"We think the new GS' engaging, emotional design by itself will create strong desire for the car," said Denny Clements, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "And the unexpected levels of performance, luxury and comfort will surprise and delight anyone that drives it."
The newly expressive GS family combines available all-wheel drive (GS 300 only) for the first time in a Lexus passenger car, with a powerful new 3.0-liter V6 engine, new dynamic and safety technology and a long list of comfort and luxury features in a right-sized package. A new 6-speed automatic transmission is used with both the new V6 and the proven 4.3 liter V8, which accelerates from 0-60 mph in only 5.7 seconds.
New Lexus Design Direction
From an architectural standpoint, the GS marks a move towards a more sculptural direction, that is artistic, dynamic, simple, yet intriguing. A two-inch longer wheelbase and a one-inch wider rear track create a wide, powerful stance. A long hood, pulled-back cabin and short rear deck recall classic sports car proportions while the vertical grille surrounded by four independent headlamps connects the new GS with the outgoing model, but with a futuristic look. The front also features an aggressive lower valance with integrated fog lamps. Dynamic 18-inch aluminum wheels with wide, low-profile tires on the GS 430 help tie the muscular yet elegant look together (new 17-inch aluminum wheels are standard on GS 300). The creation of a unique spatial feeling in the passenger compartment is central to the new Lexus design direction.
The interior of the new GS has a precision, luxury feel with ultra-premium wood, polished metal and leather accents. Everything inside the GS is designed and styled to create a haven for peaceful comfort and harmonious interaction, with touch points that convey quality and controls that respond with confidence.
Going beyond design and color, the interior of the new GS also aims to make drivers and passengers feel at one with the car by providing an intuitive and naturally comfortable environment. It begins with the Smart Access keyless entry and new push-to-start ignition system that allows the driver to keep the access fob in their pocket or purse. A comprehensive interior lighting system provides just the right amount of light where driver and passengers need it.
A secure and distraction-free setting allows the driver to get the most from the considerable performance of the car. A new gauge cluster was developed that features machined aluminum facings. In order to minimize reflections from their faces, a unique lighting system uses variable transparency glass to help optimize visibility in all lighting conditionsï¿½from bright sun to dark of night. The gauges also feature a quick-response tachometer that moves more directly in concert with changes in engine rpm.
A hidden but easily accessed dash panel on the left side of the steering wheel reveals buttons and switches that are not frequently needed when driving in order to simplify the driver's view. Multi-adjustable front seats feature standard heating and optional fan ventilation, while an electronic tilt/telescoping steering wheel helps ensure a comfortable fit. The standard Regency leather-trimmed seats are supportive and comfortably contoured for long trip support.
First All-Wheel Drive Lexus Passenger Car
Significantly, the new GS 300 features available all-wheel-drive, the first such application in any Lexus passenger car. The new AWD system uses a wet-type multi-disc clutch and planetary gear set in the transfer case. The system employs an electronic control strategy that takes inputs from driver activity such as steering and throttle angle, combined with vehicle signals from wheel speed and yaw rate sensors. Hydraulic controls are also employed to vary the front/rear torque split ratio from 30/70 to 50/50. This arrangement allows the traditional performance advantages of a rear-drive vehicle to remain with the confidence of all-wheel traction when needed.
A completely new suspension system draws on the highest engineering principles to bring new levels of performance, comfort and fun to the GS driving experience. Both front and rear suspensions employ optimized geometry to virtually eliminate unwanted wheel angle changes during suspension movement. The result is a natural, confident feel that's also spirited.
An Adaptive Variable Suspension in the GS 430 automatically selects appropriate suspension damping for driving conditions while allowing the driver to select a sport mode for a tighter, more precise feel. The new GS 430 offers the performance enhancements and advanced vehicle control of the Lexus Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. VDIM is an all-new system that integrates and manages a new Electronically Controlled Brake system (ECB), Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS), Electronic Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), ABS, Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and engine torque via the electronically controlled throttle.
Monitoring a variety of sensors, the system is designed to anticipate the onset of a vehicle skid or slide and then help correct the situation with a combination of braking, throttle and steering control in a way that's essentially transparent to the driver. Data is gathered from more sources and processed earlier and faster than previous designs, helping to make VDIM less obtrusive yet highly effective.
Intelligent and Powerful Brakes
A powerful new braking system combines several leading-edge technologies that by themselves provide superior braking performance. But when combined with new dynamics technology such as EPS and VGRS and managed by VDIM in the GS 430, braking performance improved substantially. It starts with new mechanical components that significantly increase brake friction and improve stopping power, while effectively eliminating brake fade. Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) help make the best use of the newfound power. The new Electronic Controlled Brake (ECB) system in the GS 430 translates the driver's effort precisely into effective stopping power. VDIMï¿½s ability to provide overall management of all these systems maximizes brake performance and vehicle stability in virtually any driving situation.
