All-new for 2006, the Lexus GS 300 and GS 430 move into their third generation. Changes include new engines and transmissions, a new all-wheel-drive model, new suspension, and new standard and optional features.

The GS 300 is now available as Lexus’ first all-wheel-drive car (a rear-wheel-drive version is still available); the 430 receives Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system, a stability system which corrects lateral movement and includes variable gear ratio steering; the 300 receives a new V6 engine to replace the inline six of 2005; both models receive a new six-speed automatic transmission with sequential manual shift mode, replacing the five-speed automatic of 2005; the 430 includes adaptive variable suspension to allow fine-tuned suspension damping to one of four settings; all models receive new electric power steering and keyless pushbutton start; and new optional equipment includes adaptive front lighting and a DVD-based navigation system with backup camera.

The models are named for their engines: the GS 300 uses a 3.0-litre V6, while the GS 430 uses a 4.3-litre V8.

Features on the GS 300 RWD and AWD models include power tilt wheel with memory, dual automatic climate control, CD/cassette with ten speakers and wheel-mounted controls, heated leather seats with driver and passenger memory positions, auto up/down on all windows, outside temperature gauge, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, power-folding auto-dimming exterior mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, high intensity discharge headlights with auto-levelling system and washers, fog lamps, driver and passenger knee airbags and first-aid kit.

The GS 430 adds Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, variable gear ratio steering, 18-inch alloy wheels, larger-diameter front brake discs, premium illuminated entry system, water-repellent door glass, and power sunroof.

Positioned between the ES and LS, the GS becomes a sports sedan across its line with the introduction of the new V6 engine. The six-speed transmission is well-matched to both powerplants, and the available all-wheel-drive provides improved grip on dry roads and better handling in our notorious Canadian winters. Interiors are very well done, braking systems are sharp and responsive, and handling is among the best in this segment. Driver and front passenger benefit from a knee-mounted airbag system, too. Lexus says to expect a hybrid version, possibly next year.

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