2016 Lexus GS 200t Review
Pros & Cons
- Capable handling with refined ride comfort
- high-quality interior.
- Tech interface can be distracting to use.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Boasting a refined interior, plenty of high-tech features and class-competitive performance, the 2016 GS 200t can go toe to toe with the historically strong competitors from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
While the 2016 Lexus GS is still fundamentally the same car as last year, an additional engine choice and a cosmetic face-lift fleshes out its presence this year. This midsize luxury sedan remains a feature-rich, comfortable and competent performer. For 2016, the new GS 200t is the most affordable GS of them all. It has the same turbocharged four-cylinder engine that Lexus has installed in its smaller IS sedan and RC coupe this year. With 241 horsepower, it's still suitably powerful for the larger GS, and it helps return an EPA-rated 26 mpg combined.
The 2016 GS gets an aggressive face-lift that brings it in line with the rest of Lexus' offerings.
The four-cylinder engine is offered with rear-wheel drive only, so buyers in need of all-wheel drive will have to turn their attention to the traditional GS 350. It's offered in rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations with a 311-hp V6. Either way, though, this is a sedan that strikes a well-considered balance between comfort and performance, and is equally well-suited to daily commute duty or long road trips. Nor is the GS afraid of tight turns — it's actually one of the better cars in this class, and its performance cred can be dialed up a tick on all models by opting for the F Sport package. Top it off with a cabin that packs class, style and a long list of technology and the GS is a compelling alternative to the familiar German models.
The GS faces off squarely against the 2016 Audi A6, 2016 BMW 5 Series and 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. But the midsize luxury sport sedan is a crowded segment, with Cadillac CTS and Jaguar XF also vying for your attention. You're really not going to go wrong here with any of these sedans, but overall the 2016 Lexus GS distinguishes itself as a fine all-around performer.
2016 Lexus GS 200t models
The 2016 Lexus GS luxury sedan is offered in GS 200t and GS 350 variants. Equipment is similar between them, with a few exceptions noted below. The GS 450h hybrid stablemate is covered in a separate review.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels (17-inch wheels on GS 200t), LED headlights, heated auto-dimming side mirrors, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, driver-selectable drive modes, leather upholstery in GS 350 models (synthetic leather in GS 200t), eight-way power front seats (with two-way power lumbar), driver seat memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, matte wood trim and ambient lighting.
Standard technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity; Lexus' Remote Touch interface; an 8-inch central display (GS 350 comes with a 12.3-inch screen with navigation, voice controls and smartphone app integration); a rearview camera; and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio; a USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Also included is Siri integration for select iPhones.
A number of options packages are offered, although availability can vary depending on the region in which you live. Bundled options include the Cold Weather package (a heavy-duty heater, headlight washers, water-repellent front door glass and a wiper de-icer) and the Premium package (heated and ventilated front seats, a power rear sunshade and automatic wipers).
The Luxury package is optional for GS 350 and includes the Premium package plus 14-way-adjustable front seats, four-way power lumbar, adaptive headlights, an adaptive suspension, passenger seat memory functions, LED foglights, 19-inch wheels, glossy interior wood trim, rear-seat climate and audio controls, manual rear door sunshades, upgraded leather upholstery and a wood-trimmed steering wheel. Heated rear seats can be added to the Luxury package.
The performance-focused F Sport package also includes the Premium package and adds 19-inch wheels with summer tires (all-season tires for AWD models), unique exterior styling and interior trim, a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned adaptive suspension, a variable-ratio steering system, upgraded brakes on RWD models and 12-way-adjustable sport seats with four-way power lumbar.
Available notable options include a heated steering wheel, upgraded LED headlights with automatic high beams, 18-inch wheels for GS 200t models, lane departure intervention, a head-up display, a Dynamic Handling system with rear steering, a power-closing trunk lid, the Safety System Plus package (detailed below) and a 17-speaker premium Mark Levinson sound system. The Navigation system (optional for GS 200t) adds, beyond the obvious, voice controls, a larger 12.3-inch display and Enform smartphone app integration.
