We’re not yet at one of my all-time favorite cars, but the Lexus GS S160 is a very good choice and a pleasant surprise if you buy it first and do your research after.

So, the struggle is still ongoing. But at least the Lexus GS S160 is the kind of car you’re likely to buy by chance and then realize that you’ve bought one of the best cars ever built. And when I say by accident, I mean it because Lexus in those times, like my eyes – blurry and empty – wasn’t a well-known brand in Europe, as it was still breaking the legs of the competition in the USA. And in what style it broke legs in the USA. Lexus GS S160 still came with muscle bound engines and quickly became a victim of the tuning scene in the US.

But why didn’t it sell in Europe?

  • Because it’s a good car and because it’s attractive. The idea is that here too, Lexus made no compromises and threw in all possible features, just like women threw panties at Tom Hiddleston and Henry Cavill. 
  • Lexus GS S160 is a luxury car from Japan, built to cater mostly the Asia and the North American markets, so there are no small engines and no diesel engines, two major issues for the European market. Lexus GS S160 had to directly compete with the BMW Series 5 E39, Mercedes E Class W210, and Audi A6 C5, all coming with tax-dodging engines smaller than 2 litres and with diesel engines. And Lexus GS S160? Nope, they took the engines from the previous generation and gave them more power. And they also brought in a special guest, the monstrous 3UZ-FE with 4292 cc and 300 horsepower.
  • And to understand the idea even better, in case you graduated from the school of life and didn’t understand that the Lexus GS S160 is not a car for the modest, there are no manual gearboxes. If you were aspirationally rich and wanted to appear richer than you are, you could get away cheaper with a manual A6 1.9 TDI or an E39 2.0 diesel, but with Lexus GS S160, you have no access if you know what a tenner looks like. I would say a  biscuit, but that’s when we’re talking about the Lexus LS600h.


Lexus GS S160 front almostcarreviews

Lexus GS S160 Engines


  • 3.0 l-6 2JZ-GE 225 horsepower – The same 2JZ-GE taken from the previous generation and minimally modified to pass the class. Likewise, the water pump, injection pump, and oil consumption can be specific issues but appear late in life, like relatives who suddenly appear when you’re doing well.
  • 3.0 l-6 Turbo 2JZ-GTE 320 horsepower – The cult star, the engine from the Toyota Supra continues its existence under the hood of the Lexus GS. As I mentioned in the review about the previous generation, this engine can be upgraded up to 750 horsepower without major interventions, and that’s why it was so popular in the tuning communities.
  • 4.0 V8 1UR-FE 300 horsepower – In 1997 when it was launched, the Lexus GS400 was the fastest 4-door luxobarge with massage seats you could buy. In the world. Until the M5 came, but for a short period of time, the fastest saloon in the world was a Lexus.
  • 4.3 V8 3UZ-FE 300 horsepower – But in 2000 things changed because the facelift came, and the Japanese thought the V8 engine was too small, so they added 300 cc of displacement for more power. With an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 240 km/h, it was very close to BMW’s M5. Only, unlike BMW’s M5, this engine has no specific issues.


Lexus GS S160 interior almostcarreviews

Lexus GS S160 Reliability Issues

  • The front suspension fails because the Japanese installed 6 tons of steel and aluminum and combined them in a festival of masculinity and luxury. But anyway, it’s not your issue if the suspension fails if you call the dealership, and they take care of everything.
  • The actuators on the doors, on the other hand, are a minor issue that you can fix in the parking lot. If you bought a used Lexus GS S160 in 2023 and you’re not the kind of person who could afford a new GS.


Lexus GS S160 front side almostcarreviews

Lexus GS S160 Verdict

If you don’t mind the fact that all engines are petrol and the smallest engine is 3 litres of JDM masculinity, then the Lexus GS S160 is one of the best cars for comfortable cruising on a budget. It’s a pure-blooded Lexus, so it’s not a sports car but a comfort car, but if you want a spa on wheels and have a budget of 4000 euros, this is the car to buy. And yes, it’s better than the Volvo S80. And you even have buttons on the steering wheel for changing gears!

Which engines do I recommend? Considering that it’s an old car that sells cheaply, and the audience accordingly isn’t extraordinarily wealthy, I’ll stick to the 3-liter 2JZ-GE engine and it’s 225 horsepower.