Lexus’ stubborn refusal to offer a diesel GS means the cheapest way into ownership is with this 2.5-litre petrol model.
Priced from £32,995, the GS 250 is much cheaper than the £44,995 GS 450h hybrid, but it doesn’t feel basic. It gets 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, while inside there’s the same leather and high-quality surfaces as in the GS 450h – and a vast digital dashboard, too.
The 206bhp V6 engine is smooth and well matched to its six-speed automatic gearbox, which offers quick changes via the steering wheel paddles.
Floor the throttle and it’s not as fast as the 338bhp GS 450h, but the car is still responsive. It will go from 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, and offers decent punch for overtaking. Around corners, the GS 250 feels much more playful than the GS 450h, and the lack of hybrid components means it’s 190kg lighter. It’s a much more agile car, and more fun as a result.
Still, the GS 250 always leans towards comfort – you can play with three different driving modes, but it remains subtle even in its stiffest setting.
The big drawback is running costs. The Lexus might have a ‘small’ petrol engine, but it’s no match for diesel rivals or even petrol versions of BMW and Audi executive cars. A similarly priced 530i emits 177g/km of CO2 compared to the GS’s huge 207g/km. The BMW is faster, too.
Lexus expects this model to make up two-thirds of GS sales in the UK, but it needs an economical small hybrid engine if it wants to steal customers from rival prestige brands. And we’ll have to wait until next year for that.