Lexus GS300 1998 Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services

27 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Lexus GS300 1998 Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services
Lexus GS300

Lexus GS300

Car Review

Author: NRMA Motoring Date: 20 January 1998

Lexus has moved to fill the price gap between its ES300 and LS 400 models with the long-awaited arrival of the GS300 sedan.

At $89,500, the GS300 gives Lexus buyers another option between the two ES300 models at $61,990 and $69,990, and the flagship LS400 at $155,350.

The GS300 that was launched overseas five years ago didn’t come to Australia, but its belated introduction has one benefit in that we now get the very latest, all-new model.

Showing how serious it is about going after the established European luxury marques, Lexus didn’t mess around when it came to updating the GS300. This one has a new longer wheelbase platform, an all-new body, new suspension, a new engine and a new transmission.

The rear wheel drive GS300 features traditional Lexus standards of finish, quietness and comfort, and is crammed with an incredible array of equipment and engineering technology.

Advanced features of the twin overhead in-line six cylinder engine include infinitely variable valve timing, air-assisted sequential fuel injection, an electronic throttle with snow mode, direct ignition, a knock control system, on-board diagnostics and stainless steel exhaust headers.

Behind this engine is an electronically-controlled, adaptive five speed automatic transmission. In addition to anti-lock braking and traction control, the GS300 has Vehicle Stability Control. This system digests information from nine sensors monitoring lateral G-forces, steering wheel angle, throttle position and yaw rates, and then backs off the throttle or applies the brakes on individual wheels to counteract oversteer or understeer.

Lexus describes VSC as an important driver’s aid (particularly in snow conditions) but points out it is not a cure for over-driving.

Space precludes listing the GS300’s equipment in full detail, but some of the more significant/interesting items include front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, anti-theft system with alarm and engine immobiliser, power operated seats and steering column, climate-control airconditioning with driver and passenger controls, a seven speaker sound system with a 6-stack CD changer in the glovebox, and full leather trim with wood panelling inserts.

The attention to detail extends to auto dipping interior and exterior mirrors (exterior mirrors are also heated); new self-levelling high intensity discharge headlamps that are three times brighter and equipped with retractable high pressure jet washers; black-on-white instrument dials with automatic background lighting; and a programmable body computer that allows the personalising of a wide range of vehicle functions.

Lexus GS300

Driving the GS300 is overall, a very pleasant experience. Not only is it exceptionally quiet (almost matching the LS400 on interior noise levels), the engine is wonderfully responsive and powerful, with the five speed automatic transmission proving a very worthy complement.

The only imperfection we found was that when trickling along at low speeds, the sensitive throttle action can result in a tendency to surge if you aren’t careful on the pedal.

With the suspension set a touch soft to provide the desired levels of comfort, the GS300 is no sports car in its handling, but it’s safe, confident and secure on the road. Enthusiastic drivers may curse the ‘beep-beep’ of the VSC when it intervenes, but it certainly settles the car in adverse situations, or if the driver does something reckless.

The GS300 has excellent brakes. Not only did they display impressive emergency stopping power and superior resistance to fade, the electrical hydraulic pump (in lieu of a vacuum booster) results in only a very light pedal effort being required for normal braking and the action is progressive and controllable.

Summary

Built to standards that are seemingly up with the best in the business, and equipped with all manner of safety, luxury and technological equipment, the Lexus GS300 is an impressive new entry into the upper medium luxury class.

The GS300 has some formidable opposition in the form of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, but though it might lack their image and prestige, it can certainly match them on performance, quality, comfort and equipment.

Lexus GS300
Lexus GS300
Lexus GS300
Lexus GS300
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