Lexus GS Saloon 1998 - 2004

Lexus GS Saloon 1998 - 2004

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Spacious and very comfortable
  • High level of equipment even with the basic trim
  • A reliable car

Cons:

  • Not as exciting as the German cars with similar engines

Overview

The 2nd generation Lexus GS, just like its predecessor, was based on the made-for-Japan Toyota Aristo. The original car is re-made with American customers in mind (hence the soft suspension), but more and more European drivers are warming up to the large luxury cars, especially as they are offering such a good reliability.

Exterior and Interior

The GS has retained the Lexus' characteristic four-headlamp layout. The body style resembles the original 1989 design by Italdesign, only it has been enhanced by rising the line of the bonnet and the flanks. The new GS is only slightly higher than its predecessor and the impression of a bigger car has been achieved by decreasing the glazed surface and redesigning the mouldings. Even in the basic S trim level (if anyone dares call it basic), the car is equipped with air bags, CD multi-changer, climate control amongst other goodies. The gadget that stands out is the driver seat's and steering column's adjustment with a memory function. When you turn the key, the seat and the steering column readjusts itself according to your own settings. The quality of the interior is excellent, it resembles the older generation GS, but the new model has added more expensive veneer elements. All of the seats are very comfortable.

Performance and Economy

Both engines offer exceptional performance although the Lexus GS is not as sporty as the equivalent BMW or Mercedes models. The V6 engine can accelerate the car to 60mph in around 8 seconds. It may seem like a long time, but the GS is a very heavy car. Mainly because of its weight, the V6 can only deliver 24mpg. The V8 is considerably quicker, it takes just 6.1 seconds for it to reach 60mph and that's with an automatic gearbox. The GS is not available with a manual one. The two engines need servicing within every 9,000 miles. Even if the dealers of Lexus do not charge as much as Mercedes-Benz or Jaguar, they are still very pricey. The independent garages are not cheap either. Even if a GS is reasonably priced to buy, one should not expect the same reasonable costs for running this vehicle.

Like to Drive

It's like an American cruiser built with Japanese precision and quality. The rear suspension is very soft and malleable. It was designed to resemble the ride qualities of large American saloons, but instead it can give your passengers sea-sickness if you attempt driving on bumpy roads. The steering wheel is not as responsive as you'd like, but eventually you will get used to it. Besides, it works precisely and safely. To assist the driver's effort, there are various electronic devices, like the VSC (vehicle stability control), ABS, brakepower distribution and the standard traction control. All of these are important on a heavy rear-wheel drive vehicle. The VSC can be switched off, but as it doesn't interfere with active driving too much it's not advisable. It's a safe car and enjoyable to drive. If you prefer something more solid and don't mind the lack of a BMW's dizzying performance, the GS is a good choice.

Faults and Repairs

As an expensive luxury car, a used Lexus is normally well looked after. The car does need regular servicing and demanding a full service history is a prudent step. Lexus is one of the most reliable car manufacturers in world, but problems occur with any car. The most common issues with the GS are the ABS system that might need replacing and the suspension that due to its softness, soon becomes noisy and loses efficiency.