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2019 Lexus GS Review

Mimicking European rivals in performance and panache, the 2019 Lexus GS combines terrific build quality with a sporty suspension and aggressive driving dynamics. Accusations of being boring have been lobbed toward Lexus since it first elbowed its way into the luxury club in the late 1980s. Well, the GS is a model capable of shutting up those detractors. The suspension could easily have "Stuttgart" stamped on its components.

A settled ride, a quiet environment and a carefully crafted cabin should satisfy the tastes of most luxury owners. This midsize luxury sedan can hold its own pulling up to the red carpet or attacking the twisties. It’s not the quickest in its class nor, quite frankly, the best looking, but it has a lot going for it, including solid resale value.

What’s New for 2019?

Lexus terminated the hybrid GS 450h for 2019. Otherwise, the GS is unchanged. Although, Lexus Enform Remote (smart watch and Amazon Alexa skill integration) is a new option. See the 2019 Lexus GS models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Exceptionally pleasant interior
  • Genuinely sporty handling
  • Plenty of technology
  • Executive-class back seat

What We Don’t

  • Acceleration in the smaller engine isn’t as punchy as comparable setups in other high-end sport sedans
  • Infotainment system interface not particularly intuitive

How Much?

$47,735-$85,445

Fuel Economy

The rear-wheel-drive-only GS 300 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving. The F Sport variant returns 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined.

The GS 350 uses a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Fuel consumption for the RWD version is 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined, or 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined in F Sport guise. All-wheel-drive GS 350 models achieve 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

Both the GS 300 and the RWD GS 350 have an 8-speed automatic transmission. The AWD GS 350 has a 6-speed automatic transmission.

For a lot more power, the GS F (not to be confused with the F Sport) has a 5.0-liter V8 endowed with 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. It’s linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels. Fuel consumption is 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Lexus GS sedan is offered in GS 300, GS 350 and GS F trim levels. All prices include factory destination charge.

The GS 300 ($47,735) starts out with 17-in alloys, LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless entry with push-button ignition, a rearview camera, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, 10-way power front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, driver’s-side memory functions, drive mode selection, self-dimming rearview and side mirrors, ambient lighting, wood trim, a trip computer with color TFT display, a 12.3-in infotainment screen with Remote Touch controller, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, Bluetooth and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with DVD audio capability, satellite radio, auxiliary input and iPod/USB connectivity.

The GS 350 ($52,120) comes with the V6, 18-in alloy wheels and real leather upholstery (except for the 2019 base AWD, which gets synthetic leather and is therefore less expensive at $51,790. You can add the leather back in for an additional $1,700.).

The V8-powered GS F ($85,445) has almost everything as standard, including an adaptive suspension, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, 19-in alloys and a quad sport exhaust system.

Additional options include adaptive suspension, a head-up display, a power-closing trunk lid, 18-way multi-contour power front seats, semi-aniline perforated leather upholstery, heated rear seats, Lexus Enform Remote, a power sunshade and a 17-speaker/835-watt Mark Levinson audio system.

Available on every GS grade, the enthusiast-oriented F Sport package adds 19-in wheels, variable-ratio steering, exterior styling revisions, bigger front brakes (RWD only), sport-tuned adaptive dampers, sport seats, 16-way power driver’s seat with adjustable side bolsters and special interior materials.

Trunk space amounts to 18.4 cu ft. in the regular GS, 15.9 cu ft. in the hybrid, and (according to Lexus) 14 cu ft. in the GS F. The rear seats don’t split and fold, which might be occasionally irritating, although there is a pass-through hatch.

Safety

The GS comes with stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and 10 airbags (front, front-side, front-knee, rear-side and full-length side curtain). The Lexus Safety System Plus is also standard, bringing adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, active lane-keeping and intelligent high beams.

The government has not crash-tested the GS, but the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the car its highest rating of Good in every category.

Behind the Wheel

The cabin is unmistakably upscale, from the supple dashboard materials with contrast stitching to the exquisite perforated leather trim in fancier models. The back seat is another win. With ample legroom, excellent support and a sleek, business-class feel, the rear quarters make the GS as satisfying to ride in as it is to drive.

The standard V6 has been a longstanding fixture in the GS engine bay, but it’s still a gem, delivering direct-injected thrust with vigor and refinement. The 8-speed automatic (RWD only) helps the engine stay in its sweet spot during acceleration, but also contributes to decent fuel economy.

At speed, the GS has the confident, controlled attitude that sets great luxury sport sedans apart. The steering feels artificial, but it’s highly responsive to driver inputs.

This is a long car, so it seems less at home in tight corners. Body roll is kept nicely in check, especially with the F Sport’s sport-tuned adaptive dampers and rear-steering feature. Nonetheless, even the F Sport retains a pleasantly supple ride on imperfect pavement, although the base model is more compliant. The optional non-sport-tuned adaptive dampers make it smoother still. Road and wind noise are virtually non-existent.
The GS F’s adaptive suspension fixes a driving complaint, where the ride quality wasn’t sufficiently refined.

Lexus claims the F can go from 0-to-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That’s only fractionally slower than a Chevrolet Corvette.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Acura RLX — Well equipped.

2019 BMW 5 Series — The benchmark for the class.

2019 Cadillac CTS — Ready, willing, able and American.

2019 Mercedes-Benz E-Class — One of the best and loaded with advanced technology.

Used Audi A8 — At this level, there are all sorts of intriguing alternatives. If style and space are paramount, check out a certified pre-owned (CPO) A8.

Autotrader’s Advice

Tastes and budgets will differ, but any GS is a solid choice. Find a Lexus GS for sale

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