Thursday, November 21, 2013

Used Car Review - Lexus GS (2009-2012)

On the third day of Christmas Myk Belmonte gave to me... three Lexus sedans. One for me, one for my dad, and one for my mom.

2009-2012 Lexus GS

It may not ring a bell but Lexus, in my observation and opinion, target those who want luxury without the bling. Understated luxury, that is. Lexus owners are those who appreciate value and quality, hence their smooth lines and reliability. Plus, their dealerships would treat you as if you were in your home.

One of the longest running Lexus nameplates is the GS, having four generations since 1991. The third generation model we are featuring is the S190 GS launched in January 2005. While the options of V6 and V8 gasoline remain, a hybrid propulsion was added in 2006. This was the first time a Toyota equivalent (the Toyota Aristo) was not used so that markets would be using the Lexus name. Development started as early in 1999 with a design patent filed in December 2003.

Facing the battle with the Philippine market BMW 5 Series and Mercedes Benz E Class, the GS was introduced to Filipino consumers in January 2009 amid the economic crisis. Our market received the updated model, sold elsewhere since 2008. Until March 2012 you can buy one brand new.

Value and Costs
A trip to Lexus' pre-owned section reveals that this sedan is a bargain, especially you can get one for P3,000,000 or less. Why go to the pre-owned section then? These units are inspected and a warranty is given.

Expect high maintenance costs since a V8 engine resides under the hood. I know this is cliche, but for your information (and also your benefit) Lexus Manila (or any dealership worldwide) has a comfortable ambiance and exemplary service.

Exterior and Interior
The L-finesse styling was first applied to the GS, and the execution is flawlessly done. It may have some resemblance to the 2006-2012 Camry but it shows more usage of concave and convex angles that contribute to a more machismo styling. Curves are everywhere and the result is a sharp looking sedan, unlike the previous model which lacked character.

Leather here, leather there, it is everywhere inside the cabin from the seats down to the dashboard. Wood trim comes standard, which I think, does not fit the sporty personality of the vehicle. Dominating the center console is a touch screen monitor that displays information for the radio and air-conditioning. Controls are placed accordingly and of high quality, which is a good thing. Other luxurious items added include a front sunroof and a Mark Levinson sound system with 14 speakers (yes, you read it right) and a cassette player. While it seats five, four is recommended for maximum comfort since the center console hampers the middle passenger's comfort. But then, this is no LS which is the king in passenger space.

The local distributor brought in a monstrous 1UR-FE 4,608cc V8 gasoline which pumps out 322hp at 6,400rpm and 440Nm at 4,000rpm. It is one sleeper, the V8 is rev happy and encourages you to drive harder. Bulky as it is, the GS is one fast vehicle.

Driving Impressions
For the inexperienced driver who wants something with a V8 engine, a traction control (which can be deactivated anyway) comes standard to ensure you are still alive. Have some side sliding fun and the traction control kicks in to provide enough stopping ability and a heavier steering. Apart from that, having eight gears to play means there is a gear set for each power setting. Fuel economy is more than decent, thanks to the transmission's numerous gears. Cabin isolation, as expected in Lexus vehicles, is excellent.

Definitely not close to a Bimmer in the driving experience but the GS comes close. Still a great choice for people who want something low key while having a smile on their face. The dealership experience is a bonus, too.

The Good:
  • The quality you get from a Lexus
  • Top notch refinement
  • Lexus service is tops
The Bad:
  • Not that ergonomic
  • Not a sight on the classifieds
  • Not cheap to maintain and own
The Pick: GS460

Engine: 4,608cc 1UR-FE V8 gasoline
Power: 322hp @ 6,400rpm
Torque: 440Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 5-7km/L (city), 7-9km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone with adaptable variable suspension, rear independent multi-link with adaptable variable suspension

Price (New): P5,000,000-P5,328,000
Price (Now): P3,000,000 (estimated)
Rivals: Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Mercedes Benz E Class
On Sale: 2009-2012

Lexus Manila - (02) 856-5050

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