The Lexus GS S190 truly comes with a new concept, a new hairstyle. Lexus GS S190, one of my favorite cars. Lexus GS S190, one of the cars with an anti-poverty aura.

Certainly, the Lexus GS S190 had a conservative look since its launch in 2005, and if you put it next to a BMW 5 Series E60 or an E-Class W211 or an Audi A6 C6, chances were that you’d go with one of the traditional German cars. That is if you didn’t have much money and weren’t yet completely convinced of the power of the Vectra.

And the numbers speak for themselves because, in UK for example just over 200 cars were sold, making it rarer than my moments of lucidity. And that’s because it took some time for them to realize that coming to Europe only with petrol engines of at least 3 litres displacement, only with automatic gearboxes, and only with middle-class proof prices is not a very profitable idea. Not to mention that Europe at that time was flooded with premium midsize saloons but with 2 litre diesel engines and manual gearboxes options because many people wanted to appear richer than they were. If you want a 5 Series but can’t quite afford a 5 Series, then you get a manual 520d. The same goes for the Audi A6 2.0 TDI, which was a more bigger, upscaled and slower Passat. But it had Audi written on it, and for many people, that’s all that matters in life.

That was until 2007 when Lexus announced and launched, live and in rerun, recommended by it’s voice and it’s talent, the first premium rear-wheel drive, hybrid saloon – the Lexus GS450h. And it was a success worthy of Antonio Bandera’s success with women. Just like in the case of the Outlander PHEV, the first hybrid SUV, the Lexus GS450h offers you a car with 340 horsepower, all possible features dreamed of in 2005, great fuel economy, and a tax dodging which meant you paid almost the same as if you had a Polo. You only had the insurance left to pay in full, but when you afford such a luxobarge, insurance costs are no longer relevant.

Just as the maintenance costs don’t matter because the Lexus GS S190 is one of the last modern cars built with materials stolen from the local dam. If you open the hood, you open it in vain because everything is covered, and the bonnet won’t lift too often. Like a coffin, essentially.

 

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Lexus GS S190 Engines

Petrol

  • 3.0 V6 3GR-FSE of 245 and 250 horsepower – We start the list with a newly introduced V6 engine that also comes with a direct injection because of new engines for new times. And this translates into more power but also carbon deposits on the valves. The oil consumption, on the other hand, is the same as in the Toyota family.
  • 3.5 V6 2GR-FSE of 307 horsepower – If you’re American, you won’t be impressed by this engine because it’s the base engine on the Camry. If you’re European, you won’t be impressed by the tax. If you’re from anywhere, you won’t be impressed by the appetite for water pumps and the fact that the cylinder 5 tends to overheat. If you don’t buy the car new, I would avoid this engine.
  • 4.3 V8 3UZ-FE of 300 horsepower – The legendary 3UZ-FE that debuted on the previous generation continues here, with no specific issues. And in the not necessarily long term, it’s cheaper than the hybrid.
  • 4.6 V8 1UR-FSE of 347 horsepower – Unfortunately, the Scots at Toyota said that if they offer this engine in the hybrid version, no one will buy the LS, and they’re probably right. So they left it non-hybrid but with direct injection, so beware of carbon deposits. But what am I talking about here; the moment you can afford a Lexus GS460, you’re probably reading this literary calamity from somewhere in Abu Dhabi, the main market for the GS460.

Hybrid

3.5 V6 2GR-FXE with 340 horsepower – The star of the Lexus GS III and the main reason why Lexus entered the European market – with a hybrid engine to reduce the tax by up to 95%. Thus, you have an engine of 3.3, 3.5, or 4.6 petrol but pay taxes as if you owned a Polo. The issue is that it was a brilliant and fantastic idea for the first buyer, but if you buy it used, be prepared for what’s coming. You have two electric motors, two batteries, and a CVT gearbox. An extremely complex system that no one outside the dealership will touch. Plus, the batteries will cost you thousands of pounds when they wear out. So be wise and check the condition of the batteries and the hybrid system before buying a Lexus GS450h.

 

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Lexus GS S190 Reliability Issues

  • The wheels oxidize, and this is a common issue throughout the Toyota group. It’s not worth mentioning alloy wheels, because for a Lexus GS to mention that it has alloy wheels is like saying McDonald’s having meat in their hamburgers. Oh wait.
  • The rear brakes and rear calipers fail prematurely, but this should already be known, and you should expect it, especially for the rear-wheel-drive versions.
  • The microscopic boot, especially in the case of the GS450h hybrid. Seriously, only a suitcase with money and a suitcase with Alexander McQueen clothes can fit there because any other clothes are beneath your dignity.
  • You’d think that a “medium” saloon, 4.8 meters long, has acres of space inside. Which is true and valid for the front seats, but for the rear seats, it could have been better, especially referring to the curved roof that cuts into headspace.
  • The door hinges creak like any person over 30 when getting out of bed. By the way, why do you “get out of bed” and not “rise from bed”?

 

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Lexus GS S190 Verdict

Yes, it’s a conservative car in both appearance and technology. But it’s one of the last large luxury cars built on the principle of “inheritance for grandchildren.” It may not be as sophisticated and flashy as a German car in its class, but if you want luxury and reliability, the Lexus GS S190 is the car for you. And for me, if I could afford something more luxurious than a Daihatsu Terios, which is also a kind of Toyota. And I could certainly afford it if the girls didn’t eat up my money at the neighboring shack. But let them eat, they’ve had a sweet mouth.

Which engines do I recommend? If you’re interested in maintenance costs but don’t care about fuel economy and taxes, clearly the GS300 3.0 V6 with 250 horsepower. Otherwise, if you want the full course, the Lexus GS450h 3.5 V6 hybrid with 340 horsepower, but be prepared for expenses.