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Lexus GS430 PDF Print E-mail

The Lexus brand has been around for almost 15 years but it is only now that second-generation models are coming into their own and proving just what masterpieces of engineering these motor cars really are.

Strangely, Lexus does not introduce new models on a regular basis, perhaps demonstrating the strength of the brand.  It has become ultra-successful – particularly in the United States where it is market leader in its segment – almost despite itself.

To maintain this position, Lexus has recently introduced the new GS430, a revised four-door sports sedan of the previous GS300 and GS430 models.  The original GS series was launched in 1993 but it did not receive the same kind of critical acclaim as the LS400, despite carrying much of the same hardware.  In 2000, the model was upgraded and a 4.3 liter V8 was made available, to complement the existing 3-liter V6.

Now the 2005 GS430 is shortly to go on sale in Europe, sporting a revised 300 bhp (220 kW), 32-valve V8, or a new direct injection, gasoline V6.  Both engines are mated to an all new, close-ratio, six-speed automatic transmission, complete with steering wheel-mounted sequential manual shift.

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Lexus GS430
A number of other innovative features are part of the comprehensive equipment list in the GS, including variable damper settings: normal mode for everyday comfort, or sports mode for improved handling. A new, variable assistance electric power steering system is fitted, while there is a radar sensor that detects obstacles in front of the car and activates a pre-crash safety system that will automatically optimize seat belt and emergency braking efficiency.  By comparing the information received from the radar with the speed of the vehicle, the steering angle and the yaw rate, the system takes up any excess slack in the front seat belts and activates the brake assist to aid emergency braking.

Other safety features include vehicle stability control, now with the added feature of being able to detect the onset of a skid and automatically correct, traction control, water-repellent glass for the front doors and the usual side impact door beams and deformable front and rear structures.

Adaptive headlamps are fitted, which move according to the steering angle, an innovation pioneered by German luxury manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

As with all previous and current Lexus (Lexi?) there is a superb, concert-hall reproduction audio system fitted as standard, complete with multiple speakers and an in-dash, 6-disc CD player.  When the first Lexus hit the streets in 1989 it was the sound system that received the most compliments and Toyota should be congratulated for continuing this high quality audio in its luxury brand.

Similarly, the quality of the wood trim cannot be bettered.  Originally taken from the same walnut veneer as Yamaha pianos, the GS430 is simply superb throughout the passenger compartment, including the walnut- and leather-trimmed steering wheel.

The steering wheel itself is fully adjustable for both rake and reach and incorporates a tilt-away mechanism when the driver’s door is opened.  The driver’s seat features a memory that also adjusts the outside mirrors and steering wheel position: standard on the GS430, optional on the GS300.

Other nice touches include automatic headlamps, a dual-zone automatic climate control system with a smog sensor and automatic recirculation mode – useful in Bangkok traffic jams, if nowhere else – and a universal transceiver that will operate electric gates, garage doors or home security systems.

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Lexus GS430
All-in-all this is the best Lexus yet and should stem the tide of European imports that threaten Toyota’s supremacy in North America.  Despite the excellent BMW 5-series and the success of the E-Class Mercedes in many countries, including south-east Asia, the new GS430 is certainly worth a closer look.

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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