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By Jim Flammang
September 26, 2003
Vehicle Overview No significant changes have taken place for the 2004 model year on the sporty, rear-wheel-drive, full-size sedans from Toyotas luxury division. A 4.3-liter V-8 engine powers the high-performance GS 430. Lexus also offers a companion GS 300, which uses a 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine.
Slotted between the less-expensive ES 330 and sporty IS 300 midsize sedans and the companys flagship LS 430, 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 on five-spoke wheels are available as an option. A rear spoiler is also available.
As in most sport sedans, seating for five people in the GS 430 is standard. Space is decent for four adults, who 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, perforated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, an anti-theft immobilizer, a seven-speaker sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer, automatic-dimming heated mirrors, illuminated keyless entry and a power tilt/telescoping steering column. The GS 430 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 among the helpful features included on the dashboard.
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
Serving as Lexus performance leader, the GS 430 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 that the GS 430 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, 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 Lexus 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.
Easygoing ride comfort, spaciousness, luxury appointments and handling skills are top-notch in both GS models. But the GS 430 also offers the bonus of vigorous performance from the brawny yet refined V-8 engine.