Cars are meant to be driven (at least until autonomy takes over completely -- though I hope that’s many years out), so let’s talk about the GS’ ride quality.
High points can be given for the overall smoothness of the ride in the GS, particularly when accelerating and cornering. This is especially true in Sport mode (Normal and Eco modes are offered too, but if traffic conditions allow, Sport is the most enjoyable).
My test vehicle featured a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, offering 241 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. It featured an 8-speed automatic transmission, with paddle shifters should you decide to take control of the gears.
The GS is not the most powerful luxury ride I've tested in this category (the Audi A6 wins that argument), but it’s still a strong competitor.
TECH HIT AND MISS
On one hand you get a strong overall tech setup in the GS, with an extra-wide screen that allows multiple programs to share the screen (i.e. radio on one, Navigation on the other). And all the usual high-tech safety features (blind spot monitoring, etc.) are available on the GS, so you and your family can feel completely safe. There is even a sway warning if you are drowsy and it senses that you're not driving straight.
On the negative side, Lexus continues to incorporate the Remote Touch mouse pad-like system to control the screen. While usable, it’s not ideal and doesn’t always do what you want it to do (it’s a bit oversensitive), and I wish the automaker would either improve this system or (better yet) figure out a new system altogether for future model years.
LOOKS AND FEELS LIKE LUXURY
One area where Lexus always nails it is interiors and making people feel comfortable. This is key for luxury buyers, who often value comfort over power.
The interior of the GS is plush and makes you feel right at home. The leather seating is among the best you’ll find in the business, steering wheel feels great in your hand, and the overall look of the interior is one that invites you in with its upscale design.
My only knock on the interior is the legroom for rear passengers could be better.
Here’s where Lexus attempts to branch out.
Their exterior designs are bolder than most of the luxury competition (German automakers such as BMW/Mercedes-Benz/Audi are known for a more traditional approach, for example)
That is by design, to distinguish it -- that whole flair thing.
From the sides and rear, the GS doesn’t look too out of place in this segment. But go up front and it’s a different story. The huge webbed grille almost makes it look like a relative of the Batmobile from the front view; that grille will be visible a mile away, and nobody will suspect this is one of the German offerings, the other Asian alternatives or a Cadillac or Lincoln -- it’s a Lexus, without a doubt.
During my time in the GS, I got about 23 mpg on average.
Official numbers are 22/32/26 … these numbers are strong but slightly behind the top vehicles in the luxury midsize segment.
As far as pricing, the 2017 Lexus GS 200t is at the low end of a wide range of GS offerings. It starts just over $46,000. Several more powerful and sporty models are offered, at prices that are much higher, but this version of the GS is honestly all that most people will need.
When it comes to the Lexus lineup for 2017, you’re probably going to be clearly in one camp or the other -- love the bold look, or quite the opposite. That’s the first stepping stone to get over. Once you get past that and start to examine everything else in the GS -- from interior design to tech offerings and beyond -- you’ll find plenty to like, and with so many strong options in the luxury landscape it will all come down to personal tastes. Some people lean toward the German stalwarts in this segment, while others might swear Cadillac trumps all the rest.
But with the personality flowing from the GS and their other sedans, many people will no doubt lean toward Lexus too.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.