My time with the Lexus GS 200t was all too short.
The latest incarnation of the mid-sized saloon is silky smooth and filled with technological innovations that make it great to drive. Attention to detail is extremely high, as one would expect from Lexus.
The clock, for example, with its elegant analogue display, is kept precisely accurate automatically by the GPS. Automotive clocks are generally as awkward to set as they are irritating when wrong, so this is an elegant solution in every sense.
The new 2-litre turbo engine delivers 180kW and 380Nm, giving the GS 200t decent performance. Lexus have fitted a turbo boost monitor and I found myself regularly consulting it, if only because it fascinated me to see how much the boost pressure varied and how quickly it changed.
Lexus claim 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 230km/h.
In the GS 350 F-Sport, the 3.5-litre V6 is retained and is also paired with the eight-speed automatic gearbox. The V6’s combination of direct fuel injection and additional port fuel injectors allow it to sprint from 0-100km/h in 6 seconds before reaching a top speed of 235km/h, according to Lexus.
Lexus gave the GS models new multimedia for 2015 and now, for 2016, the available 12.3-inch screen gains full-screen map capability for navigation.
Other multimedia changes include enhanced voice recognition and graphics. The screen can split into two sections to show different functions, such as navigation, audio and climate control information.
New side “enter” buttons on the Remote Touch Interface controller and shortcut menu on the side of the screen make it even easier to operate climate control, audio, phone, navigation and more.
There is a larger 4.2-inch multi-information display between the dials that puts vital vehicle data in the driver’s line of sight. The high quality of both the ride and handling is made possible by a front suspension in the form of double wishbones with highmount upper arms, coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers, while the rear suspension boasts a multi-link with coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers and stabiliser bar.
Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) with driver selectable shock absorber damping is standard on the F-Sport. The double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension on the updated GS have a new coil spring calibration. The shape of the free piston in the conventional and AVS damper units has been optimised to improve response.
The front stabiliser bar shape and characteristics have also been refined.
The GS’s underbody aerodynamics have been improved by positioning the bottom edge of the front bumper 10mm further forward, to adjust the volume of air passing under the floor. Lexus has paid strict attention to optimising body strength and rigidity in the GS to achieve high levels of crashworthiness and durability, as well as lower interior noise levels.
The new GS body has an additional 188 points of spot-welding to the frame to optimise panel-coupling rigidity – focusing on the cowl, the junction of the rocker panels and B pillar and the rear shelf.
Coupling panel rigidity has been further boosted by increased use of body adhesive. The new GS body has an additional 22.5m of body adhesive.
The rear of the cabin has more laser welding points, and the door surrounds have an additional 132 laser-screw welding points compared with the current body.
A performance damper has been adopted between the left and right front number two members on the GS 200t EX and GS 350 F-Sport, to reduce vibration and increase stability.
The GS Line upper-cowl area has been further refined by adding sound-absorbing material to enhance cabin quietness.
Aesthetically, the front end has been restyled with a bolder Lexus spindle grille and Bi-LED headlights, and revised tail lamps and rear bumper treatments.
Reinforcing the overall roominess of the interior, the clean horizontal sweep of the dashboard has been emphasised by the adoption of a more dynamic shape to new, fullwidth metal ornamentation.
This anchors redesigned air vents and a new analogue clock.
Below the centre console instrumentation features a new, high-end audio panel with milled aluminium knobs, while the climate control section adopts a new, high-contrast, Electro Luminescent Display (ELD) for improved visibility of temperature settings to the GS’s three-zone air-conditioning system.
Further trim enhancements include new high-prestige metal ornamentation to the gear shift lever, steering wheel, air vents, door handles and switchgear.
The seat upholstery features a new design incorporating a horizontally quilted back panel and a new side stitching pattern.
Lexus’s philosophy is to provide a vehicle that already has pretty much everything you would want, so that the price you see is the price you pay, unless you negotiate a discount of course.
The new GS is no exception and also comes standard with features galore – including Drive Mode Select – and a host of standard driver support systems.
Both GS models come with a service plan of four years/100 000km and a standard Lexus Distance Plan Plus.