Review - New Lexus GS-430

Thursday 21st September, 2006






As you may have seen in my little "Spot The Difference" quiz, I got a new car this week.

Out went the MY05 Lexus GS-430 and in came the...MY05 Lexus GS-430. Yes, the same car, but in silver and with 14,500miles less on the clock...this one had just 12miles on the clock as it rolled off the trailer.

It's not every day you step out of a car and into a brand new identical one, which makes it easier to spot the subtle differences. Aside from the obvious raised bite point on the brake pedal due to new pads, stiffer switches/knobs and the tighter 3rd pedal parking brake there were some other changes I didn't expect.

The ride quality is much improved. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the old one, described by many as an armchair on wheels, but clearly the new one is all around smoother and more comfortable to drive. I put this purely down to tyres - the old ones had plenty of tread but clearly the reduction in rubber on the very low profile tyres makes a huge difference to shock absorbance.

The wiper units have changed. I didn't get time for a side by side comparison but clearly the passenger side unit is longer. This requires a slightly angled arm but means it sweeps higher across the windscreen.

The leather on both steering wheel and gearknob have changed significantly. The old was more coarse, almost dimpler...the newer smoother and softer to touch.

The electric windows don't open...

Not actually true, they do now - I initially couldn't work out the problem but, after refusing to ring Lexus Technical Support, I puzzled it out for myself. It wasn't until I had a similar problem with the moon roof that I remembered an old tip.

Both the windows and moon roof functioned when operated by their local switch. They didn't work as expected however. The "Auto" one touch operation just didn't happen. You let go of the switch and it stops. Press it again and it starts. Operating the windows from the driver's door panel also failed....completely.

All it needs is a little calibration, a first time setup. As described below.

For windows - Go to the local switch and then press open. Hold the button down until it has fully opened in one cycle. Then do the same in reverse to close the window. The "auto" one-touch operation will now work perfectly and the driver controls will be operational.

For moonroof - Press down the slide control to open the moon roof fully. Hold the button down as it opens, then closes, then opens on a tilt, then closes again, then opens on a slide. That should do it. One touch works fine and the tilt/slide buttons only do as indicated.

So now I'm back to normal in a brand new executive saloon and loving it just as much as the old one. Clearly running in this 4.3litre V8 doesn't increase it's power, the new one pulls just as hard as the old one did...like a rocket ship.

It's fast, very fast, 5.7secs to 60mph in magazine testing. I understand this car is only marketed as 6.1s over the benchmark in the UK just to keep insurance groupings down.

It's fantastic and, along with radar adaptive cruise control and 4 million speaker Mark Levinson premium audio, makes munching the 15k miles I drive a year a pure pleasure.

You want a rating? Well, it has to be 9 Jaffacakes out of 10 - losing a mark for still not having an iPod input that's available on the cheaper IS models.

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