Official Photos and Info
With no hint of Eastern inscrutability, Toyota boss Akio Toyoda defined the Lexus GS mid-luxe rear-drive model’s mission ages ago: Attack the European sports sedan squadron—Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and soon Alfa Romeo—with determination. Given that task, Lexus has broadened the GS roster by adding a value edition powered by a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine. The new-for-2016 GS200t follows Continental protocol to the letter with a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter inline-four delivering a potent 241 horsepower at 5800 rpm and a persuasive 258 lb-ft of torque.
This is the third in a series of four turbocharged moves. The GS200t follows the NX and IS and precedes use of this tiny terror in the RC.
True to form, the GS200t’s powerplant embodies most of the contemporary design themes: direct fuel injection, twin-scroll turbo for rapid response, variable intake and exhaust valve timing, and 500-cc-per-cylinder displacement. While most of the Euro engines following this format have a stroke larger than their bore to minimize combustion-chamber volume, the new Lexus four is constructed around a square 3.39-by-3.39-inch layout. Maximum boost has not been revealed for this premium-fuel engine, but its torque plot is as flat as an engineering textbook from 1650 to 4400 rpm. The 6100-rpm redline should sync nicely with the only transmission offered, an electronically controlled, paddle-shifted automatic with eight closely spaced ratios.
Lexus predicts the run to 60 mph will take 7.2 seconds for this 3800-pound rear-drive-only four-door (which is a few pounds heavier than the V-6–powered RWD GS350), but compensation comes in the form of class-competitive efficiency: 20 to 22 mpg in city driving, 30 to 33 mpg on the highway, and an EPA combined rating between 24 and 26 mpg. (The lower figures apply to GS200t models equipped with the F Sport option, which includes 19-inch wheels and tires versus the base model’s 17-inch equipment.)
While prices won’t be announced until this family addition arrives in dealerships this fall, we’re expecting a base sticker in the mid-thirties, several thou below the GS350 and substantially less than the GS450h performance hybrid, which has 338 combined-system horsepower to bundle a 5.7-second zero-to-60 sprint with EPA-rated 31-mpg combined fuel mileage.
While stirring the GS pot, Lexus cooks sprinkled additional spices throughout the entire 2016 menu. The essential spindle grille and various front and rear design details are fresh, the selection of 18- and 19-inch wheels is new, and the color palette has been expanded to a full dozen hues. The 3.5-liter V-6 in the GS350 gets additional power and torque, the totals now ringing in at 311 and 280 versus 306 and 277. The previously announced GS F hot rod also arrives for 2016.
Inside, leather color and trim selections are broadened. Aluminum scuff plates adorned with the Lexus logo sparkle at every doorsill. There remains a memory mode for the driver’s seat position, the exterior mirror settings, and the steering wheel’s location. Lexus Enform Service Connect has been added to convey welcome messages and other greetings from home base. There’s also a new Lexus Safety System+ option that combines automatic braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with automatic steering assist, intelligent headlamp high-beam control, and radar-based cruise control.
As the fourth-generation GS enters its fourth model year, the arrival of a four-cylinder engine is consistent with the master plan. At the house of meticulous execution, Lexus strives to match the competition’s every move. The only surprise is how long it took the GS to join the booster club.