I may have misheard. I’m slightly mutton.
This is the new Lexus GS. It’s more full of toys and trickery than just about anything short of a Typhoon fighter. I like the head up display and the Lane Keeping Assist gizmo which can do a little steering for you when you can no longer be arsed to steer for yourself. Possibly. It has a Lane Departure Warning system. If I had designed it, it would be a small anxious person in the front passenger seat who would yell, “Look where you’re going! Pay attention, please! I don’t want to die!” Lexus’ engineers have probably come up with something more electronic.
I like the exterior styling. I have a weakness for those integrated exhaust pipe doodahs. The current LS has something similar, as does the Vauxhall Insignia VXR. Its ones are a little more flamboyant. The W12 version of the last Audi A8 had a particularly fine set of integrated exhausts, as I remember. Anyway, the GS takes on some of the L-Finesse design language from the LS and kind of skooches it together with the little CT styling to get something that the Hyundai i40 probably wants to be when it grows up. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. The current GS is a little sad; it’s not quite memorable enough. In fact, I had to go and have a look at it on Lexus’ website and was surprised. When I started writing this post I was thinking about the Mark 2 version, which replaced the very first one and was in turn replaced some time ago. I think of myself as a Lexus fan and even I can’t remember what the current GS is supposed to look like. The new one, which Lexus is launching at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, is a huge improvement. I think it’s the best looking GS since the first one and a suitably dynamic stablemate to the rather sober LS.
Lexus interiors are usually places where even the most button-fixated rotter can easily lose a couple of hours playing with all the toys. There is a Mark Levinson stereo system available with a rather worrying 835W output and 7.1 channel Surround Sound. That would have me curled up in a small ball in the footwell, my head in my hands, begging someone to turn the sound down. Maybe that’s why the GS has that active Lane Keeping Assistant thingie. The multimedia screen on the cars with sat-nav is bigger than the one on the laptop on which I’m writing this post. As long as it has a DAB receiver so I can get uninterrupted TMS, I’ll be a happy man.
Britain will get a GS450h hybrid and a downsized GS250, presumably with the engines and drivetrains adapted from the current GS and IS cars. Nary a sign of a diesel engine in spite of its importance in the European market. These cars are not really intended for Europe. These are for the US and Asia where they’ll probably sell very well. They’ll continue to sell in small numbers in the UK. Sales start in 2012 to people who want something a little different and really, really hate diesels.