New Lexus GS – first detailsNew model to make European debut at Frankfurt
23 August 2011
Lexus has revealed an all-new GS model, the Japanese luxury brand's answer to the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-class.
The new Lexus GS promises improvements in every area, although Lexus says particular attention has been paid to the driving experience. And, while the carmaker says there'll be a hybrid and petrol version in 2012, there won't be a diesel option.
What will the Lexus GS be going up against? Find out, in our luxury car reviews
New Lexus GS: better to drive
The new Lexus GS now features a part aluminium body structure that looks wider and lower while also delivering improved aerodynamics.
Despite appearances, however, the new GS is barely larger overall than the car it replaces. A new suspension design with increased front and rear wheel tracks promises greater precision and agility without compromising ride comfort. This is aided by the use of aluminium throughout the car to reduce weight, while additional spot welds also make it more rigid, helping the suspension perform better.
The exterior design is more aggressive, but still clearly Lexus, and specially tweaked for better aerodynamics – notably reworked areas include the finned LED tail lamps and boot. LED daytime running lights dominate the front, keeping the GS on a par with the latest German rivals.
Want to know more about the car it replaces? Read the Which? Car review of the current Lexus GS
Extra space and energy-saving climate control
Although the GS may not have grown much bigger on the outside, Lexus has still managed to increase passenger space front and rear.
New seats help here while redesigned controls with an improved layout reduce clutter and aim to make it easier to find the button you want on the dashboard. Sequentially illuminating LEDs and a range of high quality materials and finishes create the appropriate interior ambience – as does the centrally mounted clock, 'carved from an ingot'.
Other intriguing developments include the new S-Flow climate control system, which reduces energy consumption through the use of occupant-detection to determine the necessary air flow; the doors now offer better access, and boot space is increased by 25%.
Lexus' unusual Remote Touch control infotainment interface makes another appearance here – this next-generation version aiming to redress criticisms of the original. Alterations include one-push confirmation, and Remote Touch is used to operate everything from the climate control to the optional satellite navigation, so we do hope the improvements are palpable.
Ten airbags as standard
As you would expect from a new Lexus there is plenty of technology available.
No less than 10 airbags are fitted as standard, alongside Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats and a new infra-red camera system that monitors the driver's eyes to make sure they're paying attention to the road ahead. If an imminent collision is detected and the driver isn't looking forward a warning will sound; if there's still no reaction the car will automatically apply the brakes two seconds before impact, in an attempt to lessen injury.
Where sat nav is fitted the GS will sport a class-leading 12.3-inch high-resolution screen – apparently so big that mapping an associated information can be displayed at the same time without compromise; an 8-inch screen is standard. Night Vision, Head-Up Display, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Keep Assist with active steering (which will you nudge you back into line), Lane Departure Warning and – of course – a hugely powerful 835-Watt 17-speaker stereo are all also available.
On sale in 2012 as a hybrid, but not a diesel
Following its international debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California, the new Lexus GS makes its first European appearance at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
It is set to go on sale in the UK in 2012; exact specifications are yet to be confirmed, but it will be offered as a GS 450h Hybrid and a GS 250 petrol – so as yet no plans for a diesel version, something that is surely likely to significantly limit European sales.
Further details are promised later in the year.
Until then, read Which? Car reviews of more Lexus models
Follow Which? Car on Twitter
The Which? Car team is on Twitter, to offer you help and advice as and when you need it.
We're monitoring our Twitter account every day, so if you have an account, please send us you thoughts and questions to @whichcar.
Don't worry if you haven't got a Twitter account - you can still stay in the loop by regularly checking www.twitter.com/whichcar.