2020 Lexus GS

2020 Lexus GS Review: An Athletic Gentleman

by Michael Butler

The executive sedan market might not be as famous as it once was, but there are still some great cars out there that offer something more driver-focused than the luxury SUV without compromising too much on space. The 2020 Lexus GS is one such car. Lexus has seen its brand go from old-people-only to young-and-hip thanks to a big push in its performance department, and the trickle-down effect of that can be seen and felt in the latest GS, which looks sporty, and offers a solid driving experience, but some issues have also come to the surface. The GS isn't as fast as its competitors, and its interior, usually a strong point of the Lexus brand, has seen a drop in quality. The GS redeems itself with a good list of standard features, a large trunk, and an impressive history of being reliable. Starting at $51,395, the Lexus isn't the cheapest offering out there, so can it hold up to its turbocharged German rivals?

2020 Lexus GS Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 GS?

The Lexus GS, in its current form, has been around since 2011, making the fourth generation L10 car nearly a decade old. For 2020, Lexus has dropped the GS 300, but other than that, no major changes have taken place.

Pros and Cons

  • Refined driving experience
  • Large trunk
  • Good range of standard features
  • Strong performance
  • Finicky infotainment control
  • The rear seatbacks don't fold down
  • No Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Interior design not that special

2020 Lexus GS Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
GS 350
3.5-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Rear-Wheel Drive
$51,065
GS 350 F Sport
3.5-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$52,760
GS 350 F SPORT Black Line
3.5-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Other
$53,410

GS Exterior

Lexus is the king of premium Japanese design, and although the fourth-generation GS has been around in one form or another for almost a decade now, it still looks pin-sharp but is definitely on the more reserved side in terms of styling; exactly what GS drivers have come to love. The good news is that for 2020, the GS offers a ton of standard exterior features, especially on the F Sport trim car. Standard features on the base model include LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights, a power moonroof, and rear sunshade, as well as auto-dimming and power-folding outside mirrors, keyless entry and rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers. The more aggressive F Sport gets large 19-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels, mated to an F Sport-tuned adaptive variable suspension setup, and 14-inch two-piece front brake rotors with four-piston calipers. The exterior of the F Sport also gets a unique front bumper, upper, grille inserts, and rear spoiler.

2020 Lexus GS Front View Lexus
2020 Lexus GS Rear View Lexus
2020 Lexus GS Side View Lexus
See All 2020 Lexus GS Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Lexus GS is an executive four-door sedan and measures around the middle of the pack. Lengthwise, the GS measures 192.1 inches, more than two inches longer than the Infiniti Q50, but over two inches less than the Audi A6. Width is measured at 72.4 inches, and the GS sits 57.3 inches off the ground, or 57.9 inches if you're in the AWD version. The Lexus shares its 112.2-inch wheelbase with the Infiniti Q50, but the Audi gets a longer 115.1-inch setup. The 2020 GS weighs in at 3,726 pounds in rear-wheel-drive configuration, and going with an all-wheel-drive model will see that number grow to 3,891 lbs.

  • Length 192.1 in
  • Wheelbase 112.2 in
  • Height 57.3 in
  • Max Width 72.4 in
  • Front Width 62.0 in
  • Rear Width 62.6 in

Exterior Colors

Since the launch of the LFA, Lexus has garnered the attention of petrol heads around the world, and consequent cars have started to develop a sportier persona, which is most visible in the more aggressive design of cars such as the GS F Sport, and especially in the more vivid and sporty color options. The 2020 GS is available in basics such as Eminent White Pearl, Obsidian, and Liquid Platinum; all colors that suit the GS' body shape, but there are also a few more exotic options, such as Smoky Granite Mica and Matador Red Mica. Nightfall Mica, and Eminent White Pearl are only available on the GS 350. The most intriguing color options are to be found on the GS F Sport; the crisp Ultra White and Ultrasonic Blue Mica screams performance. If we were buying, we'd stretch for the F Sport simply to get the GS in that Ultrasonic Blue.

