Launched in 2005, the third generation GS was the first production vehicle to feature Lexus’ radical L-finesse design philosophy, combining distinctive, elegant styling with peerless interior refinement and highly engaging driving dynamics.
With global sales exceeding 100.000 units to date, the success of the GS has been further bolstered by the launch of the GS 450h, which introduced the company’s Lexus Hybrid Drive technology to the model range in 2006. Reinforcing the significance Lexus customers place on hybrid drive technology, the GS 450h occupies an increasingly prominent position, currently representing over 40% of European GS sales.
The GS 450h’s status as the high-performance flagship of the model range has been reinforced. In addition to blue detailing to the grille and trunk Lexus brand logos, the GS 450h is further differentiated by ‘hybrid’ logos with a blue background located at the base of the rear doors, and further blue detailing to the front and rear lamp clusters. Bolstering the standard model range colour choice, the GS 450h is also available in a bespoke Black Opal finish, an exterior paint finish unique to vehicles in the Lexus hybrid range.
Replacing the GS 430, the GS 460 features a new 4,608cc V8 powerplant offering better performance and fuel efficiency. With a maximum power output of 255 kW/347 DIN hp, the new engine develops 23% more power than its predecessor, reducing the 0-100km/h acceleration time by 0.3 seconds to just 5.8 seconds. Conversely, the new powerplant offers lower emissions than that of the GS 430, with CO2 reduced by 11g/km to 258 g/km. The new V8 features an over-the-engine, dual pipe intake system with compact air filter elements and an Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) to optimise fuel/air mixture. A D-4S (Direct injection 4-stroke Superior version) stoichiometric direct injection system, the world’s only automotive injection system to adopt two injectors per cylinder, is combined with Lexus’ Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing – intelligent). Combining the strengths of both port injection and direct injection, D-4S realises higher engine output and lower emissions.
The optimised, low pressure loss, variable intake and exhaust valve timing system incorporates VVT-iE, the world’s first electrically operated variable valve timing system to the intake camshafts. It operates across the full engine revolution and temperature spectrum to further improve engine performance.
To fully exploit its performance potential, the new V8 is mated to the world’s only 8-speed automatic transmission. Within a remarkably light, compact casing, the widest spread of gear ratios in class effects an unprecedented combination of performance and fuel economy. Due to a new, hydraulic control system, gear change is now significantly quicker, yet remains virtually imperceptible, whilst significant reductions in noise and vibration make the new gearbox the smoothest, quietest transmission ever developed by Lexus.
Sports car driving dynamics: Active Stabiliser system
In conjunction with run flat tyre technology, an active stabiliser system is now available on both the GS 460 and GS 450h. The system features variable twist-torque anti-roll bars to effect enhanced body control and steering response precision during cornering, without compromise to Lexus’ legendary straight line ride comfort.
This system, first introduced in Europe on the LS 600h, features an actuator centrally located on both front and rear anti-roll bars. The actuator comprises a DC brushless motor with attendant reduction gear, capable of applying torque to both left and right hand sections of the stabiliser bar. The system ECU calculates the twist torque output required based on sensor fed steering angle and vehicle velocity information. The twist force, applied independently to both front and rear stabiliser bars, reduces body roll to promote improved vehicle stability, superior cornering performance and improved agility through enhanced steering response. To minimise energy consumption, the active stabiliser system remains inactive during straight line driving.
Featuring new, 17” and 18” wheel designs, the GS 300 now comes standard with Active Variable Suspension (AVS). AVS allows the driver to adjust the GS 300’s ride characteristics with a choice of two damper settings: ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’ for improved handling and body control. In either mode, AVS automatically and continuously adjusts the suspension’s performance at all four wheels independently.
The GS 300 is also equipped, as standard, with Lexus’ state-of-the-art Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system to enhance performance, traction control and vehicle stability. Via comprehensive data provided by sensors throughout the vehicle, VDIM integrates Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) active safety systems with the Electronic Power Steering (EPS).
Further improved aerodynamics have resulted in reduced combined CO2 emissions of 226 g/km, down almost 4%.
The refreshed GS range benefits from numerous subtle exterior and interior styling enhancements. External revisions include a discreet yet distinct restyling of the grille and headlamps, the incorporation of indicator lamps within the door mirrors, a lower rear bumper for improved aerodynamic efficiency, and a range of new colours including Black Opal, which is unique to the hybrid GS 450h.
Interior refinements include a redesigned gearlever gate, switchgear and instrumentation enhancements, the addition of an auxiliary audio socket, and the optional availability of semianiline leather upholstery.
The refreshed GS range will be available at Lexus retailers towards the end of 2007.