Now turbocharged, the entry-level GS model has the athletic performance to match its sporty looks.
WHEN the current-gen Lexus GS was launched about four years ago, I was immediately drawn to the model’s sharp design and its promise of a dynamic drive.
The GS350, with its sweet 3.5-litre V6, remains a particular favourite of mine. The petrolelectric hybrid GS450h is pretty good, too.
The least appealing model in the GS lineup back then was the entry-level GS250. Its creamy 2.5-litre V6, which produces 205bhp, isn’t short on power. But because the motor is naturally aspirated, it lacks lowend oomph.
Making progress in the GS250 thus requires plenty of revs. But driving it in such a manner becomes tiring before long.
Fortunately, the GS models have been facelifted, and the GS250 is no more. Taking its place is the GS200t, which is motivated by a more powerful turbocharged 2-litre inline-4.
Said motor delivers 241bhp and a stout 350Nm, or 36bhp and 98Nm more than the 2.5-litre V6. These figures give the GS200t its ability to finish the century sprint in 7.3 seconds, or 1.3 seconds quicker than the GS250.
The engine’s power is sent to the rear wheels by a new 8-speed automatic gearbox, which replaces the previous 6-speeder.
This transmission is as smooth as expected, with the two additional forward ratios helping to improve fuel efficiency while cruising on the expressways.
But what’s really compelling about the GS200t is how it accelerates in such a linear manner. There are never any sudden surges of power to surprise and/or titillate the petrolhead executive behind the wheel.
What is exciting, however, is the car’s sharper handling. Lexus may not shout about suspension tweaks, but their engineers have definitely done some tinkering here.
The GS200t is more composed and handles tight bends with greater ease compared to the GS250, which sometimes feels hesitant when cornering hard.
And because it fulfils the promise made by its predecessor, the GS200t is actually one of the most appealing models in the GS lineup today
The new steering wheel, which is also found in the Lexus RX, is a treat to hold.