  • Eminent White Pearl
  • Smoky Granite Mica
  • Liquid Platinum
  • Atomic Silver
  • Obsidian
  • Caviar
  • Matador Red Mica
  • Nightfall Mica
  • Ultra White
  • Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0

GS Performance

While not an all-out performance car, the GS ain't no slouch either. Both the GS and GS F Sport get some naturally-aspirated V6 goodness under the hood, as well as a rear-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain, and the F Sport will sprint to sixty in a manufacturer-claimed 5.7 seconds in RWD guise. That's plenty quick, but German rivals such as the Audi A6 will beat that time by almost a second. Out in the real world, the GS pulls along with real verve, and you never feel like you have to strain the car to get up to speed. The well-insulated cabin helps with this. Pushing it on the highway reveals a car that has more than enough power to surge past slower driving vehicles, but you'll have to make the engine sing to get all the power, something that's not an issue for turbocharged rivals. For those who aren't looking for an out-and-out sports sedan, the GS offers plenty.

2020 Lexus GS Three Quarter Front Right Side View In Motion Lexus
2020 Lexus GS Three Quarter Rear Left Side View Lexus
2020 Lexus GS Engine Lexus

Engine and Transmission

Both the GS and GS F Sport are powered by the same 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6, which features four camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and intelligent dual variable valve timing to produce a total of 311 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed Sport Direct-Shift automatic with paddle shifters. For AWD cars, the transmission is replaced with a six-speed automatic. The GS delivers seamless power, but to access the maximum amount of power, you'll need to stomp on the gas pedal and see the revs skyrocketing to the redline. Competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series offer turbo power, which in turn delivers waves of torque from almost anywhere in the rev range, making the daily grind that much more comfortable, while in the GS, you've got to work hard for performance that is rather underwhelming.

  • Engine
    3.5-liter V6 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, Other, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

First things first: the GS isn't a full-blown sports sedan, and this becomes abundantly clear once you slip behind the steering wheel and get driving. The GS offers a silky-smooth ride which is made even more refined by the fact that there is little to no road noise penetration within the cabin. While it might be set up to deliver a comfortable ride, the suspension isn't overly soft, and the GS can still be thrown into a corner with confidence, but minimal steering feedback and a tendency to understeer show the GS's true colors. You'll be able to drive the GS in three driving modes, namely Normal, Eco and Sport, and between these settings, Lexus allows you to adjust the GS to suit your driving needs. F Sport models offer a more dynamic experience thanks to a set of larger brakes, sport-tuned suspension, and a Sport Plus mode on the driving mode menu. If you're looking for an even better driving experience, the F Sport can be fitted with a limited-slip diff and even rear-wheel steering. The Audi A6 and Infiniti might be dynamically more impressive, but the Lexus might be one of the most relaxing cars to drive in this segment.

GS Gas Mileage

It is clear to see why so many manufacturers are switching over to turbocharged engines: the Lexus GS offers below-average fuel economy from its large capacity naturally aspirated V6 engine. The EPA rates the GS at 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined, while the AWD version will use even more gas at 19/26/21 mpg. F Sport models drop an mpg in each category. To put these numbers into context, the 3.0-liter, turbocharged BMW 540i will use 22/30/25 mpg, and the powerful AWD Audi A6 with its turbocharged V6 engine will do 22/29/24 mpg. Both the GS and F Sport are fitted with a 17.4-gallon fuel tank which will give AWD versions a maximum range of 365 miles, and RWD cars a range of just over 400 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    17.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 20/28 mpg
* 2020 Lexus GS 350 RWD

GS Interior

Lexus has become synonymous with luxurious and refined interior spaces, so it comes as somewhat of a disappointment to reveal that the interior of the 2020 GS isn't class-leading, not by a long shot. The first thing you'll notice is its basic and dated design and cheap-feeling materials. The space might be roomy, and forward visibility is excellent, but Mercedes-Benz and Audi do a much better job of creating a premium sense of occasion. Standard interior features for 2020 include push-button start, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, leather-trimmed heated and ventilated front seats with 10-way power adjustment. Keeping things temperate is a dual-zone automatic climate control system, and you also get a backup camera system and driver assistance features such as pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist. F Sport models add LFA-inspired instrumentation, sporty front seats with enhanced bolsters and a 16-way power-adjustable driver's seat.

