2001 Lexus GS 300 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines, plenty of safety technology on-board, available Mark Levinson audio system, great blend of luxury and sport.
  • Overdone styling, gauges wash out in direct sunlight, no manual transmission, navigation system bundled with controls that work better with knobs and buttons.
List Price Estimate
$1,392 - $3,039

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A sedan to consider if you can't decide which you like more, luxury or sport.

Vehicle overview

Looking to create the ultimate sport sedan in both price and performance, Lexus redesigned its GS series in 1998 and came up with a truly exceptional car that has aged extraordinarily well.

A distinctive quad-headlight design sweeps back into the hood and fenders in much the same manner as Mercedes' E-Class cars. Short front and rear overhangs give the GS a sporty look, and tidy hindquarters with creative rear taillights keep this car from blending in with the rest of today's high-line sport sedans.

Appearances are supported by refined drivetrain. The GS 300 uses a 3.0-liter inline six that develops 220 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 220 foot-pounds of torque at 3,800 rpm. Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) helps to produce additional power and provide optimal fuel efficiency. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission available. To take advantage of the transmission's five forward gears, the GS 300 features manual upshift and downshift buttons on the steering wheel spokes for 2001, controlled by the thumb and forefinger of either hand.

A roomy cabin provides the driver and front passenger with space to stretch out. An impressive 44 inches of legroom and 58 inches of shoulder room accommodate the long-limbed and broad-shouldered in the front seats. Rear-seat passengers don't fare as well, however, and get only 34.3 inches of legroom. Luxury touches include a standard dual-zone climate control, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and the normal roster of power goodies typically found on luxury cars. Worthwhile options include a Mark Levinson premium sound system and a DVD-based navigation system that employs touch-screen controls to program routes. Unfortunately, Lexus has decided to bundle it with the audio and climate controls, which always work better with traditional buttons and knobs.

GS 300 comes standard with Vehicle Skid Control (VSC), which is a system that employs the sensors, actuators and computer electronics of the antilock braking and traction control systems to help reduce vehicle skids caused by understeer or oversteer conditions. VSC is teamed with Brake Assist ABS; front, side and curtain airbags; and traction control to provide top-notch occupant protection.

As with other vehicles in the Lexus line, road feel and absolute performance take a backseat to pure luxury and refinement. BMW's 5 Series offers a bit more fun, and the Mercedes E-Class has, well, the Mercedes emblem on the hood. But for a reliable daily driver with more than a hint of upscale luxury, it's tough to beat the Lexus GS 300.

2001 Highlights

GS 430 gets a new ULEV-certified, 4.3-liter V8 good for 300 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs. of torque, resulting in sub-6-second acceleration times to 60 mph. GS 300 has new E-shift buttons on the steering wheel for manual control of the automatic transmission's shift points. On the safety front, standard side curtain airbags debut on both models, and a new sensor detects if the front passenger seat is unoccupied, deactivating the front passenger airbag if nobody is sitting in that seat. Additionally, a new child seat-tether restraint has been added, along with impact-detecting door locks and an emergency trunk release handle that glows in the dark inside the cargo area. Exterior changes include water-repellent front door glass, a new grille with a bigger "L" badge, revised taillights, larger exhaust pipes with stainless-steel tips and new six-spoke alloy wheels. HID headlights are optional on GS 300 but standard on GS 430. Inside, steering wheel controls for the audio system come standard, a compass has been added and a new DVD-based navigation system is optional. Bummer that it's bundled with trip computer, audio and climate control systems. Mark Levinson audio is newly optional, replacing Nakamichi as the premium sound supplier. GS 300 gets more wood trim inside the cabin, while GS 430 dashboards have new metallic-gray trim. A wood and leather steering wheel is optional on the 430. Four new colors round out this long list of updates for 2001.

2021 LS 500


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MSRP excludes delivery, processing and handling fee of $1,025, which may be subject to change at any time. Excludes taxes, title, license and optional equipment. Dealer price will vary.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2001 Lexus GS 300.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Don't die before you drive a Lexus !
4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
Well, you can spend all your life time driving other cars and your life goes on , or you can drive a Lexus and every day you will be waiting for the moment you get in your Lexus to drive home after work- wow what a feeling being in a Lexus after a long day at work on a heavy traffic day- this is a meditation in a car, and you will be wondering why other drivers around you are yelling and stressed- because they don't drive a Lexus- look at any Lexus drivers around you and you will see them just enjoying being united with their Lexus. Its been stated multiple times that driving a Lexus is therapeutic, makes you wonder is it still a car? Try a 27 years old LS400 with 300K miles and you wont believe its a car- BMW and Mercedes must be worried, seriously- if you reading that review, get yourself a Lexus, PERIOD.
Lexus G300 230,000
4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
Bought this car used. Had an accident that did NOT show up in Car Fax Report. None-the-less, I've had it since under 25,000 miles and it's run nearly flawless. Air conditioning went, wheel bearings on only one wheel (accident) but we figured that out and repaired it. Taking it to a quarter million.....
6 months in, very happy
4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
I purchased my GS300 with 92,000 miles on it 6 months ago. So far I am very happy. Car is very nice, has great features, and has been problem free. When I purchased there was some rattling coming from near the right front tire. Took to mechanic, replaced front strut mounts, and rattle was taken care of. Cost me $350, but now I enjoy a smooth quiet ride. Average 22mpg, and get much better on long freeway drives. Will upgrade to LS430 in a few years.
A great car to own
4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
This my 3rd GS300, the previous being a '93 and an '00. When the opportunity came along to purchase this vehicle again, this time from my uncle, I couldn't resist. Besides, the normal routine maintenance, the car has required nothing bus gas. Its amazing to drive and feels like a pillow on the road. I can't see myself owning any other brand of car besides a Lexus.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2001 Lexus GS 300

Used 2001 Lexus GS 300 Overview

The Used 2001 Lexus GS 300 is offered in the following submodels: GS 300 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A). The Used 2001 Lexus GS 300 comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2001 Lexus GS 300 comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2001 Lexus GS 300?

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Which used 2001 Lexus GS 300s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2001 Lexus GS 300s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Lexus GS 300 for sale - 2 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $9,240.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus GS 300 for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $22,400.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus for sale - 3 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $18,933.

Should I lease or buy a 2001 Lexus GS 300?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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