Originally posted by BMJ
Anyone tell me the major upgrades in the GS from '99-2003? Have the opp to get a nice deal on a '99, and wondering if I should just wait and save for a later version of the GS
What's New for 1999
The GS 300 was totally redesigned last year with improvements in performance and a completely new look. As a result, the 1999 model goes unchanged except for the addition of daytime running lights and standard floor mats.
What's New for 2000
The GS 300 gets a new BrakeAssist system and child seat-anchor brackets. The GS 300 is certified as a low-emission vehicle. Crystal White and Millennium Silver Metallic replace Diamond White Pearl and Alpine Silver Metallic
What's New for 2001
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.
The Lexus GS series of cars is designed to offer a blend of both sport and luxury. The GS 300 is meant to appeal to semi-cost-conscious buyers, while the GS 430 is the full-tilt V8-powered version.
A distinctive quad-headlight design sweeps back into the hood and front fenders, and short front and rear overhangs give the GS 300 a sporty look. Some people might not care for the hindquarters with creative rear taillights, but at least they keep this car from blending in with the rest of today's high-line sport sedans.
Appearances are supported by the refined drivetrain. The GS 300 uses a 3.0-liter inline six that develops 220 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 220 pound-feet 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, 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 touchscreen 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 *****.
The 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.
The GS 300 sparkles on the open road. Its silent cabin, expurgated of any noise, harshness or vibration, is a portrait of tranquility. The GS 300 isolates you from any inconsistencies in the road. The four-wheel independent double wishbone suspension is configured to favor a supple, smooth ride over a taut, sporty one, which is great for the passengers, but a tad stultifying for the driver.
While we have no problem recommending the GS 300, we will point out that the car's advantages have been largely negated by the arrival of the IS 300 and all-new ES 300. The IS 300 is sportier, features the same engine and can be had with a manual transmission. The ES 300 offers nearly the same level of luxury -- navigation and a Mark Levinson sound system are available -- for a cheaper price. It would be in your best interest to check out these two cars before settling on the GS 300.
What's New for 2003
The only changes of note for the GS 300 this year are a now standard moonroof, an in-dash CD changer and wider tires (going from a 215mm tread to a 225mm tread).