In one of the more crowded segments, the Lexus GS 200t quietly makes its presence felt. By Kannan Chandran
With a parade of German marques to contend with, the Lexus GS 200t brings a mix of looks, refinement and a turbocharged engine to the fore.
An extended grille and new headlights, which form part of the aggressive design, and a well thought through interior will put the Japanese brand in a good position, though its pricing at the head of the pack might be viewed with some concern.
The fourth generation of this car is tweaked to continue its silent encroachment on the ground that its key competitors have beaten down. And Lexus has done it with that attention to detail that makes a difference.
For instance, a new paint process lets certain lighter colours have more contrast. The newly designed triple L-shaped LED headlamps give it a greater sense of purpose. The interior has a 12.3-inch screen recessed in the dashboard as a focal point and also cutting out glare. The functional dials are clear, and accessible via the controller on the centre console or on the three-spoke steering wheel, inspired by the sporty Lexus LFA.
The seats are part of the highlight of the GS. Besides the seat ventilation feature (cooling and heating), and 18-way movement, it was developed with a university over five years to offer relief from fatigue. It features a butterfly headrest with a mass damper that reduces vibration when the car is idling, which is an extremely silent affair.
The seats, the ambience, connectivity via the remote touch interface (which does take some precision manoeuvring), Mark Levinson sound system and the silence of the Lexus ride — now the stuff of motoring legend — come together quite nicely in the entry-level GS.
The two-litre turbocharged engine is new to the line up, and puts out a good flow of power that isn’t wanting, except for a slight lag when you accelerate, almost as if it’s checking to be sure you want to do this. That pause aside, the rest of the experience is smooth and efficient, regardless which driving mode is chosen.
One of the challenges faced by Lexus was that floating sensation on the move. Great for those who like that, not so for those who prefer to get some feedback. That has been addressed in the GS, which lets you in on the driving experience a bit more.
To add to that, paddle shifts on the steering wheel let you shift through the eight speeds if you feel you want to be more actively involved.
Filled with safety and comfort features, the GS200t is a strong entry-level model that sets a high standard for the others in the range.
LEXUS GS 200t TECH SPECS
Engine: 4-cylinder, 16-valve Twin-scroll turbocharged
Max Power: 180kW@5,800rpm
Max Torque: 350Nm@1,650–4,400rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
0-100kmh: 7.3 seconds
Top Speed: 230kmh
Retail price: *$276,000
Please reconfirm price with dealer.