2020 Lexus GS Infotainment System Lexus
2020 Lexus GS Driver Seat Lexus
2020 Lexus GS Steering Wheel Lexus
See All 2020 Lexus GS Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The interior of the GS feels roomy once you get inside, and is helped along by the moonroof and large windows on either side of the cabin, but when measured, is actually pretty average for its class. The GS will seat five adult passengers in comfort, despite not offering tons of headspace. That being said, headspace measures 38 inches in the front, and 37.8 inches in the rear. Legroom in the front is a spacious 42.3 inches, but that number drops quite significantly in the back, here occupants only get 36.8 inches of space. Shoulder room is measured at 57.3/55.7 inches front to back, and the hiproom is 54.5/54.1 inches front to rear. It's easy to find a comfortable perch for the driver, and visibility is decent when you're in position. Large door apertures and an ideal seating height also make ingress and egress easy.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.3 in
  • Front Head Room 38.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.8 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.8 in

Interior Colors and Materials

New owners get a ton of seat upholstery and interior trim options, even in base form. On the GS, there are three options, namely Chateau leather with Gray Sapele wood and Aluminum, Flaxen leather with Open-Pore Brown Walnut, or Black leather with Gray Sapele wood and Aluminum trim. The Premium Package, which comes standard on GS AWD models, allows you to go for the more exclusive Flaxen Nuluxe upholstery trim. White and black contrasting leather is also an option on the GS, and GS F Sport cars gain proprietary rights to the Rioja Red, and Black leather with white perforations. F Sport models also feature a black headliner, Naguri Aluminum trim and aluminum sport pedals.

GS Trunk and Cargo Space

Executive sedans are most often used as Uber Black and business class shuttles for hotels and casinos, so trunk capacity plays a significant role: airport luggage and hog-tied casino bosses need to be able to fit in the back without having to force the trunk lid shut. The 2020 GS delivers the goods with an 18.4 cubic foot trunk that offers a wide and flat opening, perfect for stashing executive-level stuff. The GS completely dominated the Audi A6's 13.7 cubic feet, and the BMW 5 Series' capacious 18.7 cubic feet of trunk space, but there is one drawback: the GS' rear bench doesn't fold flat, so longer items will have to be fixed to the roof. On the inside, there's enough space to comfortably store five adults' small items. In the front, you get a good-sized glovebox and a large center storage bin. The front door pockets are also generous, and there's a hidden storage compartment in front of the shifter.

2020 Lexus GS Rear Passenger Seats Lexus
2020 Lexus GS Rear View 1 Lexus
2020 Lexus GS Right Side View Lexus
  • Trunk Volume
    18.4 ft³

GS Infotainment and Features

Features

One of the greatest attributes of the 2020 Lexus GS is its wide array of standard features, both inside and out of the car, and the fact that the F Sport mainly adds suspension, wheel, and brake upgrades as well as appearance touches, so the GS in base form gets pretty much every standard feature on offer. From the outside, the GS offers standard LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights, a power rear sunshade, power-folding auto-dimming outside mirrors, and a power moonroof. The F Sport adds performance adaptive variable suspension and larger brake disks and calipers, as well as an F Sport unique front bumper, upper and lower grille inserts, rear valance, and rear spoiler. Inside, the GS is packed with premium features such as leather upholstery, heated 10-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, as well as driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection and lane-keep assist. F Sport models also feature a drive mode select system with Sport Plus mode and LFA-inspired instrumentation.

Infotainment

Both the GS base model and F Sport share a 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen

multimedia display which displays gorgeously crisp images and seamless menu interchanges, but for those not used to the Lexus Remote Touch Interface will need to spend some time learning the system, as using the mouse-pointer style navigation can get a bit frustrating for first-time users. Both trim levels also get a standard 12-speaker premium sound system with Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity and integrated navigation. Third-party services include traffic and weather updates via HD Radio, Siri Eyes Free, as well as Amazon Alexa

and Google Assistant compatibility. The Lexus Enform suite of infotainment and navigation services includes Safety Connect and Service Connect, as well as Destination Assist.

