The Lexus GS (Japanese: レクサス・GS, Rekusasu GS) is an executive car (E-segment in Europe) sold by Lexus, the premium division of Toyota. The same car had been launched in 1991 as the Toyota Aristo in Japan. For non-Japanese markets, it was released as the Lexus GS in February 1993. It continued using the Toyota Aristo name for the Japanese market until January 2005.
Designed as a performance sedan competing in the mid-luxury class, the GS slots between the compact executive IS and large/flagship LS, and shared its chassis with one of Toyota's longest-running nameplates, the Toyota Crown premium sedans until 2011.
Four generations of the GS have been produced since 1993, each available with six-cylinder engines and rear-wheel drive. V8 engines were also offered in all generations, and all-wheel drive and hybrid versions debuted in 2005. Previously, all-wheel drive versions were already made available in the Japanese-market S140 series Aristo. The first two generations had a Japanese domestic market equivalent, the Toyota Aristo (aristo is Greek for "the best"), which was sold from 1991 until the Lexus marque's domestic debut in 2005. Though largely identical in exterior and interior design, the GS and the Aristo differed in their engine and transmission combinations as well as equipment packages. The GS name stands for Grand Sedan. However, some Lexus importers use the backronymic name, Grand Sport.
The first generation Lexus GS began sales in the United States, Europe and selected Asian markets in 1993. It was originally introduced with an inline-six engine and exterior bodywork designed by Italdesign Giugiaro. The second generation model premiered in 1997, using a new platform, in-house styling, and adding a V8 version for the first time outside Japan. The third generation GS, which premiered globally for the 2006 model year, was produced in V6, V8, and hybrid versions, the latter known as the GS 450h. The third generation models were the first GS sedans to be badged as such in the Japanese domestic market.
The fourth generation Lexus GS premiered in August 2011 at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where models introduced included the V6-powered GS 350, hybrid GS 450h, and performance-tuned F Sport variants. A lower-displacement V6 model, the GS 250, premiered at the Auto Guangzhou Exhibition in November 2011, targeted at Asian and European markets. In some markets such as North America and Asia, the GS shares the mid-size sedan category in the Lexus lineup with the front-wheel drive ES, serving as its rear-wheel-drive counterpart.
The GS was replaced in Europe by the Lexus ES from December 2018. The seventh generation ES is the first to be sold in Europe, replacing the GS in spite of being a front-wheel drive car. It went on sale from September 2018 in Russia, Turkey and other CIS markets and from December 2018 in Western and Central Europe. Production ended in August 2020.
Italdesign Giugiaro began the first design drawings of the GS 300 in 1988. The design firm aimed to produce a deluxe sedan which did without the numerous exterior features and detailing found on existing Japanese premium sedans, in favor of a more simplified, European-style appearance. The vehicle's exterior styling blended elements of the then-current Lexus LS flagship and SC performance coupe in a rounded, aerodynamic wedge-like shape which featured a high rear decklid and longer and wider proportions than rival vehicles. The exterior produced a drag coefficient of Cd=0.31. Color schemes included single-tone bumper and body finishes, along with dual-tone schemes. Similarities with an Italdesign concept car which debuted in 1990, the Jaguar Kensington, led some observers to suggest that the GS 300 was derived from its design, though Italdesign said the GS 300 was developed earlier. Equipped with an independent, double-wishbone suspension setup at both front and rear ends, Italdesign's sedan design first appeared in Toyota Aristo form in Japan in October 1991.
Manufactured at Toyota's Tahara assembly plant in Japan, production of the Aristo involved more automation than previous vehicles built at the Tahara factory; robots performed 4,200 welds on each body, while only eight spot welds were performed by hand.
Toyota of Japan offered two straight-six engine options for the Japanese market Aristo—the 3.0Q and 3.0V. The 3.0Q (JZS147) featured the 2JZ-GE engine which produced 169 kW (227 hp), while the Aristo 3.0V (JZS147) was equipped with a 24-valve twin-turbo 2JZ-GTE engine which produced 205 kW (275 hp). The Aristo was exclusive to the Toyota Vista Store as the top level luxury sedan at Vista dealerships, positioned above the Toyota Cresta and Chaser. In 1992, a third model, the V8-powered 4.0Zi-Four (UZS143), joined the Aristo lineup. This model came with standard all-wheel drive and a 186 kW (249 hp) 1UZ-FE engine.
