Rolling

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

SAFETY

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.

DRIV­ING

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)

1910kg Space-saver

Even the non-radar cruise sys­tems of Benz andBMW­can in­volve the brakes to do this. Lexus has taken too long to catch up.

VER­DICT

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.

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