Optional features include a head-up display and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system. One of our major issues with this system is the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

GS Problems and Reliability

Lexus cars tend to last for a good few years. This is possibly due to their owners being older and fastidious about maintenance schedules, but we think it's purely because Lexus likes to over-engineer almost everything they touch. Anyone who follows Matt Farah on social media will have heard about his 1996 Lexus LS 400 that reached over a million miles in recent months, so to say that Lexus builds some solid cars is an understatement. In the past three years, the GS range of Lexus cars has only been recalled twice, and both were for fuel pump issues. J.D. Power gives the 2020 GS a consumer verified score of 84 out of one hundred. Lexus will back its 2020 GS with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which includes a six-year/70,000-mile drivetrain warranty and a one-year/10,000-mile maintenance plan.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

GS Safety

Seeing as the 2020 Lexus GS is a low selling, and relatively niche vehicle, the NHTSA has opted to not test the 2020 model, but our good friends over at the IIHS have gone out of their way to destroy one of these Japanese executive cruisers. According to the IIHS, the 2020 Lexus GS performed well in most tests, including major ones such as the moderate front overlap, side-impact, and roof-strength tests. The IIHS wasn't too impressed with Lexus' ability to keep its rear passengers' heads in one piece, however. With a bunch of standard driver assistance features onboard, you can rest assured that the 2020 GS will be one of the safer cars on the road.

Key Safety Features

Lexus didn't mess around when it came to standard safety gear on the 2020 GS. The exterior of this executive sedan gets LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights, auto-dimming side mirrors, and rain-sensing window wipers. Inside the cabin, there's a bunch of active and passive safety systems all designed to keep your skinny latte from spilling on your above-average priced suit. Voice command and Siri Eyes Free keeps your attention pinned on the road, and there are ten airbags, including rear-seat side and knee airbags on standby. The Lexus Safety System Plus brings some useful driver assistance systems to the table; there's forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane departure, and lane-keep assistance, adaptive cruise control, and high beam assist on offer. Available safety features include intuitive parking assistance, and a set of premium triple-beam LED headlamps.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Lexus GS a good car?

Lexus has made some significant strides since the days of building grandpa's favorite box-shaped LS, and other lumbering executive sedans. In the past few years, a rebirth of the Lexus brand has taken place, one that embraces performance driving, and as such, most of the Lexus lineup has gained a sportier edge. The 2020 GS benefits greatly from this new trend, especially in F Sport guise. For the new decade, Lexus has kept things more or less the same; you still get a naturally-aspirated V6 engine, a beautifully compliant ride, and a plush interior, but we feel like the Lexus is slowly being left behind in terms of its powertrain, design and overall quality. The V6 under the hood offers enough power for most, but the accessibility of low-down torque on offer by turbocharged competitors makes the GS feel dated. The same goes for its uninspiring interior which makes use of sub-par materials, and an infotainment system that can be tricky to use. There's a lot to like, such as the good level of standard features, safety equipment, and Lexus' reliability track record, but at the end of the day, the GS has slipped, and there are many competitors that do the executive sedan much better.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Lexus GS?

The price of the 2020 Lexus GS falls somewhere in between the European offerings from the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW, to the entry-level cars from other Asian manufacturers, and we think that the latest GS offers good value for money. The cheapest way to get yourself behind the seat of a 2020 GS would be to buy the AWD GS 350, which goes for an MSRP of $51,065. This price excludes registration, tax, and a destination fee of $1,025. The RWD car will cost $330 more. The more aggressive-looking and dynamically capable F Sport only costs marginally more: the RWD car costs $52,760, and the AWD version goes for $54,505. An entry-level Audi A6, driven by a significantly less powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, will cost $54,900.

2020 Lexus GS Models

The 2020 GS is split into two trim levels; the base GS 350, and the F Sport. The F Sport shares most of its features with the base model but adds specialized drivetrain improvements and styling details.

