It seems like these days Lexus is trying to keep up with the German and British premium brands. However, that would be like Taylor Swift trying to outshine Beyoncé – that’ll never happen. Now working in its fourth year on its fourth generation, the Lexus GS is struggling to find new ways to keep up with said competitors. But, if there is one think going for Lexus, it’s that they got their own thing going for them.
One may say Lexus is taking a step backwards here – but really it’s a step in the right direction. For 2017, not only does the GS receive some minor cosmetic tweaks similar to what we found on the GS-F with an updated front facial design, LED taillights and optional upgraded wheels – this Lexus now features a turbocharged four-banger for less than 50-grand.
All the major brands have a turbo-four – now it’s Lexus’ turn. For a company that hasn’t used a four-cylinder in years, the GS has acclimated to its 241-horsepower turbocharged transplanted heart pretty well. It may not be as quick as some of the competitors, but it’s pretty spry hitting 60 mph in just over six and half seconds with a smooth sailing eight-speed automatic transmission. Even better, the GS keeps its rear-wheel drive platform.
Labeled as the GS 200t – it’s an engine that can now be found in most of the Lexus’ lineup. The GS200t never calls to be hurried, yet ushers along smoothly and briskly. The turbo comes in fairly quick leaving no extra time for lag. The only drawback came from the transmission when calling up eight gears to down shift and find the right portal – especially at higher speeds deeming the driver to plan ahead before passing other motorist. Sport mode and the steering wheel paddle shifters could help; however, considering Lexus’ consumer base, it’s highly unlikely those features would ever be used.
The GS200t driving demeanor is anything but a sports sedan – that’s what the F SPORT is for. It handles decently for a mid-sized sedan with plentiful weighted motion in the steering wheel but lacks a certain enthusiasm one may find in a BMW or Jaguar. But like any Lexus product, the ride quality is sublime with a quiet cabin and limited feel for road imperfections. The GS200t is even more fuel efficient than its more grown up 3.5-liter V-6 – we saw an average of 30 mpg on the highway – however not quite hitting the 32 mpg that EPA had reserved on our 200 mile highway run.
Nothing new has really been changed on the interior of the GS for 2017. This base version of the GS200t remains to stay on the premium side offering a gorgeous mocha-like leather interior filled with rich and inviting finishes. The dark gloss wood found on the dash is an exquisite touch and more appropriate than the cheaper faux wood the GS has to offer. The interior also offers full power adjustable seats, dual zone climate control and as part of the $1730 Navigation Package, a large 12.3-inch high definition split-screen display operated by a mouse-like interface that isn’t liked by many and has yet to include Apple CarPlay or Andriod Auto.
We found the interior of the GS200t to be like any Lexus, extremely comfortable, relaxing and supportive. Though lacking the heated seat feature, the GS200t featured a memory driver seat and a power adjustable steering wheel. For a mid-sized premium sedan, rear leg room is found to be a bit snug compared to other competitors and no real room for third passenger back there.
Lexus has safety in mind – or maybe they’re wanting to protect their cars against the driver. Either way, the GS now comes standard with Lexus Safety Sense + across all trim levels – a package that normally comes with a high price tag. Here, however, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Keep Assist, and Forward Collision Assist assures that when responding to emails while driving to keep our eyes on the road.
Despite the fact the GS200t is rolling into a newer generation of premium sedans competing with the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class, Jaguar XF, Audi A6 and even the Volvo S90, Genesis G80 and Kia Cadenza – the GS200t is supported on an old platform with just a mild refreshed body style. It continues to looks fresh as well as modern and with its new power plant, it makes more sense and more competitive. Starting at $46,310 and with ours tipping just past the $50,000 mark with a few option boxes ticked – it still beats the other competitors in value and packaging.
|2017 Lexus GS 200t||$46,310|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$50,070|
|2.0-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder – 241-Horsepower, 8-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±6.5 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 22/32/26 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 22.8 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±350 Miles|