Used 2001 Lexus GS 430 Review

Edmunds expert review

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




What's new for 2001

On the safety front, standard side curtain airbags debut, 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 standard. 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. Dashboards have new metallic-gray trim, and a wood and leather steering wheel is optional. Four new colors round out this long list of updates for 2001.

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 two truly exceptional cars that have aged extraordinarily well. Available with a new, larger V8 engine for 2001, the GS 430 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 430 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 the powerful new drivetrain. GS 430 packs a new 4.3-liter V8 that develops 300 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 325 foot-pounds of torque at 3,400 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.

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.

Standard equipment includes 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 sporting capability, it's tough to beat the Lexus GS 430.






Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.