On the outside, the GS 350 gets LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights, auto-dimming and power-folding side-view mirrors, a power moonroof, rain-sensing window wipers, and power rear sunshade. The interior of the GS is not quite as premium-feeling as some of its German rivals, but it still gets a good amount of features, such as a leather-trimmed interior with power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 12.3-inch display with a 12-speaker sound system. Both trim levels share safety tech such as forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

F Sport models get an upgraded suspension and brake setup, as well as a unique front bumper, grille inserts, rear valance, and rear spoiler.

See All 2020 Lexus GS Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

As if the Lexus GS wasn't already packed with premium features, new owners get the chance to go even further with optional packages that cover everything from in-car entertainment to styling and more. The base model is available with a $1,380 Mark Levinson premium sound system that features 17 speakers, or for those that hate parking in public; there's a $500 intuitive parking assist package. Other convenience features include a $400 power open and close trunk, and you can even opt for a set of massive 19-inch split five-spoke alloy wheels for $660. The performance-orientated F Sport is available with a $500 Torsen limited-slip differential, $900 head-up display, and a $1,700 Lexus dynamic handling system with rear steering.

🚗What Lexus GS Model Should I Buy?

There's not much separating the base model GS 350 from the F Sport, so the choice will boil down to how sporty you want to go. If we were to go with a GS 350 model, it would be the RWD version which gets a bunch of features not available on the AWD car, such as a power rear sunshade, leather-trimmed interior, heated and ventilated front seats, as well as rain-sensing window wipers. The GS 350 shares all its safety features, such as pedestrian detection and high beam assist with the F Sport, so you won't be missing out there. If you're keen on the more Aggressive F Sport, then we would suggest going with the RWD model and include the optional limited-slip differential for some fun driving action. The F Sport adds performance-orientated upgrades such as sport-tuned suspension, larger brakes, and optional rear-wheel steering.

Check out other Lexus GS Styles

2020 Lexus GS Comparisons

Lexus ES Lexus
Lexus IS Lexus
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Lexus GS311 hp20/28 mpg$51,065
Lexus ES 302 hp22/33 mpg$39,900
Lexus IS 241 hp21/30 mpg$38,560

2020 Lexus GS vs Lexus ES

The Lexus ES slots in one step below the GS, and is classified as a midsize executive sedan, but one with a cheaper price tag. To its credit, the ES is powered by the same naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 as found in the GS, but in this case, it has been de-tuned to deliver 302 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque and sends its power to the front wheels. The ES will get to sixty in the low to mid six-second range, and according to the EPA, will consume 22/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined in its most efficient configuration. On the road, the ES feels planted but retains the road comfort of the GS to a large extent. But pushing into corners reveals a tendency to understeer as the underpinnings give way to their luxury and comfort bias. Inside the cabin the ES feels cavernous in comparison to the GS. The ES offers much of what the GS has to offer, but clearly places the focus on comfort and refinement over driving dynamics. The decision here is simple - if you want a lounge on wheels, get the ES< but if you like to enjoy the drive, the GS will do just fine.

See Lexus ES Review

2020 Lexus GS vs Lexus IS

The IS has been the sporty young sibling of the Lexus sedan range for years, and it's persona hasn't changed all that much. It is still a premium executive sedan, and it exudes style from every angle. The IS is also the only car in the Lexus sedan range which is powered by a small-capacity 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 241 hp and a chunky 258 lb-ft of torque, which is available from only 1,650 rpm. This engine isn't all that efficient; however, the best the IS will manage is 21/30/24 mpg city/highway/combined. The IS is even smaller than the GS, so interior space is even more cramped. Those in the front have enough space, but things get cramped in the rear, as does its trunk space. But the IS is a joy to drive, and has more than enough get up and go for everyday driving situations. The interior design seems a bit dated, but there's enough tech to make up for it. Starting at $38,560, it undercuts the GS buy over $10,000, so if you won't miss the extra space, the IS could be the one for you.

See Lexus IS Review

Lexus GS Popular Comparisons

2020 Lexus GS Video Review

Check out some informative Lexus GS video reviews below.

$51,065 - $55,155
Price Range (MSRP)
Lexus GS