Apparently, the new Lexus GS can accommodate four sets of golf clubs. This was worrying news, but more followed.
The average Lexus GS owner could be a ‘Premium Family’, who live in a decent neighbourhood and the adults in this family have a golf handicap of 18.
This really was terribly concerning, because, according to ‘those in the know’, golf, as a sport, breeds people who have an interesting choice in stripey clothes and buy their cars to accommodate golf clubs, and to transport their family and ‘golf buddies’ in great comfort. ‘Those in the know’ believe that people of the golfing disposition are the ruination of car companies.
But I decided to do what every motoring journalist should do and forget the stereotype that comes with some new cars, and forget the words spoken by Lexus about their golfing customer base. I have no interest in what sport they play – would the car be any better or worse if it could fit skis in the back? No, it wouldn’t.
I decided instead to focus on the car itself, and what a beast it is. After arriving at Munich airport and being presented with bottles of Coke and some very suspicious looking sausages, we were taken to the fleet of new GS’, and my first thought was “they’re giving me this?!”
The new GS looks so much better than the old GS, and really shows Lexus is on a bit of a roll at the moment. The IS looks great, the CT200h looks excellent, and now the new GS looks brilliant too.
There are two engines available in the UK at the moment, the first of which, the 450h, has a 3.5 litre, 350 bhp V6 hybrid that can get from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155 mph (a speed I discovered is easily achievable on the Autobahn). The other car is the 250, which has a 2.5 litre, 206 bhp V6, and can get from 0-60 mph in about 8 seconds and on to a top speed of over 130 mph.
What is there to say? Well, I expected the 450 to feel faster; considering a Lamborghini Gallardo can get to 60 in about 4 seconds, I expected 5.9 seconds to feel really fast, but it didn’t at all. It wasn’t slow, by any means, but the power came more like it does in a Bentley – a tremendous surge that propels you down the road. The CVT gearbox doesn’t help (like the Yaris Hybrid I drove last week, CVT gearboxes, very basically, are like one gear that can do any speed and any revs) as you don’t get the satisfying pull up through gears, just a very loud engine.
The 250, however, has a six-speed semi-automatic, which is really good fun. There’s a bit of a delay between pulling the paddles and the next gear being selected, but you can be thrashing up a mountain one moment with all the fun of paddles, and then relaxing the next with the gearbox in ‘D’ just a few moments later.
That’s something else I noticed: the comfort. Everything feels solid and well put together, and I shudder to think how many cows laid down their lives to make the interior. Probably thousands.
All in all, the new Lexus GS is a very nice, relaxing car to drive – quiet, comfortable, refined and good looking. If I had my choice, I’d go for the 250, with a sign in the back saying “I’m not a golfer – I just have good taste”.
By Seán Ward