Infotainment options include Enform Remote, which can remotely start the engine, adjust climate control, monitor the vehicle's position and set limits and receive alerts for speed, distance and curfew. Meanwhile, Enform Service Connect provides access to vehicle status and maintenance alerts via a smartphone app.
Performance & mpg
Powering the 2016 Lexus GS 200t is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that's rated at 241 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. It drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is not available for the 200t. The GS 350, meanwhile, has a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. With rear-wheel drive, the GS 350 comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but on all-wheel-drive models, the GS 350 gets a six-speed auto.
A 241-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine is new for the 2016 Lexus GS lineup.
An automatic engine stop-start function is standard for the 200t and 350. The EPA estimates the GS 200t will deliver 26 mpg combined (22 city/33 highway). The rear-wheel-drive GS 350 returns 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway), and the all-wheel-drive variant is slightly more thirsty at 22 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway). Fuel economy for F Sport variants slips to 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway) for the GS 200t and 22 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway) for the GS 350.
Standard safety features for the 2016 Lexus GS include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front and rear side airbags, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera and front-seat active head restraints. The standard Enform Safety Connect system includes automatic collision notification, stolen-vehicle location and an emergency assist button.
Optional safety features include front and rear parking sensors and the Lexus Safety System Plus package, which bundles adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and intervention and a forward collision warning system that includes pedestrian detection as well as forward collision mitigation with automatic braking.
In Edmunds testing, a GS 350 with the F Sport package came to a stop from 60 mph in 112 feet, which is average for a car in this class with summer tires. In crash testing performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the GS earned the highest score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test. It also earned a "Good" score for the side-impact, roof strength and seats and head restraints (rear-impact whiplash protection) tests.
The 2016 Lexus GS delivers a convincing blend of comfort and performance. Cabin noise, in typical Lexus fashion, has been effectively banished on every front, save for a muted engine note when you accelerate hard. Its ride quality is very comfortable yet has enough control that nobody will get seasick.
The 2016 GS offers a range of power levels to suit the pocketbooks and sensibilities of more buyers than ever. We've been impressed with the GS 200t's turbocharged four-cylinder's refined zest as found in the NX 200t crossover. As for the GS 350, its normally aspirated V6 has been with us for a decade now, but we still find it strong and satisfying, though it does lack the eager thump in the back that you get with torque-rich turbocharged alternatives. It delivers the goods if you're willing to rev it high.
Sure-footed and a reasonably willing partner on a winding road, the GS 200t and 350 have good manners when it comes to handling performance. If that's not enough, the F Sport package elevates its road-holding prowess with variable-ratio and rear-wheel steering systems. The package's larger 19-inch wheels, stiffer suspension and performance-oriented summer tires do degrade comfort a bit, though, but not enough to spoil the experience.
Lexus vehicles typically boast well-crafted interiors with materials to match, and the 2016 GS is no exception. The supple leather and tasteful wood and aluminum trim adorning the cabin rivals the ambiance found in its German competition. Up front, the seats have a wide variety of adjustments to suit many body types and offer support to suit hours of comfortable motoring. The F Sport package provides increased lateral support with its adjustable side bolsters and enhanced thigh support. Though it will seat five, the GS (like many of its competitors) is best with just two rear passengers, but once they're back there adults will enjoy ample head- and legroom.
The navigation system gains full-screen capability this year, but unfortunately Lexus' Remote Touch interface remains the only way to control the infotainment system. This controller is the one notable foible in the cabin. Inspired by a computer mouse, it is the primary method for making audio and navigation selections, and it's far from ideal. Although the display screen is sharp, cursor control with the device is jerky, particularly when you're on the move. Lexus has added some welcome menu shortcuts this year, but overall most rival infotainment controllers are less distracting to use.
The high-resolution 12.3-inch display screen looks fantastic, but the infotainment controller is still frustrating to use.
The trunk's 14.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity is on par for the segment, but the rear seats do not fold to expand the cargo volume. Instead there is a center pass-through in the backseat to swallow longer objects.