The Lexus GS is all new this year, with available all-wheel drive, a new 3.0L V-6 engine, new dynamic and safety technology, and a long list of comfort and convenience features. A new 6-speed automatic transmission is coupeed with both the V-6 and the proven 4.3L V-8. An enlarged chassis with revised bodywork, updated suspension, new interior appointments, advanced safety features, and seven new paint schemes round out the changes to the 2006 model.
Entering its third generation, the GS Series is available in two trim levels: the V-6-powered 300 and the V-8-fitted 430. The GS 300 arrives standard with rear-drive architecture, or with the new optional all-wheel drive-a first for a Lexus passenger car. The system varies the front/rear torque split from 30/70 to 50/50, allowing the traditional performance advantages of a rear-drive vehicle to remain with the confidence of all-wheel traction available when required.
Power for the GS 300 comes from a 3.0L V-6, producing 245 hp and 130 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed, sequential-shift electronic automatic transmission is standard fare, and includes Power, Normal, and Snow modes. The up-level GS 430 receives a 4.3L V-8 developing 300 hp and 325 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels via the same 6-speed automatic as the GS 300. Standard features include SmartAccess keyless entry and push-button engine start, power trunk closer, leather-trimmed seats with front heat and 10-way power adjustment, Bluetooth wireless technology, one-touch up and down for all four windows, and a 130-watt premium audio system. Options include a power moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, headlamp washers, a DVD-based navigation system, a rear backup camera, ventilated front seats, a power rear sunshade, a Mark Levinson premium audio system, a rear spoiler, and all-season, run-flat tires.
Standard safety features include front, front knee, front side, and full side curtain air bags; force-limiting seat belts with pre-tensioners and automatic-locking retractors; four-channel ABS brakes with brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution and vehicle stability control; daytime running lamps; and a tire pressure-monitoring system. The GS also offers an optional Pre-Collision System that uses a radar sensor to help detect obstacles in front of the car, and a pre-collision system computer that uses vehicle speed, steering angle, and yaw rate inputs to determine if a collision is unavoidable. It then switches the adaptable variable suspension to "Sport" mode, preemptively retracts front seat belts, and pre-initializes Brake Assist so that additional braking is applied the instant the brake pedal is depressed.
The Lexus GS has been a part of the Midsize Premium Conventional segment since 1993. This group that has been dominated by the likes of the Lexus ES Series and BMW 5 Series features no fewer than 13 competitors, 11 of which are produced by Europe- and Japan-based companies.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Lexus ES Series led this segment with 67,577 sales in calendar year 2005. Next were the BMW 5 Series (52,722 units sold), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (50,383), and the Cadillac STS (33,497). Selling just 40 fewer units than the STS was the Lexus GS, at 33,457 units sold.