The Lexus GS 200t was introduced as a less expensive companion to the GS 350 and GS 450h hybrid (both reviewed separately), but we think it makes a compelling case for itself all on its own. As the name implies, the engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. From a short distance away, the GS 200t is nearly identical to its more expensive siblings, and while the equipment list is shorter, there's certainly no shortage of luxury amenities. And we're pleased to report that the GS 200t can be had with the desirable F-Sport handling and appearance package.
Acceleration from the Lexus GS 200t's 241-horsepower engine might not set your soul afire, but it does the job well enough that you're not constantly wishing for more. Other than that, there's really not much difference in the way the rear-wheel-drive GS 200t goes down the road when compared to the pricier GS models. With a price tag thousands less than that of the V6-powered GS 350, it's a compromise we can most definitely live with.
Current Lexus GS200t
The Lexus GS 200t comes in a single trim level, and though it gets less standard equipment than the GS 350, the list is still pretty long. It includes LED headlights, faux leather upholstery, performance tires and a navigation system that shares its great, big 12.3-inch display with the stereo. Many of the features that come standard on the pricier GS 350 are available as options on the Lexus GS 200t, and there's also an F-Sport edition that adds 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned and driver-adjustable suspension, bigger brakes and sport-themed exterior trim.
Even more notable are the standard safety features: collision detection with automatic emergency braking, lane departure mitigation, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. Many of the GS 200t's competitors charge extra for this hardware, and many require you to buy a more expensive model first.
The GS 200t is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The numbers are comparable to those of similarly sized engines used in other midsize luxury sedans. Acceleration is adequate, if not exactly thrilling, and while we know cars that are quicker — we're looking at you, BMW 530i — the GS 200t is certainly no slug. The EPA rates fuel economy at 26 mpg, a nice improvement over the GS 350's 23 mpg.
The Lexus GS 200t tracks straight, turns in eagerly and grips well. The performance-oriented tires generate a fair amount of road noise, but not enough to disturb the overall quietness for which Lexus cars are known. We like the adaptive suspension that comes with the F-Sport package since it lets the driver change the GS 200t's demeanor between sporty and smooth.
The Lexus GS 200t's interior is spacious and built like the proverbial brick outhouse — if the proverbial brick outhouse were upholstered in faux leather, that is. There's plenty of room for both front and rear passengers, and we especially like the deeply bolstered seats in the F-Sport version. Trunk space is generous, but the GS' seats don't fold down to accommodate larger items.
Our one complaint — and it's a big one — is the awkward mouse-style controller that runs the navigation and infotainment systems. It's an innovative idea, to be sure, but using it requires keeping your eyes on the screen rather than out on the road. We'll be happy when Lexus retires this system; mice are great for computers but terrible for cars.
Used Lexus GS 200t Models
Lexus introduced the GS 200t as a new entry-level model in the GS lineup in 2016. For 2017, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure mitigation and automatic high beams — all optional when the GS 200t was introduced — were added to the standard equipment list.
Read the most recent 2017 Lexus GS 200t review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Lexus GS 200t page.