Overview & Reviews
A refined and elegant car since its early-1990s inception, the midsize Lexus GS 300 sedan always came up short in the personality department. Partly, this was a problem of perception. Lexus initially promoted the rear-wheel-drive GS as a legitimate competitor to the elite European sport sedans, but the car's soft suspension, over-assisted steering and sluggish powertrain said otherwise. The fact that it cost just as much as its German rivals certainly didn't do it any favors either.
As a luxury sedan, the Lexus GS 300 was more convincing, particularly the third-generation model, which could be loaded with all the latest technology and upscale amenities. Cabin materials were typically of high quality, and everything was put together with exacting precision. Add in an outstanding reliability record and it's no surprise all three generations of the GS 300 proved popular with consumers, despite the fact that the automotive press never fully warmed to it.
Most recent Lexus GS 300
Last redesigned for 2006, the third-generation Lexus GS 300 lasted only one year, as Lexus installed a powerful new 3.5-liter V6 in its rear-drive midsize sedan the following year, prompting a name change to GS 350. With the exception of their engines, the GS 300 and 350 are identical.
Upon its debut, there was nothing radical about the third-gen GS 300. Its bodywork was fresh and modern, but followed the same basic lines as the previous model. It was motivated by a new, all-aluminum 3.0-liter V6 capable of 245 horsepower, matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the default rear-drive setup, buyers were given the option of all-wheel drive. With either drivetrain, acceleration was acceptably brisk (with 60 mph coming up in the 7-second range), though the heavier GS 300 AWD model felt soft off the line. Power delivery was undeniably smooth.
Lacking the adaptive suspension of the V8-powered GS 430, the Lexus GS 300 offered little inspiration when pushed around corners. Instead, it excelled as a highway cruiser, carrying itself with grace over most road irregularities while shielding its occupants from most outside noise. This made it easy for the GS 300 driver and passenger to settle back into its plush seats and enjoy the optional Mark Levinson sound system. An intuitive control layout contributed to the GS 300's relaxing nature.
Major standard equipment on the GS 300 included HID headlights, leather upholstery, wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, stability control and a complete menu of side, head and knee airbags. Options included DVD navigation, a rear backup camera, adaptive cruise control and the PreSafe accident preparedness system.
In a 2006 comparison test of all-wheel-drive luxury sport sedans, a Lexus GS 300 AWD brought up the rear in a field of five. "With a V8 and the right options, the 2006 Lexus GS is a good sport sedan," our author wrote. "Give it a V6 and a softer suspension with all-season tires and there's less to get excited about. Luxurious and capable, the Lexus didn't have enough personality to stand out in this crowd."
Past Lexus GS 300 Models
Consumers shopping for a used Lexus GS 300 will come across plenty of examples from the second generation, sold from 1998-2005. Like the later version, it was a luxury sedan at heart and really wasn't tuned for aggressive, back-road driving.
It came with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine throughout its model run. The engine was actually a carryover from the first-generation GS 300, but now aided by variable valve timing, it offered a bit more usable torque. Horsepower came in at 225 or 220, depending on the model year. A five-speed automatic transmission drove the rear wheels. Power delivery was quite smooth, and acceleration was average among six-cylinder midsize luxury sedans.
Cloth upholstery was technically standard on GS 300s of this generation, but you'll be hard-pressed to find one on the used market that doesn't have the optional leather package. Features like 10-way power seats, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, stability control and front-seat side airbags were standard throughout the model run; side curtain airbags were included from 2001 onward. An excellent Nakamichi sound system was optional from 1998-2000; an equally good Mark Levinson system replaced it in 2001. Another new option for '01 was a DVD-based navigation system.
The original Lexus GS 300 was introduced for 1993 and sold through 1997. At the time, its sleek styling set it apart from other luxury sedans, both import and domestic. Interior accommodations were luxurious and roomy enough to accommodate occupants of all sizes. Tepid performance and high pricing were the big letdowns on this midsize luxury sedan, though the latter is obviously not an issue for used GS shoppers. All GS 300s of this generation had a 220-hp 3.0-liter inline-6. The best years to look at are 1996 and '97, as these models had a five-speed automatic transmission; earlier models had a four-speed automatic.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 367.00
Still loving it - 2002 Lexus GS 300
By zeeshan - December 18 - 10:00 am
It takes me 6 months to get bored of a new car. I have owned my GS (Sports Design) for over 2 years now and I am still enjoying it. That should say a lot about this car. No car is perfect. GS300 is very slow from 0 to 60 (over 8 seconds)by today's standards. I have the regular (not Mark Levinson) stereo which is so so, it has a small trunk size and the gas mileage is really bad. On the plus side, it has a very comfortable plush ride and build quality is great. Dealership (Stevens Creek Lexus) and after sales service is superb. For performance, BMW 530i might be a better choice. For reliability and comfort, GS is ahead.