Production of the export Lexus GS 300 (JZS147) began on 22 February 1993. For Lexus, The GS was placed above the front-wheel drive ES luxury sedan with its superior drivetrain setup, power and available amenities. Lexus only offered the GS with the 3.0-liter 2JZ-GE straight-six, producing 169 kW (227 hp) and 285 N⋅m (210 lb⋅ft) of torque.
For the interior, the GS 300 featured walnut wood trim on the center console, leather seating, an automatic tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and the option of a Nakamichi premium stereo system. Driver and front passenger airbags were standard. A moonroof, remote 12-CD auto changer, and traction control (TRAC – left hand drive vehicles only) were options.
The GS was intended to take the price position of the original LS 400 flagship, which had moved upmarket since its 1989 launch. By the time of the GS 300's debut, the US$35,000 initial base price of the LS in the United States had climbed to US$47,000, while the GS 300 at debut carried base price of US$38,000. However, sales of the GS 300 were modest, with 1993 seeing the greatest sales at 19,164 sold that year. Sales dropped in later years as the Japanese yen rose in value against the dollar and made the vehicle more expensive than its rivals. Additionally, more powerful V8 sport sedans provided strong competition. By 1997, the price of the GS 300 had risen to US$46,000. Production of the first generation GS sedan ended in July 1997.
In 1993, after sales commenced for the first generation S140 series, development began on the successor under the internally known codenamed S160. The design process began under chief engineer Yasushi Nakagawa in May 1994 and by November 1995 after 18 months of design work, the final production design by Akihiro Nagaya was approved by the executive board. In January 1997, Lexus debuted the "High Performance Sedan" (HPS) concept at the Detroit Auto Show, previewing the design direction for the redesigned GS.
In August 1997, the second generation Toyota Aristo was launched in Japan, codenamed JZS160 (S300 version) for models with 2JZ-GE engines and JZS161 (V300 version) for those with 2JZ-GTE twin-turbocharged engines, remaining exclusive to the former Vista network that was renamed Toyota Netz Store Japanese dealerships. VVT-i was now standard, resulting in an increase of torque. The twin-turbocharged version was available with electronic four-wheel steering, VSC electronic stability control and an automatic transmission with a manual sequential mode.
The second generation sedans used a new front-engine, rear-wheel drive midsize platform, also featured in the Japanese-market Toyota Crown. The new model's styling was produced in-house, and featured quadruple headlights (the interior two of which were elliptical) in a fashion similar to the Lexus SC coupe. It had a drag coefficient of Cd=0.30. Inside, electroluminescent Optitron gauges were offered for the first time, along with an upgraded stereo system. For export markets, the second generation GS began production in the JZS161 body style on 4 August 1997 and was officially launched in October 1997.
Lexus offered the GS 300 once again and featured a slightly revised version of the previous generation's 3.0-liter straight-six now producing 168 kW (225 hp) and 305 N⋅m (225 lb⋅ft) of torque. Answering customer requests for more power, the American market GS 400 (UZS160) was equipped with the 4.0-liter 1UZ-FE V8 that produced 224 kW (300 hp) and 420 N⋅m (310 ft⋅lb) of torque. Both models featured a five-speed automatic transmission with the GS 400 receiving steering wheel shift buttons. As with the S140 series, no turbocharged variants were offered outside Japan. The 5.7 second 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time of the GS 400 prompted Lexus marketing to claim that the GS was the world's fastest production sedan at its introduction in 1997.
Lexus promoted the arrival of the second generation GS sedan with the tagline, "Something Wicked This Way Comes". Compared to its predecessor, the second generation GS sedan was a much bigger success, with sales reaching 30,622 vehicles in its first year, increasing in the second, and stabilizing at 28,079 vehicles by 2000. Lexus would keep the second generation vehicle in its lineup for eight years, a longer duration than the prior generation. The U.S. base price for the GS 300 and GS 430 averaged approximately US$38,000 and US$47,000 respectively.
The GS was Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1998. It also made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1998 through 2000. In IIHS frontal crash testing the 1999 and newer GS was given a "Good" overall score.
A facelift in 2000, for the 2001 model year was the only major design change of the second generation GS. There was a slightly revised grille, revised tail lights, and subtly tinted headlamps on the front end. Xenon headlamps became standard equipment with the V8 engine and optional on six-cylinder cars. More interior wood trim was added, and steering wheel shift buttons were added to the GS 300. The V8 engine also received a 0.3-liter increase in displacement, so the model designation changed to GS 430 (Toyota type code UZS161). Peak power was unchanged, but torque increased to 441 N⋅m (325 lb⋅ft). The GS 430 took 5.7 seconds to go from 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph).
