Used Vehicle Review: Lexus GS, 2006 2012  used car reviews reviews luxury cars lexus
2007 Lexus GS 350. Click image to enlarge
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Lexus GS Reviews

Review and photos by Chris Chase

Photo Gallery:
2007 Lexus GS 350

The 2006 GS was the first Lexus to be styled according to the brand’s then-new “L-Finesse” design language; it was the company’s marketing department’s way of saying that all future Lexus vehicles would bear some resemblance to this car.

This car was the third generation of Lexus’ (Toyota’s upscale brand, for anyone not already aware of the connection) mid-range sedan, which slots in between the entry-level IS and ES, and the big LS super-luxury sedan.

The previous-generation GS 300′s 3.0-litre, in-line six-cylinder engine was replaced with a new, direct fuel-injected V6 of the same displacement that made 245 horsepower and 230 lb.-ft. of torque, increases of 20 hp and 5 lb.-ft. over the old engine. The GS 400 was replaced with the GS 430, named for its larger, 4.3-litre V8 engine, which was good for 300 hp and 325 lb.-ft.

Both engines were matched with a six-speed automatic transmission (the only one offered). This car was also Lexus’ first all-wheel drive model, though it was available only with the V6 engine.

Used Vehicle Review: Lexus GS, 2006 2012  used car reviews reviews luxury cars lexus
2007 Lexus GS 350. Click image to enlarge

Standard stuff in the 2006 GS 300 included dual-zone automatic climate control, a ten-speaker stereo with CD and cassette (remember those?) players, heated leather seats with memory function for driver and front passenger, auto up/down windows all around, auto-levelling high-intensity discharge headlights, power-folding auto-dimming side mirrors and driver and passenger knee airbags.

The GS 430 added stability control, variable-ratio steering, 18-inch wheels (up from 17s), bigger front brake discs, illuminated entry and a sunroof.

There were big changes in 2007 with the entry model becoming the GS 350, owing to a new (again?) V6 engine; this time the 3.5-litre motor that has since become ubiquitous throughout the Toyota and Lexus lines. This version of the 3.5 was notable for combining direct and port fuel injection; its 303-hp out-horsed the 4.3-litre V8, whose output had actually dropped to 290 hp (from 300) since the previous year.

The other major update was the addition of a hybrid model, the GS 450h, which became the most powerful GS, with a total of 339 horsepower from its V6 gas engine and electric motor. Gas-only models stuck with the six-speed automatic, while the hybrid used a CVT.

Used Vehicle Review: Lexus GS, 2006 2012  used car reviews reviews luxury cars lexus
2010 Lexus GS 450h; photo by Jil McIntosh. Click image to enlarge

Lexus positioned this hybrid at the top of the GS range, fitting it with standard kit like a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, Mark Levinson 14-speaker stereo (this was optional in the lower models), Bluetooth and navigation, as well as all the items that came standard in the lower-class versions of the car. This was touted (by Lexus, naturally) as the world’s first full hybrid with a front-engine and rear-drive powertrain layout; the next such hybrid didn’t come along until the Porsche Panamera Hybrid was rolled out for 2012.

And the changes didn’t stop there. For 2008, the GS 430 was renamed 460 to reflect its new, 4.6-litre V8 engine, whose 342 horsepower and 339 lb.-ft. handily (and finally) outstripped the 3.5-litre V6′s power figures. The GS 460 also benefitted from an eight-speed automatic transmission (years ahead of its time, apparently, as eight-speeds wouldn’t get trendy until 2011). Lexus also refreshed the GS’ styling, inside and out.

Nothing major changed for 2009. For 2010, though, the GS 460 got standard navigation, and the hybrid GS 450h got a minor styling update. New standard stuff across the line included whiplash-reducing front head restraints, integrated satellite radio and a USB port for the stereo.

Lexus began winding down this third-generation GS in 2011, making all GS 350′s all-wheel drive and dropping the GS 460 entirely.

Used Vehicle Review: Lexus GS, 2006 2012  used car reviews reviews luxury cars lexus
2010 Lexus GS 450h; photo by Jil McIntosh. Click image to enlarge

The GS was discontinued for the 2012 model year; Lexus launched an all-new GS in calendar-year 2012 as a 2013 model.

Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption estimates for the 2006 GS were 10.7/7.8 L/100 km (city/highway) for the rear-drive GS 300, and 11.1/7.8 with all-wheel drive; the GS 430′s numbers were 12.7/8.5.

The 3.5-litre V6 introduced in 2007 was rated 11.0/7.5 in rear-drive models, and 11.6/8.0 when powering all four wheels, and estimates for the 4.6-litre V8 added in 2008 were 12.4/8.1 L/100 km.

Estimates for the hybrid-powered GS 450h were 8.7/7.8 L/100 km.

The GS has, historically, enjoyed a “very good” reliability ranking from Consumer Reports, but that that changed as of 2007. From this year on, CR gives the GS no better than its “average” used vehicle rating, due to a number of common trouble spots.

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