Equipment revisions are the only significant changes for the 2003 model year on the sporty, rear-wheel-drive, full-size sedans from Toyotas luxury division. New 17-inch five-spoke wheels are optional on the GS 430. New standard features on the high-performance sedan include heated front seats, perforated leather upholstery, a one-touch power moonroof and an in-dash six-CD changer.
The GS 430 is powered by a 4.3-liter V-8 engine, and Lexus also offers the GS 300, which uses a 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder. Slotted between flagship LS 430 and the less-expensive ES 300 and sporty IS 300 midsize sedans, the GS duo competes against such models as the Acura RL, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The GS 430s eye-catching styling includes a four-headlight front end, a sloping rear roof and a tall tail. This profile helps give the GS a distinctive appearance, which looks more European than Japanese in origin. Built on a 110.2-inch wheelbase, the GS 430 is 189.2 inches long overall and stands 56.7 inches tall.
High-intensity-discharge headlights and a one-touch power moonroof are standard on the GS 430. Alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires, and low-profile 17-inch tires are available as an option. A rear spoiler is also available.
As in most sport sedans, seating for five occupants in the GS 430 is standard. Space is decent for four adults, who can enjoy such decorative touches as California walnut wood trim. Trunk capacity is 14.8 cubic feet.
Standard equipment includes heated front seats with a 10-way power adjustment, dual-zone automatic climate control, an anti-theft immobilizer, a seven-speaker sound system, automatic-dimming heated mirrors, illuminated keyless entry and a power tilt/telescoping steering column. The driver faces a bright, three-pod electronic gauge cluster and grasps a leather-wrapped steering wheel that includes audio controls. The panels brightness adjusts automatically in response to ambient light. An electronic compass is provided.
Options include a premium 10-speaker Mark Levinson audio system and a DVD-based navigation system that puts maps for the entire United States and Canada on a single disc. A wood and leather steering wheel is offered as an option.
Under the Hood
The GS 430 is Lexus performance leader. It is equipped with a 4.3-liter V-8 engine that cranks out 300 horsepower and 325 pounds-feet of torque. Featuring variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) technology, the engine teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission. Lexus claims a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 5.8 seconds for the GS 430, making it the quickest Lexus model.
Seat-mounted side-impact airbags, side curtain-type airbags for the front seats, daytime running lights, all-disc antilock brakes, Brake Assist and Lexuss Vehicle Skid Control electronic stability system are standard. Brake Assist applies maximum braking force when it senses a hard push on the brake pedal. The front passengers airbag will not deploy if that seat is unoccupied.