For the 2002 model year, Lexus offered a limited production GS 300 "SportDesign" package for North America; this performance/trim package offered the GS 300 the same firmly-tuned suspension and "L-tuned" steering ECU module that were both standard equipment on the GS 430, along with a rear lip spoiler and polished alloy wheels. Other features include special badging, titanium-like HID headlamps, and a chrome grille. The SportDesign package interior-wise added perforated leather upholstery, uniquely branded door sills along with brushed aluminum and dark stained walnut trim. A version of the SportDesign that included Navigation with a Mark Levinson sound system was also offered. The SportDesign trim package was offered from the 2002 through 2003 model years.
In 1999, development commenced on a successor to the S160 under chief engineer, Shigetoshi Miyoshi. Styling for both the exterior and interior was done under lead designer Yasuhide Hosoda between 2000 and 2002, during which L-finesse came to fruition in 2001. By 2002, a design was finalized, to be introduced the following year. In October 2003, Lexus debuted the LF-S (Lexus Future Sedan), a concept car which previewed the design of the upcoming GS. The design patent was filed by Toyota on 22 December 2003 in domestic Japanese patent offices, preceding an imminent public unveiling. The third generation GS first appeared as a pre-production vehicle at the 2004 North American International Auto Show on 5 January, riding on a then new architecture N platform, with the production version being shown at the same show in January 2005.
Production of the third generation began on 24 January 2005, without release of an equivalent Toyota Aristo, as Toyota had introduced the Lexus channel to Japan and sought to align all world markets using Lexus as their luxury brand worldwide. The third generation GS was the introductory Lexus model for the marque's new L-finesse design philosophy, indicating the future direction of the Lexus lineup; it featured a fastback profile, retained quad headlights, LED tailamps, and one-piece bumpers. This generation GS had a drag coefficient of Cd=0.27, and used a newly designed midsize platform later shared with the second generation IS.
In September 2005, the GS 350 (GRS191) and GS 430 (UZS190) went on sale in Japan; the GS 350 using a 3.5-liter 2GR-FSE engine with D4-S direct injection, while the GS 430 used the same 4.3-liter 3UZ-FE V8 engine used in the previous model. Sales in the US began in March 2006, with the initial lineup including the GS 300 (GRS190), featuring a ULEV certified 3.0-liter 3GR-FSE V6 engine, and the GS 430 featuring the 4.3-liter V8. All GS models at launch featured a new six-speed automatic sequential shift gearbox. An all-wheel drive system was made available in the GS 300.
Unveiled at the 2005 New York International Auto Show, the hybrid GS 450h (GWS191) joined the GS line in 2006 for the 2007 model year. GS Hybrid production started in February 2006. It was the first mass-production rear-wheel drive luxury hybrid car, featuring the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter 2GR-FSE V6 engine mated to two electric motors and a planetary type continuously variable transmission (CVT). This powertrain made use of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system of integrating electric and gasoline engine motors, giving the GS 450h a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) emissions rating, and total output of 253 kW (339 hp), allowing the GS to accelerate 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 5.2 seconds, according to manufacturer data.
New to the GS line was an electric power steering (EPS) system, and both the V8 and hybrid models featured a variable gear ratio steering (VGRS) system and Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB) a type of brake-by-wire system. V8 and hybrid models also featured an adaptive suspension system that individually altered suspension damper firmness. Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) was standard on the GS 430, 460, and 450h models and coupled to VGRS, with which it could alter steering gear ratios.
Standard safety features on the GS ranged from multiple airbags, including knee airbags and front row side torso airbags, to adaptive headlights, anti-lock braking, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist and electronic stability control. The radar-based pre-collision system with an autonomous cruise control system was optional. The GS 450h was among the first vehicles to receive the infrared Driver Monitoring System for driver attentiveness. For the 2007 model year, the GS 350 replaced the GS 300 in the US and several other export markets.
The GS interior was available with leather bird's-eye maple or walnut trim. Major standard features ranged from a 10-way driver and front passenger power and heated seats with three-position Lexus Memory System, SmartAccess keyless system with push-button start, a driver-side hidden drop-down panel for infrequently used controls, standard 7 in (180 mm) touchscreen display, and LED lighting in the cabin. Unique to the Lexus GS series was a three-pod instrument cluster with machined aluminum facings and an electrochromic feature. Optional features ranged from a power moonroof to a discrete 5.1 surround sound 14-speaker 330-watt Mark Levinson premium sound system, XM-satellite radio and DVD-based navigation with backup camera and Bluetooth technology. Competitors to the Lexus GS included the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Jaguar XF, Infiniti M, and Acura RL.