V6 Performance Redefined
Joining the GS 430's potent and refined 4.3-liter V8, is an all-new 3.0-liter, 245-horsepower V6 engine replacing the inline six in the GS 300. The new V6 uses a new direct fuel injection system that offers much finer fuel mixture control to improve both power and fuel economy. "Dual" variable valve timing technology that acts on both intake and exhaust valves further enhances performance through a wide rpm range. The result is a wide, flat torque curve that provides crisp throttle response and quick acceleration at virtually any engine speed.
Measures to reduce internal friction such as chain drive for the camshafts and roller rockers to operate the valves, contribute its superior fuel economy of 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The new V6 also achieves an EPA-certified Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) emissions rating.
New 6-Speed Automatic
Both the powerful V6 and V8 engines benefit from an intelligent all-new close-ratio 6-speed automatic transmission with a sequential manual-shifting mode. The combination provides faster and substantially smoother acceleration for even better performance and, surprisingly, improved fuel economy. And like the latest LS 430, the new automatic also uses a special transmission fluid that never needs to be checked or replaced.
New Intelligent Luxury Sport Sedan
In addition to a new look and feel, the new GS also improves upon the increasingly complex nature of automotive technology. The GS offers numerous standard features such as Bluetoothï¿½ wireless telephone capability and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPM) that can detect and notify the driver via an indicator warning light of a significant loss in pressure in one or more tires. The GS will also feature the Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS), which helps illuminate a curve as the driver steers into it.
A rear back-up camera is also added for 2006, helping to provide an extra margin of confidence when reversing the vehicle. Available in conjunction with the optional navigation system, it automatically projects an image of what the camera lens can detect behind the vehicle onto the navigation screen when the vehicle is in the reverse gear. The GS will also be available with Intuitive Park Assist which uses ultrasonic sensors to detect the presence of objects close by and warn the driver of their proximity.
Although currently available in the Lexus LS 430 and LX 470, the GS takes the idea a step further by adding a steering input sensor to help the system better judge changes in distance to objects. "With the new GS we took all that was good in terms of technology and found ways to make it more intuitive, more intelligent and more relevant to the needs of its driver," said Clements.
Advanced Safety Features
The GS will also offer an optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) that can help reduce collision damage. The system uses a millimeter-wave radar sensor to help detect obstacles in front of the car and a pre-collision system computer with vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate inputs that help to determine in advance whether a collision is unavoidable. It then switches the AVS to "Sport" mode, preemptively retracts front seat belts and pre-initializes Brake Assist so that increased braking is applied the instant the brake pedal is depressed. The system also incorporates "Active Braking" which will automatically apply the brakes up to a deceleration of 0.3 Gs in the event the driver fails to react to system warnings.
In addition, the new GS gains new knee airbags for the driver and front passenger as well as front and rear side curtain airbags as standard equipment. The Supplemental Restraint System in the new GS also includes variable-force front airbags for both driver and front passenger. Sensors determine the severity of the accident and in turn the force with which to deploy the front airbags, helping to provide an appropriate level of occupant restraint.
"Nearly every feature on the GS makes this sports sedan more manageable and more engaging to drive," said Clements.
Mind-Expanding Audio Systems
A refined standard premium audio system brings more power and three new speakers to the 2006 GS and uses an Automatic Sound Levelizer (ASL) to maintain consistent sound levels at varying vehicle speeds.
Music aficionados will appreciate the newest generation of the optional Mark Levinson audio system in the new GS. Using a 7.1 channel speaker architecture, this leading-edge design uses 11 channels of amplification with a total of 330 watts playing through 14 speakers to bring a major new dimension to automotive audio systems.
The Mark Levinson audio also takes advantage of DVD audio and video technology, allowing users to play both conventional CDs and DVDs. DVD movies can be viewed on the color 7-inch touch screen when the vehicle is parked.
Luxury Alive in the Details
Newly optional ventilated front seats and a power rear sunshade work in concert with the standard dual-zone climate control that filters and deodorizes the air to keep occupants comfortable.
An upgraded navigation system offers more than 6 million points of interest (POI). The multi-information display makes key information readily available and easy to see.
Rich new exterior colors and interior wood and leather selections coupled with the Lexus' boldest design to date make choosing the right GS luxury sport sedan more intriguing than ever before.
The all-new 2006 Lexus GS luxury sport sedans go on sale in early March. Prices begin at $42,900 for the GS 300, $44,850 for the GS 300 AWD, and $51,125 for the GS 430.
Credit: Lexus USA