Lexus wants very badly for buyers to believe that “boring” is a word of the company’s past. The 2019 Lexus GS evokes terms of excitement: sharp dynamics, focused technology, and voluptuous styling. Although it’s not without flaws, the GS hasn’t lost its typical Lexus virtues: comfort, quality, and value.
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2019 Lexus GS Overview
What's New for 2019
The Lexus GS returns largely unchanged for 2019, other than a new smartphone and smartwatch app. Most significantly, Lexus is dropping the hybrid powertrains from GS production. ES and LS sedans retain their hybrid variants, but the GS 450h is no more.
Choosing Your Lexus GS
Choosing a GS begins with choosing from one of three engines, each of which denotes a trim level.
First up is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque found in the GS 300 and GS 300 F Sport. It may only be paired with rear-wheel drive, but it’s good for an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon city, 32 mpg highway, and 26 combined, or 21/30/24 mpg (city/highway/combined) in the 300 F Sport.
If four cylinders doesn’t sound like enough, the next step up is a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 found in the GS 350 and GS 350 F Sport. It delivers 311 hp and 280 lb-ft to either the rear or all four wheels, and the extra power is enough to scoot the GS from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Mileage does suffer much – the V6 manages 20/28/23 mpg in rear-wheel drive, 19/26/21 mpg with all-wheel drive, and 19/27/22 mpg in the 350 F Sport.
But the V6’s power (and thirst) pale in comparison to the all-out performance of the third engine, a throaty 5.0-liter V8 found in the GS F. Available only with rear-wheel drive, this engine pumps out 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque and is good for a zero-to-60 mph sprint of 4.5 seconds. Mileage drops to an EPA-estimated 16/24/19 mpg.
It’s worth mentioning one of the strongest attributes of any GS, which is safety. Every GS that rolls off the line comes standard with Lexus’ Safety System Plus, which includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and automatic high beams. These features join parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring for a fairly comprehensive set of safety tech – the only safety options left are a head-up display and cornering headlights.
The 2019 Lexus GS 300 is no slouch, but its 2.0-liter engine lags the competition. It’s worth upgrading to the GS 350 for the V6, and the GS 350 F Sport is even sweeter in the corners.
2019 Lexus GS Review
The 2019 Lexus GS brings a performance element with its available V8 option. It delivers handsome looks and good value in a highly competitive segment. Some may find the base engine too weak to power this mid-size luxury sedan and the tech offerings could certainly be better.
The 2019 Lexus GS is a mid-size luxury car with room for five. That said, the similar-sized Lexus ES sedan offers better interior space. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available on the GS 350 and GS 350 F Sport and standard with the GS F.
We find the standard engine on the GS 300 too weak, so we encourage shoppers to begin their search with the GS 350. Standard GS features include LED headlights, aluminum-alloy wheels, a power moonroof, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, a 12-speaker audio system, and a long list of driver-assist features. Here's how we'd build our ideal one:
- Model:2019 Lexus GS 350
- Engine:3.5-liter V6
- Output:311 hp / 280 lb-ft
- Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy:20 City / 28 Hwy
- Base Price:$52,120 (including the $1,025 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$52,120
Base GS 300 models are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. As equipped, the GS 300 makes an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon city, 32 mpg highway, and 26 combined. The Lexus GS 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine making 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel-drive models have an eight-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive versions come with a six-speed automatic transmission. This model makes 20/28/23 mpg (city/highway/combined). Finally, Lexus equips the GS F, an all-wheel-drive model, with a 5.0-liter V8 engine. This one makes 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rates this model at 16/24/19 mpg.
While the base engine delivers adequate power under normal conditions and the V8 has copious amounts of power at its disposal, we think the middle V6 engine is just right for most shoppers. For this reason, the GS 350 is our pick. We can dream about the GS F, but its price tag adds more than $30,000 to this sedan.
Buyers should take note that the RWD GS 350 works with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the AWD version works with a six-speed automatic. Both transmissions work beautifully with the V6 engine, switching between cogs almost unnoticeably. We especially like the GS’ connected steering and spot-on handling. Combine these with a very comfortable ride and the GS is a formidable entrant in a segment that includes the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Not every sedan that has been on the market ages well, but the Lexus GS has. We’re not certain it'll be around for long, but in the meantime it matches well against the competition.
The spindle grille featured on every Lexus product looks great here. We especially like the look in F Sport trim as the grille is garnished with a mesh covering. Lots of detailing, including handsome curves and cut lines which bring attention to the GS’ body. Especially fetching is the rear deck with its strong horizontal themes combined with shapes and squared-off portions.
Inside, the cabin is no less interesting than the exterior. The big, sharp gauges are simple beautiful and the horizontal lines throughout are nicely sculpted. The quality of materials used as well as fit and finish are superb. Lexus is second to none in this department.
The Best and Worst Things
The best and worst things are the GS’ powertrain offerings. On one hand, you have a fire-breathing V8 engine and all the performance attributes that come with it. On the other hand, the standard four-cylinder engine has to work hard to move this sizable sedan. Thus, the V6 supplies a satisfying middle ground.
Right For? Wrong For?
If you’re inclined to all things luxury sedan, the Lexus GS is a top pick. It looks good, has aged well, and supplies the driving attributes we expect. If you need utility, then this sedan simply can't cut it. Instead, consider the Lexus RX, which is a top-seller for this luxury brand.
The Bottom Line
The 2019 Lexus GS offers good value among competitors, handsome looks, and decent fuel economy. It truly shines in a shrinking mid-size sedan segment, even if its long-term survival is in question.