Nice ride - 2006 Lexus GS 300
By Joe cernigliaro - December 16 - 8:46 am
Great touring sedan. The 300 is slightly underpowered compaerd to the 2002 BMW 525i that I traded in, but is a lot more comfortable, with intuitive controls and actually has real cupholders.
My GS - 2000 Lexus GS 300
By jblexgs - December 4 - 10:00 am
Flawless, solid. Feels and performs like a new car after 48,000 miles. Build quality is beyond anything in its class. I know why the doemstics are dying.
It's a Lexus - 2006 Lexus GS 300
By wp2ztrs - November 21 - 5:50 pm
Overall I thought it has a very smooth ride, very comfortable seats that will go into every position. I noticed the brakes were a little catchy if you want to make a quick stop. I think in time I will get use to them, probably because of the all wheel drive.
Phenomenal Used Car - Exceeds Expectations - 2006 Lexus GS 300
By cardrivinman - September 26 - 9:27 pm
Just bought the 2006 Lexus GS300 used. This 9 year old car feels new, is ultra comfortable and quiet, and has technology that is still cutting edge. This car hugs the road, smooths out bumps, and feels smooth as silk. Despite being a 2006 model it has power everything, touch start, backup camera, and Bluetooth! Yes, even though this car predates iPhones and Androids and it still has Bluetooth and pairs w/ my iPhone. It has all the technology that a brand new 2015 car would have, except for blindspot warning...which isn't necessary because visibility is excellent in the GS300. This 9 year old Lexus is better than some respectable 2015 cars I tested. The GS300 exceeds my expectations.
LOVE THIS CAR - 2006 Lexus GS 300
By LATTE - September 20 - 11:43 pm
This car is unbelievable. They really did a great job. It has so many tech things to operate. Very quick in the 6 speed manual mode. The interior lights need to be brighter. So far so good. We have only had the car for three weeks.
7 times in shop! - 2006 Lexus GS 300
By Scott R. - August 21 - 8:20 pm
Beware, this car is very problematic. I have 7 trips to the shop already. I would tell people to wait and buy the 2007 model. This should allow Lexus adequate time to fix all problems. This is my second GS300. I wish I kept my 2003 GS300! The headlights, head rest, dome light, back up camera and other items have been replaced. I also want to ad some have been replaced two times! When one item needs to be fixed a third time, I will begin the Lemon Law process. I just want all serious buyers to beware. The 2006 GS300 has become my worst experience ever with any automobile. I have owned or leased approximately fifteen new vehicles in my life. I wish you luck if you decide to purchase a 2006 GS
Luxury sport - 2006 Lexus GS 300
By ED - August 12 - 8:23 am
I bought this car for my wife, but I drive it often. It was pricey at $50K, but it has just about every option lexus offers. It's very sporty, but don't think you'll outrun a mustang or even a tiburon. This is luxury first and foremost. Quality you'd expect from Lexus and it's a great looking car. You'll get stares at every parking lot. Expect to seat 4 comfortably and in style.
Love my Lexus! - 2000 Lexus GS 300
By missy - July 23 - 4:03 pm
I purchased my car used in June of 2009 with about 123k miles. The previous owner already changed the timing belt and water pump. The dealer gave me an old change and new front brakes. I had to replace the contacts on the starter (about $85 including labor), flushed the transmission, new spark plugs & replaced some engine seals. I didn't do all this work at once though. I expected to do a little maintenance since it was a used car.
Great car, but not perfect - 2006 Lexus GS 300
By Rod - July 16 - 9:43 pm
Really nice car. Ride is a little too firm for me. Handling is very good. Direct injection engine is very good, but 'ticks' at idle. Interior is tight. Center console is too tall and wide, making interior feel cramped. Misc. control door near driver's left knee is very inconvenient. Highway gas mileage is excellent - 29 to 32 MPG. Avalon is probably a better value.