LEXUS GS ADDS A TURBO ENGINE GS200t FOR 2016
By Tom Crosby
Lexus gets it. As a brand, their prices may be too high for some but for the last decade, Lexus has consistently as a top tier brand for reliability, performance and value. The 2016 GS 200t four-door sedan replaces the GS 250 with a new 2.0-liter turbo engine and a Kelly Blue Book blessing as having the industry’s best resale value for a mid-size luxury sedan. For 2016, the spindle grill remains with only minor design and headlight and rear light changes differing from the GS 250.
The major change is the more powerful turbo engine. While there is some turbo lag from a stop, jamming the gas pedal for instant power surge on the highway provided a quick and smooth acceleration jump. The same engine is used by the smaller Lexus IS and NX sedans and RC coupe. (Other GS sedans include the more powerful GS 350 and hybrid GS 450h.) The ride is well cushioned at all speeds and reassuring level in turns. Handling feels sure-footed with accurate and quick response using rear-wheel drive tendencies (all wheel drive is available in the GS 350). Drive mode selections (Eco, Normal or Sport), plus manual paddles, help define driving characteristics to fit driver desire and road conditions.
Among its peers, the GS 200t is one of the least expensive in base price. A Lexus improvement in our test drive was a less twitchy spine-centered control that in the past scooted across the dashboard screen like a piece of mercury on a plate of steel. Still somewhat twitchy it seemed more stable than in previous Lexus models. Options included larger 18-inch alloy wheels, park assist and a 12.3-inch high-resolution split screen with voice activation for navigation and information with controls also engageable with the spine-centered controller. Soft leather, wood and aluminum trim, felt-lined headliner plus ergonomics and high-tech options, create a tasteful interior style cloaked in luxury and electronic interfaces as befits the Lexus legacy. Except for the rear middle, seating is long-trip comfortable. Rear seats don’t fold (there is a pass-through) but cargo space is above average, even with a spare replacement for the low profile tires.
Nice touches include keyless entry, auto-dimming headlights, air filter and puddle lights. Safety ratings are good and standard features can be upgraded with options. A standard Enform Safety system includes automatic collision notification, stolen-vehicle location and an emergency assist button.
LIKES: Ride, handling, looks, luxurious interior, fit/finish, quiet, comfort
DISLIKES: Rear seats don’t fold, turbo lag
BOTTOM LINE: Excellent model gets a little better
- Base price w/destination fee $46,565 (as tested $51,100)
- Curb weight 3,805 lbs.
- Wheelbase 112.2 inches
- Length 192.1 inches
- Width 72.4 inches
- Engine specs 2.0 liter, DOHC, inline 4 turbo
- Horsepower 241 hp at 5,800 rpm
- Torque 258 lbs.-ft. at 1,650 rpm
- Transmission 8-speed automatic w/paddle shifters
- EPA Rating 22 city, 33 highway
- Range 17.4 gallons, premium required
- Performance 0-60 in 7 seconds