Something Wicked This Way Dies: Lexus GS Lined Up for Execution, Gasps Out a Final Special Edition

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
something wicked this way dies lexus gs lined up for execution gasps out a final

That a print advertisement can still remain (near) top of mind two decades later speaks to the power of marketing, and maybe a little to the vehicle behind that famous ad: the Lexus GS.

After announcing a limited run of 2020 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Black Line Special Edition — a vehicle the brand calls the “best ever” GS, the automaker admitted that this is it for the model. The GS, which added a modicum of muscle to Lexus’ image back in the 90s, won’t live beyond the summer.

It was a long time coming, as no one could find any hint of a next-generation GS in Toyota’s product pipeline. Last year the premium brand axed the slow-selling base GS 300 model for 2020, further raising suspicion of a looming discontinuation.

The GS is a midsize, rear-drive car, and if you hadn’t noticed, those aren’t exactly selling like gangbusters these days.

“We are constantly evaluating model mixes throughout our lineup,” a Lexus spokesperson told Motor Authority on Friday. “In the declining sedan segment, GS family has represented a small amount of sales in the last few years.”

The GS was the worst-performing model in Lexus’ lineup last year, with full-year sales falling 48.8 percent compared to 2018. Lexus claims the model accounted for just 4 percent of its passenger car sales, or 0.8 percent of sales in the midsize luxury segment.

Indeed, the 3,378 units Lexus unloaded last year was a dismal tally compared to years past. In 2012 and 2014, the GS topped the 20,000 mark; in the late ’90s, after the release of the second-generation model (MY1998) that prompted the famous ad campaign, Lexus reliably sold more than 30,000 GS sedans per year, with that barrier last topped in 2005.

While the model never set sales charts alight, it did offer enough sport and luxury to temp discerning buyers like Corey.

So, what of the GS’ swan song? Just 200 of the limited edition models will roll off the line, boasting (funereal?) gloss black F Sport wheels, decklid spoiler, and side mirror caps and available in rear- or all-wheel-drive guise. Two colors, Ultra White and Caviar can be had. Inside, red accenting, Alcantara trim, and carbon fiber ornamentation tells all passengers they’re driving in something special, even if the 3.5-liter V6 under hood is stock GS 350.

In the trunk, you’ll find a two-piece luggage set (carry-on and travel case) designed for Lexus by Zero Halliburton, because why not. Lexus hasn’t yet listed pricing, but expect a decent markup from your basic GS 350 F Sport figures.

[Images: Lexus]

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  • Werewolf Werewolf on Apr 27, 2020

    I own a 4th gen GS350 and owned a 2nd gen GS400. The attraction of the GS is that it was the sporty sedan option in the Lexus family. The appeal is not the fastest car in the class but the one that lasts the longest with enough grunt to have fun every now and then. RWD is also a big selling point for me I buy used and own for a long time time which makes the German options painful as electronics, sensors failure and the upkeep costs grow. When I see 5-series and E-classes at the pump, it's pity not envy I feel - having owned both those cars before and spending too much quality time with my mechanic and trying to fix it myself plus the depreciation hits. I don't get tax benefits from leasing nor do I enjoy constant monthly payments. To me a depreciated Lexus is a sweet spot as 60k sedans have most of the bells/whistles and safety features. This class of vehicle is increasingly electronic with better engines and less road feel. I don't believe a car should be designed and manufactured to be semi-disposable. If I were to buy German, it would be a Panamera (older due to price points) rather than a BMW or a Merc due to the engineering philosophy.

  • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Apr 27, 2020

    Sad to lose choice for midsize rwd. As noted, Toyota gave up with this car a long time ago. I think when they dropped the v8. Even if the v8s are a small percentage of sales, back when this car still had a chance a V8 option was required to be taken seriously. This GS also had the misfortune of competing with the w212 E class, which also focused on comfort and was one of the best cars Mercedes had built in a long time.

    • See 1 previous
    • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Apr 29, 2020

      @dal20402 Only if you went all the way up to the GS-F. It needed a V8 without everything else that comes with the F. I'm also disappointed that Mercedes makes you get an amg to get a V8 on the w213, but that stands out less in the world of the 2.0T. Toyota was ahead of the times in pulling the v8 from the volume trims. I think too soon.

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.