2000 Lexus GS 400 Review
Pros & Cons
- Powerful V8, 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.
Edmunds' Expert Review
A sedan to consider if you can't decide which you like more, luxury or sport.
Looking to create the ultimate sport sedan in both price and performance, Lexus redesigned its GS 400 in 1998 and came up with a truly exceptional car. This is one model that can hang with the best Europe has to offer.
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.
The appearance of the car is supported by a powerful drivetrain. The GS 400 packs a 4.0-liter V8 that develops 300 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 310 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The engine uses variable valve timing (called VVT-i) to promote additional power and fuel efficiency. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission available. To take advantage of the transmission's five forward gears, the GS 400 features manual upshift and downshift buttons on the steering wheel spokes, controlled by the thumb and forefinger of either hand.
The Lexus' roomy cabin provides the driver and front-seat occupant with excellent visibility and room to stretch out. An impressive 44 inches of legroom and 58 inches of shoulder room accommodates the long-limbed and broad-shouldered in the front seat. 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 all of the other power goodies typically found on luxury cars. Popular options include a Nakamichi premium sound system and a GPS-based navigation system that uses touch-screen controls.
Both models come standard with Vehicle Skid Control, 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. ABS, front and side airbags, and traction control are all standard.
As with other vehicles in the Lexus line, road feel and absolute sportiness take a back seat 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 all-around, everyday living with rock-solid reliability, you can't beat the GS series, especially if price is a consideration.