Not among the brand’s best-sellers, the 2020 Lexus GS is probably headed for extinction. In the past two years, Lexus has stripped away its base grade and its hybrid version. Moreover, the carmaker hasn’t made any significant enhancements to the remaining grades. That doesn’t bode well for the GS nameplate’s future.
Having said that, the GS remains a capable competitor in its class. It’s Lexus luxury at its finest. Roomy and loaded with technology, the GS is still a smart pick in the midsize luxury sedan arena. Lexus might not be making any improvements, but it’s not jacking up the prices, either. Base pricing is up only marginally for 2020.
What’s New for 2020?
For the second year in a row, the only change Lexus made to the GS is to eliminate a trim level. This time the victim is the base GS 300 grade and its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. See the 2020 Lexus GS models for sale near you
What We Like
- Exceptionally pleasant, high-end interior
- Genuinely sporty handling
- Plenty of technology
- Executive-class back seat
What We Don’t
- Infotainment system interface not particularly intuitive
The GS 350 uses a 3.5-liter V6 engine that develops 311 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. Fuel consumption for the rear-wheel drive version is 20 miles per gallon in the city, 28 miles per gallon on the highway and 23 miles per gallon in combined driving, or 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined in the F Sport guise. GS 350s with all-wheel drive achieve 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.
An 8-speed automatic transmission switches the cogs in the RWD GS 350. 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 engine endowed with 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. It’s linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission, driving the rear wheels. Fuel consumption is 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined. Lexus claims the F can go from 0-to-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Lexus GS sedan is offered in GS 350 and GS F trim levels. All prices include the $1,025 factory destination charge.
The GS 350 trim ($52,120 RWD, $52,090 AWD) comes with 18-in alloy wheels and real leather upholstery (except on the AWD version, on which it’s included in the $1,760 Premium package). Also standard are 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, a navigation system, Bluetooth capability and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with DVD audio capability, satellite radio, auxiliary input and iPod/USB connectivity.
Available on the GS 350, the enthusiast-oriented F Sport package ($1,365 RWD, $3,440 AWD) adds 19-in wheels, variable-ratio steering, exterior styling revisions, bigger front brakes (RWD only), sport-tuned adaptive dampers, sport seats, a 16-way power driver’s seat with adjustable side bolsters and special interior materials.
Additional options include an adaptive suspension, a head-up display, a power-closing trunk lid, 18-way multicontour power front seats, semi-aniline perforated leather upholstery, heated rear seats, the Lexus Enform Remote service, a power sunshade and a 17-speaker, 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system.
The RWD-only V8-powered GS F trim ($86,035) has almost everything as standard, including an adaptive suspension, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, 19-in alloys and a quad sport exhaust system. The only available options are the Mark Levinson audio system and a color head-up display.
Trunk space amounts to 18.4 cu ft in the regular GS 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.
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+ 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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash-tested the GS, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 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 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 transmission (RWD only) helps the engine stay in its sweet spot during acceleration, but it also contributes to the 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 input.
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 that the ride quality wasn’t sufficiently refined. Beyond that, the GS F delivers a driving experience that will bring a smile to the face of even the most jaded enthusiast.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Acura RLX — Well equipped.
2020 BMW 5 Series — The benchmark for the class.
2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class — One of the best, and loaded with advanced technology.
Tastes and budgets will differ, but any GS is a solid choice. Find a Lexus GS for sale