved through a high compression ratio of 13:1, a new mid-port intake tumble generator and the adoption of a Lexus four-stroke, direct injection technology,

D-4S. With one injector installed in the combustion chamber and a second mounted in the intake port, D-4S combines the strengths of both direct and port injection, realising optimum engine efficiency throughout the power band and improving torque across the rev range, while minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.

The D-4S system features new slit-type injector nozzles with a modified port shape, a higher fuel pressure for more efficient combustion, and idle port injection for improved NVH characteristics. The cooling performance of the hybrid system's Power Control Unit (PCU) helps reduce fuel consumption and has been improved through the adoption of dual cooling paths and a single-piece, integrated DC converter.

System control has also been enhanced. The PCU boosts motor drive voltage to a maximum 650V in Sport mode and limits it to a maximum of 500V in Eco mode under normal driving conditions where maximum output is not required. The motor is driven at lower voltage to provide a more environmentally-advanced driving performance to ensure enhanced fuel efficiency.

The 450h F-Sport – for a more sporting experience

The F-Sport trim, available only on the GS 450h, features a new and unique front bumper design with larger side grilles. Together with a dedicated mesh design for the upper and lower grilles, this gives the GS 450h F-Sport a stronger appearance, reinforcing its wider track and sportier stance.

The F-Sport package includes a unique rear bumper design and a rear spoiler and – exclusive to this model – dark metallic-finish 19-inch alloy wheels with a staggered width front and rear that not only adds to the sportier look but also improves the car's traction.

The GS F-Sport has retuned front and rear suspension, supported by Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) to maximise body control and steering response, so improving overall vehicle agility.

The front and rear shock absorbers have been modified to optimise AVS damping control. The use of low viscosity oil improves their efficiency by reducing friction. In addition, the rear shock absorbers have been inclined further to the rear. The lower bushings have been made larger and stiffer. Together these modifications maximise the AVS's control of body roll and, hence, improve response to steering inputs for a more engaging drive.

AVS allows the driver to fine tune the GS's ride with a choice of two damper settings: Normal, for everyday driving, and Sport+, for greater body control and precise responses to steering when cornering.

AVS reacts to driver inputs, movement of the vehicle body and road surface conditions, activating the adjustable damping force of the shock absorbers to automatically adapt suspension performance at all four wheels independently.

Switching on the Sport+ mode – a setting only available on the F-Sport – automatically increases the difference between inner and outer shock absorber damping when driving through corners, further reducing vehicle roll. At the same time, the Variable Gear Ratio Steering automatically reduces the steering gear ratio by about 10 per cent, while the Electric Power Steering increases steering assist torque by about four per cent.

The F-Sport's trump card is the Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) system, the first on a hybrid car, with Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS). This new, leading-edge technology offers Lexus' first integration of DRS, Electric Power Steering and Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS). Monitoring vehicle speed, steering direction and driver inputs, the system calculates the optimum angle for all four wheels. Using VGRS in the front and DRS in the rear, the system can independently manage both front and rear wheel steering angles to help improve turn-in response, rear grip, vehicle control and overall agility when cornering, all the while making the best possible use of the Anti-lock Braking System, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and AVS.

The LDH system monitors vehicle speed and yaw rate, steering angle and speed, and lateral G to calculate the required rear wheel steering input, to a maximum rear wheel angle of 2.0 degrees. At most speeds below 80 km/h the front and rear wheels turn in opposite directions. In certain conditions at speeds over 80 km/h the front and rear wheels turn in the same direction.

Further coordinating the Dynamic Rear Steering with the Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Electric Power Steering, the Lexus Dynamic Handling system will automatically adjust the tuning of the adaptive suspension and the active safety systems to suit the road conditions, vehicle speed and driving style.

All GS F-Sport models are fitted with larger, 356 x 30 mm ventilated front disc brakes. In a world-first design, the section of the braking system's two-piece rotor is made of aluminium, which reduces weight and suppresses heat deformation.

All combined, the engine and drive technologies incorporated in the new Lexus GS range ensures that its sets a benchmark as the best driver's car in this class.

Lexus GS pricing

  • GS 250 EX R494 400
  • GS 350 EX R564 900
  • GS 450h F-Sport R753 700
  • GS 450h SE R771 700

As with the rest of the Lexus range, all models in the GS range are covered by a four-year/100 000 km warranty. EX models are fitted with a Distance Plan Plus with the F-Sport and SE models being fitted with Distance Plan Complete. For more information or to arrange a drive experience, visit www.lexus.co.za, call 08611 LEXUS