By on August 23, 2019

Image: Lexus

The Lexus GS, a midsize, rear-drive sports sedan that first rode into the North American market in 1993, is today a slow-selling model in danger of discontinuation.

For 2020, one member of the GS lineup will indeed bite the dust.

According to CarsDirect, dealer order guides for the upcoming model year show no sign of the entry-level GS 300, the most affordable — and slowest — of the GS line. A Lexus spokesperson confirmed the model’s discontinuation for 2020.

According to Alissa Moceri, “the GS 300 represented a small percentage of GS sales in 2018.”

Certainly, spotting a new GS of any type is a difficult task. The model’s U.S. sales totalled 305 units in July, with June seeing just 214 GS models leave dealer lots. Last year’s GS sales amounted to just over a quarter of 2015’s volume, which was a post-recession high water mark for the sedan.

As Toyota mulls dropping bodystyles and models, the GS is seen as a prime candidate for the chopping block. Sedan sales of all types are on the decline, and Lexus is already well stocked with traditional four-doors. Currently, no rumors or official word exists of a pending redesign for the GS, a model that has soldiered on in its current guise since 2011.

The GS 300 utilized a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, good for 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. While this rare sight won’t live to see another model year, the GS 350 and its F Sport variant, in both RWD and AWD guise, will soldier on, offering buyers more power in the form of a 3.5-liter V6. The larger of the two mills generates 311 hp and 280 lb-ft. Also returning is the hot GS F and its 467 hp, 389 lb-ft 5.0-liter V8.

With the GS 300 gone, GS’s pricing floor climbs a few steps. For 2020, the model line starts at $52,420 after destination for a GS 350 RWD.

[Image: Lexus]

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42 Comments on “Less-than-wicked Lexus GS 300 Heads Behind the Barn...”


  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I could have sworn that the GS line had been killed already. I swear I read a bunch of articles a couple years ago saying it was dead after 2018.

    I did a quick search and see that it was a bunch of articles from early/mid 2017 saying there was a rumor of it and the IS being culled, but I could have sworn the IS got a reprieve and the GS was in fact done.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      The original GS was a distinct car. This one is so bland, it can not be told from ES

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, it is dead, supposed to be IIRC. Or is it walking dead? Please spare us – kill it already!

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Yes, it needs to be killed, with fire. With the Camry XSE V6 there seems little point to this dated model.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m sorry, you’re comparing front-drive American Camry with cost-cut components to rear-drive JDM platform GS.

          It’s really very clear you’ve little idea what you’re saying.

          • 0 avatar

            He meant Lexus ES. Same size or larger, same great Toyota DNA, less money, perfectly suited for US roads and tastes. Yeah GS is also ugly looking but that is not enough to compete with ES. “Unwashed” masses do not care for RWD or Fahrvergnügen or even JDM. All they want is more Toyota for less money.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “do not care for RWD or Fahrvergnügen or even JDM.”

            What about a person that does care about these things?

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            I don’t Corey? Why don’t you explain to me how it matters that this automatic transmissiin, traction control, stability control equipped low HP marshmallow is RWD v FWD? How in heck would you be able to tell? LOL! I’m sure that this is rear-wheel-drive is relevant to exactly three buyers of this thing, at best.

            Needs to be killed, with fire. Half-assed efforts like this are why nobody wants to drive passenger cars anymore IMO.

          • 0 avatar

            “How in heck would you be able to tell?”

            By driving it, which you’ve clearly not done. It’s very easy to tell the difference between front and rear-wheel drive cars.

          • 0 avatar

            “What about a person that does care about these things?”

            First two – to buy Cadillac, third one – to move to Japan.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Dead or alive it is still a losing proposition.

      Lexus loses it value just like any other luxury vehicle.  So I wouldn’t believe the wive’s  tale about Lexus holding their value. Residual values are set by the banks and the food chain of auction and dealerships just play along to make as much money as they can out the consumers.

      Edmunds long term test of the Lexus GS loosing over 1/3 of it’s value from MSRP.

      “Resale and Depreciation:

      We accumulated 20,940 miles on our 2013 Lexus GS 350. Edmunds’ TMV® Calculator valued the vehicle at $47,431 based on a private-party sale. The market did not seem to support this price, as CarMax offered us $40,000 and the best we could muster from a private partywas $41,000. This made for 30-percent depreciation from our paid price of $58,377. We were disappointed

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      GS already culled in Europe (replaced by the ES which hasn’t exactly improved sales over there).

      Next IS is in development (based on TNGA) and there has been talk of the IS 2 generations from now using Mazda’s upcoming RWD platform and I6 motor.

      In contrast, nothing has been heard about the “next” GS.

