Most recent Lexus GS 300
Last redesigned for 2006, the third-generation Lexus GS 300 lasted only one year, as Lexus installed a powerful new 3.5-liter V6 in its rear-drive midsize sedan the following year, prompting a name change to GS 350. With the exception of their engines, the GS 300 and 350 are identical.
Upon its debut, there was nothing radical about the third-gen GS 300. Its bodywork was fresh and modern, but followed the same basic lines as the previous model. It was motivated by a new, all-aluminum 3.0-liter V6 capable of 245 horsepower, matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the default rear-drive setup, buyers were given the option of all-wheel drive. With either drivetrain, acceleration was acceptably brisk (with 60 mph coming up in the 7-second range), though the heavier GS 300 AWD model felt soft off the line. Power delivery was undeniably smooth.
Lacking the adaptive suspension of the V8-powered GS 430, the Lexus GS 300 offered little inspiration when pushed around corners. Instead, it excelled as a highway cruiser, carrying itself with grace over most road irregularities while shielding its occupants from most outside noise. This made it easy for the GS 300 driver and passenger to settle back into its plush seats and enjoy the optional Mark Levinson sound system. An intuitive control layout contributed to the GS 300's relaxing nature.
Major standard equipment on the GS 300 included HID headlights, leather upholstery, wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, stability control and a complete menu of side, head and knee airbags. Options included DVD navigation, a rear backup camera, adaptive cruise control and the PreSafe accident preparedness system.
In a 2006 comparison test of all-wheel-drive luxury sport sedans, a Lexus GS 300 AWD brought up the rear in a field of five. "With a V8 and the right options, the 2006 Lexus GS is a good sport sedan," our author wrote. "Give it a V6 and a softer suspension with all-season tires and there's less to get excited about. Luxurious and capable, the Lexus didn't have enough personality to stand out in this crowd."
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