The GS300 is all about the interior. Buyers of the large Lexus want plush accomodations, a smooth ride and a feeling of value and luxury. That's a tough market to fill and one Lexus has been doing splendidly since it came to the U.S. Now, the new GS300 just builds on that attitude with rich leather, intriguing interior shapes and plenty of gagdets to make it a unique experience, even if drivers might fall asleep along the way.
To me, the big problem with the GS300 is that it?s a bit too smart for its own good. With this key in pocket ignition and door locks, I think I?m becoming absent minded to other things. Like remembering to put the car in park when I pull into a parking space (oops!). The touch screen system for nav, audio, climate and travel information is terrific and reminds me of the Prius? but a bit larger. A touch screen is a vast improvement over systems like BMW?s iDrive or Audi?s MMi. So that?s a plus. But then Lexus crams a bunch of functions into a strange little hidden compartment on the left of the steering wheel, shown here. This is so annoying that I even forget to use the cool side-mirror retracting button because it?s a two step process and is so well hidden. Doh.
Shining through it all is the look of the interior. I?m really amazed by the curves in the leather door panels, how the exterior design lines reoccur on the steering wheel and the completely flat center section. The wood is a dark red that blends in to the black leather well. I still prefer brown woods, but that?s just me. The shifter floats on the flat block of wood finish with a retractable armrest that exposes seat-heater controls and then flips up for two-tiered storage. Very smart.
Even the gauges, in dark brushed metal, seem to resonate with attention paid to detail. Lexus sure spent a lot of time inside the new GS. That may not matter to those who just care about power and performance but to Lexus the real test of this particular model is probably how people feel inside.
Check out Day 1 here.