iafrica.com Review: Lexus GS 250 EX

28 Feb 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Lexus GS 250

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Ryan Bubear drives the Lexus GS 250 EX the latest addition to the GS range.

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Entry-level model. These words evoke dreary thoughts of a no-frills hatchback, with a frighteningly short standard specification list dominated by bare-bones basics such as wind-up windows, manually adjustable side-mirrors and if you’re really lucky manual air-conditioning. Well, that or a pretty young woman just starting out her modelling career.

But while the Lexus GS 250 EX is definitely easy on the eye, it certainly doesn’t feel entry-level, despite the fact that it anchors the foot of the renewed four-model GS range. Yes, it provides affordable entry to the luxury class as Lexus puts it but it does so without sacrificing all the bells and whistles that make the more expensive models so alluring.

Visually identical.

In fact, it bears exactly the same specification level as the more expensive 350 EX . and is visually identical apart from those silver numbers and letters glued on the back both outside and in. Park the two together, and you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart especially if Lexus is kind enough to add a debadge box to the no-cost options list.

So, the difference between the GS 350 and GS 250 is essentially one litre (oh, and with eight airbags, the 250 gets two fewer than its siblings). Where the former uses a 233kW 3456cc V6, the latter employs a 2.5-litre with the same layout. This Dual VVT-i engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox with flappy paddles is good for 154kW at 6400rpm and 253Nm at 4800rpm. It feels a fair bit quicker than its official 0-100km/h time which Lexus quotes as 8.8 seconds would have you believe, thanks in part to the aural histrionics elicited by full-bore acceleration.

Twist the drive mode selector to Sport and mash the right pedal, and a deep V6 growl fills the plush cabin as the ‘box hangs onto each cog until redline. The sprint to three figures may be a full 2.5 seconds slower than the 350’s, but there’s almost as much theatre along the way. And during deceleration the transmission even throws in the odd downshift throttle blip for dramatic effect.

Cruise or bruise?

Of course, the rear-wheel drive GS 250 is just as content playing cruiser, and in Eco and Normal modes skips swiftly up to sixth and hums along quietly. Lexus reckons a combined fuel economy figure of 8.9 litres per 100km is achievable, but I ended the week-long test on 11.8. For the record, I logged a far more frightening figure of 14.4 in the 350 and a pretty respectable 8.8 in the hybrid-powered 450h .

Lexus GS 250

But while the powerplant certainly is a peach, the GS 250 shines brightest in another area: standard specification. This entry-level offering boasts more kit than a suburban Bear Grylls fanboy on his first trip out of the city. HID automatic headlights (with auto-levelling and washers), DRLs, electric/heated side mirrors, full leather trim, electrically adjustable leather front seats (heated and ventilated), keyless entry and start, electrically adjustable multi-functional steering wheel, 12-speaker sound system (MP3/USB/iPod), 12.3-inch EMV display (with remote touch, HDD navigation, traffic data and voice command), reversing camera/guidance monitor, park distance control, dual-zone auto air-con, Bluetooth, cruise control and an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror are all part of the well-rounded package.

The safety list is just as healthy, thanks to standard features such as ABS, BAS, EBD, EPS, VSC and TRC. A four-year or 100 000km warranty and a four-year or 100 000km Distance Plan Plus round out the deal.

The one downside? At launch in mid-2012, the GS 250 was priced at R494 400, but the inevitable 2013 increase sees it cross the R500k-mark by almost R25 000. Ouch. But thanks to the generous standard equipment list, it still represents great value, especially when compared to most of its German competitors.

So, what’s the pick of the GS range? Well, after experiencing all three of the drivetrains, I reckon the GS 350 just edges its siblings. The 450h may provide significant fuel savings and benefit from angry F-Sport styling, but the 350 is just that much more visceral.

Thing is, the GS 250 EX is just inches behind, and is actually in everyday terms, at least the more logical choice.

Not bad for an entry-level model, eh?

Click through to page 2 for specs and pricing.

Lexus GS 250
Lexus GS 250
Lexus GS 250
Lexus GS 250

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