16 January 2004

Here is the first proof that Lexus is chasing a desperately needed change in design direction. The new GS saloon, shown for the first time at the Detroit show, is light years ahead of the current dowdy saloon – if not quite as beautiful as the LF-S concept shown at Tokyo last autumn.

Parent company Toyota has admitted that its cars lack the panache of European rivals and is to give more prominence to design. The new GS is the first product styled under the new mantra.

It will go on sale next year to fight the new BMW5-series, Mercedes E-Class and, by then, all-new Audi A6. The current GS saloon was launched back in ’97.

The new car’s wheelbase is 2in longer than the current model’s, despite the overall length rising by just 0.5in. Lexus claims the cabin offers more passengers and luggage space.

Buyers can choose between V6 and V8 engines with a minimum output of 245bhp. For the first time, four-wheel drive will be offered on a Lexus saloon, but only on the V6. Rear-drive is standard. Transmission is by six-speed auto with a nudge-shift option.

In 2006, Lexus will launch its first diesel engine, followed by a low-emissions hybrid petrol-electric model.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Audi A7 front
    First Drive
    14 March 2018
    The new Audi A7 Sportback looks the part, but how does the new Mercedes-Benz CLS rival cope on UK roads? We find out