Mike Hatton: Over the past decade, Lexus seemed to have lost its edge. While the competition got more exciting and fun to drive, Toyota's luxury brand had gone bland.
Mike: One look at the front end is all it takes to get the GS. It looks mean! And it comes standard with bi-xenon headlights and those bold LED running lights.
Angelina: You can opt for the Luxury package with low-beam headlights that pivot to light turns or one of the two F Sport packages with a black mesh front upper grille, that nasty-looking lower front grille, bigger brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Mike: Inside, the attention to detail is unbelievable. From the fit and finish to the stitching of the leather, this is definitely up to the standard of the competition.
Angelina: Now, for whatever reason, Lexus still won't put an actual touchscreen in here, but with the F Sport packages and Luxury and Premium packages, you get this massive 12.3-inch LCD split screen.
Mike: It's controlled by this mouselike joystick system called Remote Touch and is incredibly easy to use, but I can't get over the feeling that a simple touchscreen would have done the trick.
Angelina: Still, other worthwhile features included with all the packages are a 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, Intuitive Parking Assist and Lexus's Enform system.
Mike: Enform is a collection of apps that use your smartphone to access the Web. You can play Pandora streaming music, make dinner reservations, even search the Internet and buy movie tickets.
If the styling wasn't enough to convince you that the GS can take on the German brands, spend some time behind the wheel! It's a blast to drive.
Angelina: We're testing the rear-wheel-drive GS with Premium package, but for even better handling, you can get the F Sport model with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. It features a Sport S Plus drive mode that adjusts the suspension and makes steering response even faster!
Mike: That F Sport model is as good, if not better, than the 5 Series at taking corners, but this Premium version is no slouch, either.
Angelina: Now, the GS no longer offers a V8, but the V6 makes a more than adequate 306 horsepower sent through a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Mike: That's up 3 horsepower from last year's GS, and it gets better fuel economy, too!
Angelina: Just click the drive mode selector to Eco mode, and it'll top out at 28 miles per gallon highway in the rear-wheel-drive model, and 26 highway if you opt for all-wheel drive.
Mike: Base MSRP for the GS is $46,900 - now, that's not a dollar more than the previous model. So you get more power, better fuel economy and the same price.
Angelina: Go for an all-wheel-drive GS with the Premium package, and you're looking at spending around $55,000. In most cases, those prices are a couple thousand less than the German competition.
Mike: So it looks like Lexus has finally woken up and made another exciting car. It handles as well as it looks, and it's priced to compete with some of the best luxury sedans in the world.
Angelina: If the GS is a glimpse of things to come, it looks like the era of bland for Lexus is finally at an end.