Lexus launches a reborn GS in Australia this week, the sharpened sedan spearheading the Japanese brand's assault on the well-guarded fortifications of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
For 2012, the new GS range opens with the entry-level GS 250, followed by the mid-range GS 350 and the top-shelf GS 450h hybrid.
All three models are offered in three trim grades, formed by the 'basic' Luxury variant, the LF-Gh concept-inspired F Sport and the range-topping Sport Luxury grade.
The debut of the GS 250 marks a new entry-level point for the GS family, with power delivered by the same 154kW 2.5 litre V6 found in the smaller IS 250.
Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, Fuel consumption for the GS 250 is listed at 9.3 l/100km on the combined cycle, and CO2 emissions are rated at 215g/km.
Lexus says the GS 250 will dash to 100km/h in a relatively swift 8.6 seconds.
Above the new 250 variant is the GS 350, driven by a 233kW/376Nm 3.5 litre V6 engine, mated to a six-speed sequential transmission.
While the mid-spec GS delivers a good deal more power than the entry 250, fuel consumption is kept to 9.7 l/100km - also bettering the 9.8 l/100km of the outgoing GS300.
The extra oomph gives the GS 350 a much quicker 0-100km/h time, hauling to the ton in 6.0 seconds.
GS 450h - Available from May
Leading the trio is the hybrid-powered GS 450h, pairing an Atkinson-cycle 3.5 litre petrol V6 with the Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive system to deliver a combined 252kW and 362Nm of torque.
The paired powerplants are combined with an Electric CVT transmission to give the new GS 450h a 0-100km/h time of 5.6 seconds. (Note: Australian fuel consumption figures will be released today.)
Moving away from the engines, the new GS is built on the current model's platform but extensively revised, increasing rigidity through more spot welds and laser welds at key points.
There's also a new suspension arrangement, with aluminium upper and lower control-arms helping to reduce unsprung weight, along with larger bushings and a new rear subframe with multilink suspension.
New shock absorbers are also in place, with a lighter-viscosity oil used to bring a faster response time.
The big sedan's handling gains further improvements thanks to an extended track, now 40mm wider at the front and 50mm wider at the rear.
The luxury carmaker has made a point of improving the handling of its new-generation large sedan, adding electric power steering, Adaptive Variable Suspension, Dynamic Rear Steering, Variable Gear Ratio Steering and an overhauled Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system for better traction.
Lexus has also tweaked the F Sport's suspension package, recalibrating the Adaptive Variable Suspension system.
Standard features across the range include a Blind Spot Monitor system, tyre pressure monitoring, eight-sensor parking and clearance system and reversing camera, and adaptive bi-xenon headlights.
Also standard is the new Lexus Remote Touch package, rain-sensing wipers, DAB+ digital radio and Bluetooth audio streaming, satellite navigation with live traffic alerts, and keyless entry.
The entry-level Luxury grade gets 17-inch alloy wheels, Eco/Normal and Sport driving modes, leather accented interior, ventilated and heated front seats, 10-way electric seats with three-position drivers memory, front fog lights, daytime running lights, dual-zone climate control, and self dimming and heated exterior mirrors.
F Sport models pick up sports suspension, Adaptive Variable Suspension, additional Sport+ drive mode, unique interior trim with 16-way driver's sport bucket seats, sports pedals, unique sport body kit and grille, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The F Sport variants also get Lexus Dynamic Handling System with Dynamic Rear Steering, Advanced Pre-Collision safety System with Active Cruise Control, Variable Gear Ratio Steering, larger front two-piece rotor brake package, VDIM Step 5 incorporating DRS and a Head Up Display.
Range-topping Sport Luxury variants add a 12.3-inch multimedia system, Driver Fatigue Monitor with eye detection, Advanced Pre Collision safety System with Active Cruise Control, 20-way adjustable front seats, Head Up Display, 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio, Tri-zone climate control with rear controls and Nanoe technology, Automatic High Beam, semi-aniline leather accents, genuine wood grain trim and side and electric rear window sunshades.
- Luxury - $77,900
- F Sport - $85,900
- Sport Luxury - $99,900
- Luxury - $89,900
- F Sport - $99,900
- Sport Luxury - $109,900
GS 450h - Available from May 2012
- Luxury - $99,900
- F Sport - $111,900
- Sport Luxury - $121,900
Depending on the variant, certain models will also offer a choice of enhancement packs.
GS 250 Luxury models will offer an enhancement pack featuring moonroof and 18-inch alloy wheels. (Total price: $81,900)
GS 250 F Sport models will offer two enhancement packs. The first is the addition of a moonroof (total price: $88,900). The second features PCS, ACC, AHB, HUD and moonroof. (Total price: $91,900)
GS 350 Luxury grades can also be specified with an enhancement pack featuring woodgrain-accented trim, HUD and moonroof (total price: $95,900), while GS 350 F Sport can be specified with optional Mark Levinson audio and 12.3-inch multimedia display. (Total price: $102,900)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price (unless otherwise noted) and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
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