      As for the GS 300, it flopped in part b/c it is under-powered compared to its turbo-4 competition; the same reason the GS-F doesn’t sell.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    I’m still processing it being called a sports sedan. I guess I just never thought of it that way. Though I am sure the trim with the 5 liter is pretty sporting.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    This is what I wanted to wait for almost eight years ago when I wound up with an A6 as my company car instead. Later I learned that the GS had a dearth of rear seat legroom, and I consoled myself for missing out because the A6 had a great back seat. Then my employer replaced the A6 with an A7 that had about as awful a back seat as one could ever hope for in a midsized car. The GS-F still sounds great, but I don’t have a company car now and I’m saving for a 2020 Anniversary Land Cruiser. Besides, this poor thing definitely wears more of a predator maw than a spindle grill.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Internet Commentariat – get your 5.0 before they’re gone!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The 2.0’s no loss. Losing the GS line, though – which looks inevitable at this point – is a shame.

    I wonder how Corey’s GS is doing?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The smaller engine never blimped sales of the GS thry seldom sold more than 309/month. The 547 available on cars dot com doesn’t help.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen 4th-gen GS with the 2.0T in the wild. The hybrid GS? I guess I’ve probably seen it, though I don’t specifically recall when. Virtually all of them have had the 3.5 V6.

      I think the 8AR-FTS actually is a really good engine–I give Toyota a lot of credit for making it dual-injected–but it seems a lot more appropriate as the base engine in the RC and IS than it does in the GS. Or maybe as a GS engine in markets with punitive displacement taxes.

      It is a shame to see the GS go. I like choice and saw it as a good thing that Lexus offered both its German-style RWDers and the ES in the same showroom.

      The one GS owner I know has been really happy with it.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Agreed, I drove an IS with this engine, and it was a definite improvement over the previous 2.5 V-6 base motor.

        The whole “2.0T in a big RWD luxury sedan” thing has to end, and Lexus isn’t the only one doing it – Mercedes E-class, BMW 5-series, Audi A6 and Cadillac CTS (pour one out) all had the same basic powerplant. Heck, Caddy even put one in the CT6 for a while. Smaller sedans are well suited for this type of powerplant, but big sedans aren’t.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s good, I’m pleased with it so far. It’s quiet and comfortable. Plenty of power when you stomp on it, and the transmission is usually quick witted. Complaints include rear seat room not being quite what I’d expect, and no sunglasses holder. I also don’t like the concealed buttons for parking sensors and rear shade, which hide under the console lid. Mouse usage is finicky, I still scroll past menu icons I want to select.

  • avatar
    BC

    I’m in the market for a reliable RWD midsized sports sedan. The GS has a great interior but its old, old looking, and the 3.5L v6 with the slow shifting 8 speed is not up to sports sedan specs. Lexus will kill the GS most likely. That can be forgiven if they grow the IS, keep it RWD, and make it fun to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The GS isn’t good at being a “sport sedan” (and never has been) but it’s great at being a Lexus, meaning it’s one hell of a cruiser.

      You can find clean, off-lease examples going for mid-to-high 20s, which is an epic bargain for this car.

      BTW, it looks as if the plan here is to make the ES into a quasi GS.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. Monte

        This last gen was indeed good at being a sports sedan, especially in the F-Sport trim. It handled better and has better steering feel etc the the 5 series and E, it even won a comparo when it came out as best mid size Sports Sedan against them when it came out. Also the 2nd gen was pretty good at it as well!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      BMW 5 series, as in 535, 540, 545. Know a guy who owns an old 540, bought new many years ago.

      Loves it even more today than he did yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.

      Seriously.

      If he can’t trap anyone else, he’ll call me and say, “Hey Cat, wanna hit the road? I’ll buy ya lunch in…..(wherever out of town he’s going to go.)

  • avatar
    gasser

    I drove this 2.0 T in a Lexus NX 200t. I was unimpressed with their performance (base model fwd). I can’t imagine this in the GS “sports sedan”. For reference, I got a GLC 300 2wd and, for me, its fine, ample acceleration, so I’m not one of those 500 hp is a must characters.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Interesting comparison. I’m guessing several factors are at play there, gasser:
      1) Given a cost-longevity-economy-power equation to weigh, Toyota-Lexus engineers are going to arrive at a more conservative tune than Daimler engineers. E.g., he 8AR-FTS actually goes into a Prius-like pseudo-Atkinson mode under light-load conditions. Not that Daimler guys are building a funny car engine that blows up after a quarter mile, but I’m guessing power is relatively more important to them and that the NX’s power deficit might actually be bigger than what’s on paper.
      2) Your GLC is on the C-Class platform, yes? A longitudinal I4 is going have a freer-breathing exhaust than an otherwise similar transverse engine.
      3) The rwd GLC would have better acceleration weight transfer than would the fwd NX.
      4) A 10-second search didn’t reveal the weights of the two vehicles, but I’d guess the GLC is lighter. I think the NX has about 400 lbs of structural bolstering to make it feel more premium than the platform-mate RAV4. I’ll note that I think Lexus largely succeeded in that regard. They didn’t add 400 lbs to no good end.
      5) Both the GLC and the NX are pretty fast in an historical context, so you’re not a 0.0 on the “500 hp is a must” scale. ;-) The GLC looks to be about 0.5 to 1 second faster 0-60, depending on trim level and who’s testing. They’re both quick in my book, though.