The GS 460 (URS191) replaced the GS 430 in 2007 for the 2008 model year, featuring a new 4.6-liter 1UR-FE (Middle East) or a 1UR-FSE V8 engine with eight-speed automatic transmission generating 255 kW (342 hp) and 460 N⋅m (339 ft⋅lb) of torque. Lexus reported a 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time of 5.4 seconds. Along with the hybrid GS 450h and previous GS 430 models, the V8-powered GS 460 offered the Active Stabilizer Suspension System for improved handling. The GS 450h retains its position as the most expensive in the GS lineup, and has faster acceleration than the GS 460, though the GS 460 is lighter and has a higher top speed. In 2010, the GS was outsold nearly two to one by the flagship LS.
Along with the introduction of the GS 460, the GS lineup received a mid-cycle styling refresh, including a revised front bumper, headlights and grille, turn signals added to the side mirrors, and new wheel options and exterior colors. The interior received a redesigned steering wheel, revised instrument cluster gauges, and different trim pieces.
In early 2007, development began on the L10 series GS under Yoshihiko Kanamori, with the design process finalizing under new president and CEO Akio Toyoda's direction in 2009. Design patents were filed in Japan on 6 October 2010 for the production model and a conceptual variant on 29 March 2011. In April 2011, Lexus showed the LF-Gh concept (Lexus Future Grand-Touring Hybrid) at that year's New York International Auto Show, previewing the stylistic direction of future Lexus models. The LF-Gh featured a large, spindle-shaped front grille, and press information further indicated that it had a new interior design which included an analog clock. The LF-Gh concept vehicle was taken by automotive journalists as an indication of what the fourth generation Lexus GS would look like.
The fourth generation GS had its world premiere at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California in August 2011. The vehicle was shown to have a more subtle version of the LF-Gh's spindle grille, while overall exterior dimensions are almost identical to the previous generation. L-shaped LED front daytime running lamps and rear LED tube lamps are a new design feature. The fourth generation GS was the centerpiece of Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda's initiative to restore passion to the Lexus brand and better compete with German luxury automakers that had been gaining market share in the United States. It was reported that Toyoda initially opposed the styling choices made for the new model, but later thanked the design team that persuaded him to greenlight the project. Unlike the first three generations, the fourth generation GS is not based on any Crown models as it is built on a separate New N platform.
At its debut, the fourth generation model was shown in rear-wheel drive GS 350 (GRL10) form, powered by a V6 engine linked with a six-speed automatic transmission. Three driving modes are featured, ranging from fuel-conserving Eco to Sport S and Sport S+ which facilitate more sporty transmission shifting and engine throttle settings, as well as suspension damper and steering adjustments. The chassis has been redesigned, and overall curb weight is reduced. To reduce unsprung mass the new GS utilizes aluminum for all its suspension components. The GS 350 F Sport adds a rear-wheel steering system for improved handling on rear wheel drive models. New larger 14-inch brakes come standard as well as 19-inch F Sport wheels, a new front bumper, rear spoiler, F Sport steering wheel, F Sport seats and a new suspension system with AVS adjustable dampers.
The redesigned interior gains the Lexus Remote Touch mouse controller system in place of the previous touchscreen, linked to a split-view 12.3 in (310 mm) widescreen dashboard display.
It also features a new technology, Save energy + airflow control (S-FLOW), which is the world's first system that sends air only to where vehicle occupants are seated in order to maintain and improve comfort while also improving fuel efficiency.
Other interior features include Mark Levinson surround sound system. Front 18-way power seats are available; 10-way power seats are equipped standard. Optional features further include a pre-collision system, Heads-Up Display, blind spot monitor, lane keep assist, and Driver Monitoring System.
Variants such as the GS 350 and GS 250, as well as their F Sport variants, began sales in Japan on 26 January 2012, followed by the GS 450h and the GS 450h F Sport on 19 March 2012. Sales for the fourth generation in the US began in February 2012 for models including the GS 350 and GS 350 F Sport, with the hybrid version following several months after. A smaller-displacement model, the GS 250 (GRL11), was shown at the 2011 Auto Guangzhou, targeted for sales in China, Japan, Australia and the UK, but not the US.
