Unless there’s currently one parked in your driveway, odds are good it’s been a while since you thought about the Lexus GS. After all, the current generation model was introduced almost a decade ago, and apart from the occasional engine tweak, it hasn’t seen much in the way of changes since. But when it arrived back in 2011, it was revolutionary, a harbinger of Toyota and Lexus’s corporate shifts in direction; its crisp, angular design pointed the way towards the luxury marquee’s future, while its lively handling proved president Akio Toyoda was serious when he said “no more boring cars.” In 2011, the GS seemed an outlier in Toyotaland; in 2020, it seems like a trendsetter.
Which is why we’re admittedly kind of sad to hear that the Lexus GS will be killed off this year.
Lexus made the announcement that GS production would end in August 2020 in a Japanese press release, then confirmed the bad news to Car and Driver. As with many things in business, low sales can be blamed; not only is the sedan segment overall declining, but the GS has seen a string of bad luck even by its standards. In the U.S., Lexus sold just 3,378 copies of the GS in 2019 — roughly half as many as the year before.
Also hurting it: improved intramural competition in the form of the Lexus ES, which has morphed from a soft, uninspiring luxo-Camry into a sharp-looking, surprisingly involving car based on the excellent new Avalon. With the ES offering compelling looks, newer tech and more room than the GS at a starting price $12,000 below the older car, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the ES outsells the GS by roughly a 15:1 ratio here in the States.
So we can’t blame Lexus for pulling the plug. But we will miss the GS — especially in the form of the extra-sporty GS F, whose 467 horsepower V8 may seem like small potatoes next to the likes of the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63, but who makes up for it with communicative handling and the noise and response that only a naturally-aspirated V8 can bring.
Still, on the plus side, Lexus’s famous build quality means you shouldn’t have much in the way of qualms about picking up a used GS if you still feel the need for one.
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