Lexus’s GS-series of sports sedans has been a perennial sales dog for years now, winning Toyota’s luxury brand few converts from its 5-Series, E-Class and A6 competition. In fact, it’s a testament to Lexus’s successes in building unconventional luxury niches with the RX and ES lines that it’s been able to become a major US market luxury brand without a popular full-sized luxury sedan. But with luxury sales competition heating up under pressure from BMW and Audi, it’s clear that Lexus isn’t willing to let the GS’s underachievement continue unaddressed.
With the LF-Gh concept, set to debut at the New York Auto Show, Lexus using its next-generation GS to show off its newly-aggressive evolution of the L-Finesse design language. But will expressive creases and Audi-esque headlight bling be enough to make the GS mare than a forgotten also-ran, or is the Gh’s hybrid drivetrain a hint that Lexus is moving towards a hybrid-only approach to stealing E-Class sales? Or will the German’s strongest segment continue to be the Waterloo of the Japanese luxury brands (See: Inifiniti M)? After seeing the teasers, we were tempted to give Lexus credit for gambling on a less-conventional design, but now that the whole design has been revealed, it’s clear that the changes aren’t as comprehensive as the detail shots suggested. Is that another missed opportunity we’re smelling?