Lexus GS 300 disappears from 2020 lineup

Rationalizing the lineup comes with slow sales, surging ES

The seven-strong Lexus GS lineup will enter 2020 with only five models in the lineup. Cars Direct found out the entry-level GS 300 will not ring in the new year, the discovery explained by a Lexus spokesperson with, "the GS 300 represented a small percentage of GS sales in 2018." That will leave the standard GS 350 and the GS 350 F Sport, both offered in either rear- or all-wheel drive. With the $47,885 GS 300 out of the game, the price of entry for the range goes up to $52,420 for the GS 350 RWD. That price represents a $150 increase over 2019, and an MSRP of $51,395 plus a $1,025 charge for destination and handling.

Perhaps it's a sign of how much Lexus believes in the sport sedan credentials of the GS 350 that the rear-wheel-drive version currently on sale costs $330 more than the all-wheel-drive model. This is reversed for the F Sport trims, with the GS 350 F Sport AWD needing $1,745 more than version with a driven rear axle only. If pricing differentials hold across the range into 2020, that would make the GS 350 AWD $52,090, the GS 350 F Sport RWD would cost $53,785, and the GS 350 F Sport AWD $55,530.

The GS F, charging along with a 5.0-liter V8 producing 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque sent to the rear wheels only, will run $86,035. That's a $560 bump over the 2019 model year. Since the GS F 10th Anniversary Edition celebrated the tenth anniversary of F performance this year, we don't expect the $89,350 sedan to continue into next year.

The GS has been in the spotlight at Lexus HQ since last summer, when the brand's general manager told Automotive News "we're certainly evaluating both vehicles," speaking of the GS and IS. For next year, the 241-horsepower GS 300 slips off the scene, but one wonders how long even the 311-hp GS 350 can stick around when the entire lineup sold just 6,604 units in the U.S. last year. Sales are down more than 50 percent this year, down from a 2015 high of 23,117. The new ES is just nine horses down on the GS, $7,000 less expensive, and sold 50 percent more units in the U.S. in January than the GS has so far this year. With no news of an updated GS on the way and the ES rumored to add an all-wheel-drive trim for 2020, the GS could have a hard time standing up to business-case scrutiny.

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