      My parents have an NX and on balance I like it. My main gripes would be:
      – the touch pad, which is as bad as the internet says it is.
      – a greenhouse that could be much airier, but that’s an industry-wide complaint at this point.
      – this, which is a pretty common complaint on Lexus forums: https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2018/MC-10141589-9999.pdf.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The GS 450h was the best of the group, and it was already discontinued after the 2018 model year for low sales. If I didn’t need more space than it has I might well own a GS 450h today.

    I really wonder how they can possibly be producing this few cars cost-effectively, when the GS doesn’t sell for exotic prices.

    • 0 avatar
      saturnotaku

      GS hasn’t been fully redesigned since 2011, so I imagine all of the R&D and other associated costs have been mostly, if not completely, paid for. So production and sales and a low volume probably aren’t hurting Toyota’s bottom line much, if at all.

  • avatar

    And good riddance to an entry-level model which was unsuitable to begin with. If you need to save money that badly, buy an IS.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Raising hand as person whose driving is largely crawling on surface streets in heavy traffic. As such, I’d at least give consideration to a GS 200t (I can’t call it by the stupid 300 name) over the 350. The I4T to V6 upgrade looks to be about $4,000 regardless of whether it’s in the IS, RC, or GS. That needs to be weighed against the size and total cost of the car, of course. In the IS, I’d almost certainly opt for the 2.0t. In the RC, I’d probably opt for the 2.0t, but it wouldn’t be a slam dunk – more like 60% likelihood. In the GS, I’d probably opt for the V6, but with like 80% likelihood.

      It wouldn’t be solely about saving money, it would be about not spending more money than I need to when (a) I can’t use the power anyway much of the time and (b) because when I can use the power, a car that does 0-60 in 7.0 seconds can get me into “go to jail” territory pretty quickly. I’d feel differently if the 8AR-FTS were a dog, but it’s not.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “largely crawling on surface streets in heavy traffic.”
        “(a) I can’t use the power anyway much of the time and (b) because when I can use the power, a car that does 0-60 in 7.0 seconds can get me into “go to jail” territory pretty quickly. ”

        Why buy an RC or IS in the first place then? While neither are Nismo-level they both live on the “sporty” side of life compared to most things, which it sounds like you have no use for. An ES or GX seems much more up your alley given your use case.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          I was speaking hypothetically, only about what engine I’d pick if I were looking at the Lexus 2.0T/3.5 models.

          Non-hypothetically, smaller cars can be nicer if you’re in heavier traffic on narrow streets. Squeezing around left turners and so forth. Crawling on a city street, I’d rather be in an IS than in an ES; crawling on a commuter highway in exurbia, I’d rather be in an ES.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      IS owners were already doing that.

      The much-maligned IS250 made up 80% of IS sales.

  • avatar

    Is it BMW 5-series under skin?

  • avatar
    cprescott

    That product has never looked right from Day One. Now it is simply vomit inducing.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Had they just affixed a normal grill that followed the upper line of the bumper, this would be an attractive car.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Maybe they should have kept the original GS430 competitive, rather than letting it wither and then try to save it with a really-late 5.0 installation? When your top model has an anemic 3.5 V6 (similar to the standard Ford V6 in the Taurus, etc), there’s very little “Sport” left of your “Gran Sport” moniker..

  • avatar
    Featherston

    Good to know 311 HP is “anemic.”

    • 0 avatar
      MorrisGray

      It is ironic that nowadays people think they need so much horsepower to be satisfied. I owned a 1970 Dodge Charger 383 magnum engine (4sp) and a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 455 (4sp) and both these cars were considered true muscle cars back then. They were very exciting to drive and seemed pretty powerful. I don’t think either one of them had 300hp factory stock. My wife’s 2012 Genesis sedan was rated 333hp and has more than enough power in my opinion. So many people seemed concerned with 0-60mph ratings but that is so irrelevant for daily use of a car. I do enjoy a quick accelerating car but not for 0-60mph use. I don’t street race anymore and certainly don’t want any tickets. Times have changed and all I want is a dependable fun car to drive and it would be nice to still be able to order a car with only the options you want, like it used to be 40+/- years ago.


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