The GS 450h (GWL10), rated at 256 kW (343 hp) and now using an Atkinson cycle design, has a 35 percent improvement in fuel economy over the previous generation GS 450h, and has a higher combined EPA fuel efficiency rating (31 mpg) than the 306 horsepower GS 350 (23 mpg). Trunk space is improved both for the hybrid and standard models. The GS 450h features standard full LED headlamps and a bamboo trimmed interior. The vehicle was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
For the 2014 model year, changes to GS 350 includes an eight-speed automatic transmission for rear-wheel drive (RWD) models, introduction of F SPORT package (optional Lexus Dynamic Handling system with dynamic rear steering (DRS), electric power steering, variable gear ratio steering (VGRS)), integrated Siri Eyes Free mode from Apple (compatible with iPhone 4S and newer), flush mounted sensors for available intuitive park assist, full color display added to the optional head-up display, available blind spot monitor adds rear cross traffic alert and power-folding mirrors, Luxury Package changes (LED foglamps, Superchrome finish for 18-inch wheels, and the rear armrest control panel display adds display option to view radio station and song title information), optional power trunk opener, Lexus Night View system discontinued.
The GS 300h hybrid model includes a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle inline-four engine with a D-4S direct injection technology, derived from the third generation IS. The vehicle was unveiled at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show. The vehicle went on sale in China, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, but not in the US.
It is a version of Lexus GS 300h for European market, with 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine (181PS), two electric motors, a hard-drive navigation system with a 12.3-inch Monitor and Lexus Connected Services, Mark Levinson audio system, DVD player and rear-view camera with a monitor, among other features. The vehicle went on sale on 11 January 2014.
The revised GS debuted at Monterey Car Week in August 2015. Changes include a GS 200t variant equipped with the 2.0-liter 8AR-FTS turbocharged engine to replace the GS 250, and an update to the 3.5-liter V6, now upgraded to 2GR-FKS specification. that uses the Atkinson cycle and features founded on the previous 2GR-FSE motor. Additional changes include revised exterior elements (including front and rear trim, exterior lighting, wheels, and rocker panels), new active safety features, and a revised infotainment system. The GS 200t was renamed to GS 300 for the 2018 North American model year.
In 2018, Lexus discontinued the GS for European markets and replaced it with the front-wheel drive ES already sold in North America and some Asian countries. Lexus issued a press release saying that production of the GS will end as of August 2020.
The high performance "F" version of the GS, the GS F, was unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. It went on sale in the United States in November 2015 for the 2016 model year.
The GS F features a 5.0 L (4,969 cc) 2UR-GSE V8 engine with Atkinson cycle at cruising speeds, delivering a maximum output of 473 PS (467 bhp; 348 kW) at 7100 rpm and 389 lb⋅ft (527 N⋅m) of torque at 4800–5600 rpm. It is paired with a Toyota AA80E 8-speed transmission built by Aisin. The GS F is equipped with Brembo four-wheel power assisted disc brakes with anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA), vertical G-sensor for VDIM, rear Torsen or Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) with three operating modes (Standard, Slalom, or Track), monotube gas-filled shock absorbers and ball-jointed stabilizer bars, spindle grille with F-mesh pattern on the lower half, raised front hood, front cooling ducts, front fender ducts in the L shape, exclusive combination meters from LFA (a large centrally mounted tachometer that alters according to drive mode, digital and analog speedometer, differential torque vectoring monitor, G-force meter, oil and water temperature gauges, mileage information and a stopwatch), and an elliptical cross-section thick grip steering wheel.
The Lexus GS was used in Motorola Cup North American Street Stock Championship touring car series competition in 1998, beginning with two GS 400 race vehicles driven by Team Lexus in its inaugural season. For 1999, Team Lexus achieved its first victory with the GS 400 in its sixth race at Road Atlanta. The GS 400 was raced until 2001, when Team Lexus switched to the IS 300. In the mid-2000s, the GS 400 was entered in the V8Star Series touring car racing season, with Ronny Melkus competing in the V8 GS in 2003.
In 2006, Sigma Advanced Racing Development and Lexus entered a GS 450h performance hybrid sedan in the 24 Hours of Tokachi race in Hokkaido, Japan, the first time that a hybrid vehicle was introduced. In 2007, Lexus Canada also entered the GS 450h in the Targa Newfoundland event. In 2009, the GS 450h was used as a safety car at the Muscle Car Masters event held at Eastern Creek Raceway, Eastern Creek, New South Wales, Australia.
In 2008, Manabu "Max" Orido used a second generation JZS161 Aristo in Formula D competition. Orido has several second generation models with different equipment used for drifting events, some with prototype suspension, and fitted with parts from the export Lexus GS 300.
Sales data for Lexus GS generations are as follows. Sourced from manufacturer yearly data.
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