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First look: Lexus teases production GS

Lexus writ large: All-new GS sedan will closely resemble the edgy LF-Gh concept that previewed it.

Lexus gets adventurous with its next GS sedan as first teaser image emerges

Lexus logo5 Aug 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

LEXUS will take a radical step forward with its fourth-generation GS, judging by this first teaser image of the redesigned large sedan that will make its global debut in two weeks at Pebble Beach, California.

Staying true to the sleek LF-Gh concept that previewed it at both the New York motor show in April and last month’s Melbourne show, the production GS will present a bold new face distinguished by a six-sided Audi-style single-frame grille that extends from the bonnet to the bottom of its aggressive front bumper.

Adding further aggression to the low-slung executive sedan, a row of ‘angry’ LED daytime driving light strips underlines each headlight, which like the prominent front Lexus badge loses the blue hue that appeared on the LF-Gh hybrid concept.

That is because the petrol V6-powered GS350 to debut at Pebble Beach on August 18 will likely be followed by the reveal of a replacement for the GS450h at the Frankfurt show in September.

31 center imageLeft: Lexus LF-Gh concept.

Overseas reports insist the large Lexus sedan will also be available with diesel power for the first time in Europe, while the first bona fide F Sport version could debut at the SEMA aftermarket show in the US in early November, before the redesigned GS range goes on sale in Australia next year.

Although only a single front-end image has been revealed, Lexus says the new GS has been completely redesigned inside and out, heralding a new design direction for the Japanese luxury brand and signalling its intention to apply the bold new front-end treatment to all future Lexus models.

According to Lexus, the new GS “will also lead the rest of the Lexus line-up in an entirely new direction of driving dynamics”.

“Today, buyers in the mid-size luxury segment want a more engaging driving experience, styling that makes a statement and a roomier interior package,” said North American Lexus group vice-president and general manager, Mark Templin.

“With the all-new GS, we’re giving them what they asked for, and more.” While the new entry-level GS350 should be powered by a 3.5-litre V6, expect the new GS range to also comprise replacements for the GS450h hybrid and V8-powered GS450 V8.

No technical information has been revealed ahead of the model’s Californian debut, but US reports suggest the Mk4 GS rides on an all-new chassis with sportier suspension and wider wheel tracks. The LF-Gh concept is 40mm longer than the current GS, but rides on the same 2850mm wheelbase.

The new GS interior won’t be seen for two weeks, but if the LF-Gh is any guide it will be swathed in premium leather upholstery and should come with a massive 12.3-inch infotainment system controlled by a touch-sensitive mouse.

Tighter supplies of a model that was first released here in February 2005 have seen GS sales slump by almost 60 per cent to July this year, and the second-largest Lexus sedan now commands a miniscule 1.7 per cent per cent share of Australia’s large premium passenger vehicle segment with just 46 sales in 2011.

In contrast – despite a 31.4 per cent sales slide this year - the Mercedes-Benz E-class line-up leads the pack with 935 sales and a 34 per cent share, ahead of BMW’s 5 Series range (807 sales, 29.4 per cent), Audi’s A6 (365, 13.3 per cent), Jaguar’s XF (299, 10.9 per cent), Audi’s A7 (125, 4.6 per cent) and the Benz CLS (73, 2.7 per cent).

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