GS 250 makes affordable premium sedan
By Kim Tae-jong
Japanese cars were once icons of reliability that dominated the imported car market here before German competition started to overtake them in the late 2000s.
There are many possible explanations as to why Japanese cars lost pole position in the market. They struggled against damage to their reputation triggered by the Toyota recall crisis of 2009, a strong yen and output disruption in Japan due to an earthquake and subsequent tsunami last year. Or put simply, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have produced better cars.
Now, the Japanese auto industry is looking to catch up with its rivals here and regain their former lead by launching new models.
Leading the pack is the all-new Lexus GS 250 which is expected to jump start sluggish sales.
Lexus introduced this mid-sized sedan here in March to compete with the four-cylinder BMW 5 series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class models. The GS lineup has three variant models available here — the GS 250, the GS 350 and GS F Sport — offering drivers a choice of premier driving experiences at prices upwards of 59.8 million won.
The body span of the new GS remains almost unchanged from previous models. It is still 4.85 meters long with a wheelbase of 2.85 meters. But new distinctive design features can be noticed at a glance. The fourth-generation GS lineup catches the eye with its distinctive spindle grille and arrowhead lamps, contributing to a sharper, more dynamic look than earlier models.
The GS 250 shares many premier features with its predecessors, but its engine has been downsized in keeping with eco-friendly times, helping to make it more affordable. It is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 petrol engine but the GS 250 does not feel as underpowered as it sounds. Performance is credible, especially when changing gear using the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
In fact, maximum output is 206 horsepower at 6,400rpm with a peak torque of 253Nm that delivers 4,800rpm, taking only 8.6 seconds to reach 100km/h.
Another attraction is its three driving modes. This mid-sized Lexus used to mainly offer a comfortable and refined executive feeling but now it is also fun to drive depending on each driving mode. The steering is more accurate with improved feedback and the GS 250 steers more enthusiastically.
The interior materials and features also look and feel more luxurious, such as the understated aluminum analogue clock. Compared to the previous GS, the new model also has a more spacious interior, with notably more head and legroom for rear seat passengers.
It offers a range of new technology features such as the optimal seating position for the driver and safety provisions such as Pre-Crash Safety system, combined with Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitor and Lexus Night View.