The outgoing car was a fivestar job and the new one, with 10 airbags, has more than enough gear to suggest a similar rating.
The Sport Luxury top-spec model has a blind-spot monitor, a Head Up Display with speed, satnav and sound system info, active cruise control and pre-collision safety system, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic bi-xenon adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam system (although it’s more clumsy to use than theBMWsystem).
Also on the Sport Luxury model is the driver fatigue monitor, encased within the little red LED monitor on the top of the steering column, which uses an infra-red LED pulse and a camera to monitor the driver’s face and check whether the driver’s eyes are open and watching the road.
The alert system warns the driver of potential drowsiness and can even jolt the brakes to further alert the driver.
The GS series is a car that— as the Lexus brass concedes— hasn’t done enough in Australia. The medium prestige market has numerous under-performers but Lexus might have given the GS the look to get it on more shopping lists.
What is also very effective is the drivetrain. This is nearly two tonnes of Japanese luxury car but the smooth and unobtrusive petrol-electric system mimics a slingshot away from standstill.
The continuously variable transmission (which doubles as a generator to recharge the battery when coasting) lays claim to a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.9 seconds and it is a deceptively quick conveyance. The ride is on the firm side but is still good— tightening it up for corners doesn’t turn it into a molar-rattler either, nor does it become a vehicle that is going to match a purpose-built
corner-carver either. This car is swift in a straight line but cruising is definitely its forte.
The soundtrack doesn’t match the mumbo, sadly— it sounds like angry wasps on speed— but you can’t argue with the outcome.
Slow improvement has been made on the active cruise control front but the Lexus is still not there yet.
The latest version brakes to a standstill and can move away again but it’s not as dextrous as the rival German systems.
It still has trouble maintaining a set cruising speed downhill without a car in front to engage the braking function. Six-step CVT; RWD
6.3L/100km, on test 8.1L, 147g/km CO
4.9m (L), 1.8m (W), 1.5m (H)
Even the non-radar cruise systems of Benz andBMWcan involve the brakes to do this. Lexus has taken too long to catch up.
Pricing has always been a plus for the Lexus and the Japanese luxury marque has kept it lean.
And it’s the only hybrid in the segment.