If you were building the perfect performance sedan, you’d likely want it loaded with luxury, technology, stellar performance credentials and impeccable reliability and resale statistics. That car is the 2018 Lexus GS. From a performance standpoint, we’d place the GS slightly below the BMW 5 Series but on par with the Audi A6.
You'll Like The 2018 Lexus GS F If...
Larger than the IS but lacking the bulk and hefty price tag of the LS, the 2018 Lexus GS sedan is the perfect middle child. Powerful, roomy and stylish, the GS also comes with the peace of mind only a Lexus can offer.
You May Not Like The 2018 Lexus GS F If...
With the exception of the GS F, the rest of the GS line isn’t as driver-oriented as a BMW 5 Series or Cadillac CTS. In a segment known for subtle and sophisticated design, the GS’ daring styling may be too aggressive for some.
For 2018, the GS 200t is renamed the GS 300, while the Enform Safety and Service Connect package is made complimentary for the first 10 years. GS F upgrades include All-Speed Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist.
Although edgy on the outside, Lexus’ 2018 GS luxury sedan is all about comfort on the inside. Both front occupants enjoy 10-way-power seats, and LED ambient lighting is integrated into the door ornamentation and the console. Soft leather is everywhere and nice touches and details abound, from “Lexus”-stamped scuff plates on all doorsills to contrast stitching on the upper instrument panel, door panels and shift boot. The attractively shaped instrument panel includes analog Optitron gauges with a color Multi-Information Display and an 8- or 12.3-inch color high-resolution central-control screen that operates with the 2nd-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) control function.
Not for the shy, the Lexus GS luxury performance sedan is a boldly styled piece of road-going art. It leads with an aggressive front-end treatment with an oversized grille, deep chin spoiler and intense expression. Distinctive headlights and LED taillights fit its sporting image, as do its muscular lines, highly defined shapes and low stance. The GS 350 and 450h are fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels, while the F Sport Package and GS F add 19-inch wheels. Rich and varied paint options are a pleasant departure from the ubiquitous sea of silver, white and black.
Our time in the V6-powered GS 350 left us with a positive impression of a smart midsize-luxury sedan delivering competent handling, impressive acceleration, a smooth ride and, when equipped with the F-Sport package, thrilling cornering abilities. The GS’ rigid architecture, lightweight aluminum suspension and wide track all aid in the car’s on-road performance, as does the 3-setting Drive Mode (Eco, Normal and Sport) that allows the driver to vary the degree of steering response and throttle input. The F-Sport package opens the door to even better options like Lexus’ Dynamic Handling system. If you’re comparing apples to apples, we’d place the GS slightly below the BMW 5 Series but on par with the ride and handling abilities of the Audi A6 and Jaguar XF.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2018 Lexus GS 300 starts just a shade over $47,300. The GS 350 starts closer to $51,700, with the AWD version starting about $300 less. The hybrid GS 450h starts just over $64,600 and adding numerous options can push it considerably higher. The GS F starts just over $85,350. The GS 350’s likely European competitors, the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, tend to have starting prices above that of the GS and are fairly close to each other in resale values, but the GS 350 is expected to maintain both 3-year and 5-year residuals that are higher, thus paying benefits in the long term. Before heading off to the dealer, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2018 Lexus GS 300, 350 or 450h.
The Lexus Safety System+ package comes standard on the GS 300, GS 350 and GS 450h. The state-of-the-art system includes Pre-Collision System Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. All 2018 Lexus GS models include leather upholstery (NuLuxe simulated leather on the GS 300), wood/metallic accent trim, power moonroof, multifunction steering wheel and energy-saving S-flow automatic climate control. The standard Lexus Premium Audio System has 12 speakers, AM/FM/DVD with HD Radio and WMA/MP3 capability, Bluetooth streaming, 5.1 Surround Sound and numerous other features.
The 2018 Lexus GS with a Premium Package includes heated and ventilated front seats; a Luxury Package with Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), rear audio and climate controls and semi-aniline leather upholstery; a Cold Weather Package with heated steering wheel; and the F Sport Package, which makes any Lexus more fun to drive. It adds a 16-way driver’s sport seat, custom-tuned AVS, bigger wheels, tires and brakes along with Variable Gear Ratio Steering. Stand-alone options include an HDD 12.3-inch Navigation system, power trunk release, an 835-watt, 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround-sound audio system and a Head-Up Display.
LEXUS SAFETY SYSTEM+
Inattentive driving has led to an upsurge in fender-benders, so it’s nice to know the 2018 GS includes a state-of-the-art driver-assist system featuring a Pre-Collision System, High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent High Beam and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.
The hybrid GS 450h combines the performance and acceleration of a small-block V8 with the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder turbo. The Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 and electric motor pump out a combined 338 horsepower resulting in faster acceleration times than the GS 350 with a combined city/highway rating of 31 mpg.
Under the Hood
The 2018 Lexus GS 300 sedan is powered by a twin-scroll 2.0-liter turbocharged engine sending power to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. The GS 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with dual variable-valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and direct fuel injection. In rear-wheel-drive (RWD) models it is matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission and with all-wheel drive (AWD) it has a 6-speed automatic. The hybrid GS 450h employs an Atkinson-cycle version of the 3.5-liter V6, with the Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive that combines the gasoline engine and the electric motor for a total system output of 338 horsepower. The rear-drive high-performance GS F is equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 engine and an 8-speed automatic with manual shift control.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (GS 300)
241 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,650-4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg, 21/30 mpg (F-Sport)
3.5-liter V6 (GS 350)
311 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (RWD), 19/27 mpg (F-Sport), 19/26 mpg (AWD)
3.5-liter V6 + electric motor and battery pack (GS 450h)
286 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
180-horsepower electric motor -- 338 net system horsepower
254 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/34 mpg
5.0-liter V8 (GS F)
467 horsepower @ 7,100 rpm
389 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800-5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
If you were building the perfect premium-performance sedan, you’d likely want it loaded with abundant luxury and technology, stellar performance credentials and impeccable reliability and resale stats. Luckily, someone has already built such a car, and it’s called the 2018 Lexus GS. As a direct competitor to the BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS and Audi A6, Lexus stocks the GS lineup with a wide variety of trims ranging from the quick and efficient 4-cylinder turbocharged GS 300 to the fire-breathing GS F with its 467-horsepower V8. Looking for power and efficiency? Lexus offers a hybrid model in the GS 450h. Those seeking performance on a budget can opt for the F-Sport upgrade offered on three of the GS’ four trim levels.