Lexus GS is an upmarket Japanese sedan. In what was a bold marketing move it’s aimed
at Australian buyers who had previously bought sedans from Audi, BMW, Jaguar and
In this Used Car Checkout we look at the fourth generation Lexus GS models that went
on sale here midway through 2012.
Build quality of the Lexus GS is high, even better than the already very good Toyota
models. This has been a strong selling point of Lexus and we have spoken to many
owners of the GS and other Lexus models who praise the car for the immaculate way it’s
put together outside and in.
Most Lexus GS models have rear-wheel drive. Some had all-wheel drive that was aimed at
both driving in snow if you’re heading for skiing destinations. All-wheel-drive provides even
better grip in models with larger engines when buyers want to hustle them along in a
sporting manner. These aren’t exactly track day cars though.
The front the 2012 Lexus GS has a ‘spindle-grille’ that has a tightening of the sides of the
area to create a distinctive shape that makes the mid-sized Lexus stand out from crowd.
Interior styling of the Lexus has what reviewers called “elegant simplicity” saying it could
be mistaken for an Italian machine in the way the primary instruments are large, clear and
easy to read at the fastest glance.
The stitching of the leather on the dashboard adds to the Italian theme, as does the
centrally mounted analog clock, a feature Maserati has used with great effect for
While other carmakers have satellite navigation screens that look like an afterthought, the
Lexus’s is obviously a major component in its own right. As well as being aesthetically
pleasing, the central screen is well shielded from light.
Lexus GS 250 is powered by a 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine that’s a heavily revised unit from
the previous generation. It produces more power and torque (154 kW / 253 Nm) than
previously, but the official fuel consumption was significantly reduced.
The GS 200t (‘t’ for turbocharged) replaced GS 250 early in 2016 and is aimed at buyers
who wanted plenty of grunt.
The 3.5-litre in the GS 350, (233 kW / 378 Nm) has sporting flair that made it much nicer to
sit behind than the 2.5.
Lexus GS 300h uses hybrid technology combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle
petrol engine with a 650-volt permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor to provide a
combined power output of up to 164 kW.
Rear seat legroom in the earlier Lexus GS models was a cramped, but the later models
being reviewed here are significantly better. Try for yourself if there are likely to be tall
travellers in the seat behind a lanky driver who likes to straight-arm the steering wheel.
Boot size is good and it’s reasonably easy to load.
As with other marques dealers are predominantly in the major capitals and the Gold Coast.
There’s quite good coverage in country cities and some senior Toyota mechanics have
been trained to help out Lexus owners in emergencies.
Spare parts prices and servicing costs are about average for a car in this upmarket class
and we haven’t had any complaints of availability of parts.
Insurance charges are moderate for a car in this class as most owners use their Lexus GS
as comfortable cruisers rather than full-on sports sedans. Check with several insurance
companies on price, but keep in mind that switching from you current insurer may not
stand you in good stead if there’s a somewhat marginal claim in the future.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Before saying you are interested in buying the car take a full walk around it to check for
any damage to the body, no matter how minor it is. Check the interior trim as well.
Have a full pre-purchase inspection before you commit to the car. A Lexus trained
mechanic is best, some senior Toyota mechanics are trained on Lexus. Or arrange to
have a senior inspector from your local motoring association do the work.
Test each of the functions on the stereo, electric seats, climate-control, windows, doors
and so on. The owner’s handbook is an excellent guide as to what all the controls do. Be
suspicious if anything doesn’t work to perfection because these are quality cars.
Make sure the engine starts virtually instantaneously.
The transmission should change ratios almost imperceptibly in any upmarket Lexus. If it
doesn’t there may be problems.
During your test drive listen for unusual noises and look for the slightest sign of anything
out of the ordinary.
Repairs will be expensive so get a quote for even the most minor defects. Better still
ensure the seller has the car repaired before you buy it.
Expect to pay from $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2012 Lexus GS250 F Sport; $16,000 to
$23,000 for a 2014 GS250 F Sport; $18,000 to $25,000 for a 2014 GS300h; $23,000 to
$31,00 for a 2015 GS200t Luxury; $26,00 to $35,000 for a 2017 GS300 Luxury; $30,000
to $41,000 for a 2015 GS450h; $34,000 to $45,000 for a 2019 GS300 Luxury; $43,000 to
$58,00 for a 2018 GS450h; and $56,000 to $75,000 for a 2020 GS450h.
CAR BUYING TIP
Approach owners of the type of vehicle you’re thinking of buying if you see them in
carparks or the like. They can be a great source of knowledge on the cars.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: