2004 GS 300 New Car Test Drive
The Lexus GS 300 and GS 430 combine the sharp driving dynamics of a sports sedan with the luxury, refinement and quality we've come to expect from Toyota's luxury division. Rear-wheel drive, a four-wheel double-wishbone independent suspension, and a luxurious cabin are the key ingredients to this formula.
With its 300-horsepower V8 engine, the GS 430 is an exciting sports sedan that gobbles real estate and clings to the road in high-speed sweepers. The GS 300, meanwhile, purrs along with one of the smoothest six-cylinder engines in the class. Both are big, sophisticated luxury sedans that whisk four people along in leather-and-wood-trimmed comfort.
They offer a nice balance between smooth ride and responsive handling and are perhaps the smoothest cars in their class. The steering is light for easy maneuverability when parking, but provides the driver with reassuring feedback on the highway. Fast and comfortable, these are great cars for long trips and for commuting on harsh, busy highways.
The Lexus GS sedans have no peers for interior luxury and smooth ride. The interiors are wonderful, warm and pleasant in ambieance with light hues of buttery leather and rich wood. The controls are a study in ergonomic excellence, elegantly designed and easy to understand and operate. The back seats are among the most comfortable in the class.
Lexus continues to deliver some of the best quality in the industry and its GS sedans are no exception. The GS 300 and GS 430 were ranked first in their class, the mid-size luxury segment, in the May 2003 Initial Quality Study by J.D. Power and Associates.
The Lexus GS series comes in two versions: the six-cylinder GS 300 ($38,725) and the V8-powered GS 430 ($47,825).
GS 300 is powered by a high-output, 220-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-6. GS 300 comes standard with cloth upholstery and automatic climate control with filtration and deodorization. Leather upholstery is optional ($1,660) and comes with a memory system.
GS 430 comes with a 4.3-liter double overhead-cam V8 that produces 300 horsepower. GS 430 also comes standard with perforated leather upholstery; memory for the driver's seat, outside mirrors and steering column; and high-intensity discharge headlights.
Both models are equipped with a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, but the GS 300 also features E-Shift manual controls on the spokes of the steering wheel.
Options include a navigation package ($2,000) and a superb Mark Levinson audio system ($1,250).
Safety features that come standard for both models include Vehicle Stability Control, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, traction control, dual frontal airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front-seat passenger, and seat belts with pretensioners and force limiters.The GS models also come standard with side curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger, very important because curtain airbags can provide protection for the head and upper body in side impacts.