RE: Shed of the Week: Lexus GS300

RE: Shed of the Week: Lexus GS300

Friday 25th January

Shed of the Week: Lexus GS300

The GS never really measured up in the exec market. But the Shed market? Well, that's different...



Rude awakenings are never good. In Shed's case, the daily vision of Mrs Shed's glistening flesh and veiny legs as she dons her abattoir boots in the 6am half-light makes every awakening a rude one. But how does a car that has been treated with kid gloves all its life handle the rude awakening of suddenly coming onto the open market? How does it cope when some dirty herbert buys it on the cheap and then immediately starts running it up to the redline?

This spotless Lexus GS300 might be about to find out. You'd like to think that Lexus engineering quality, confirmed over the years by thousands of happy J D Power respondents, will take care of it. You want to hope so anyway, because this looks like a beautifully maintained midsized exec and it would be a massive shame to flush years of polishing and primping down the manky U-bend of herbertry.

With just two owners, both elderly and by the sounds of it husband and wife, this GS could be the perfect retiree motor even now, a full 20 years after it eased itself carefully off the production line. It's a second-generation GS, or Aristo as it was called on the Japanese market, which means it has the same 3-litre 24-valve inline six as the one that debuted in the gen-one GS/Aristo of 1991, albeit with slightly less horsepower (225hp compared to the first car's 227hp). This 2J engine will also be familiar to Supra owners, as it's the same one.


We never warmed to the GS in the UK, but two decades on, it seems to have accumulated a certain amount of quiet class. That first GS was designed by Giugiaro, by the way, and the gen-two car wasn't that different from it apart from its adoption of Merc-style headlights, a trick that certainly seemed to work in terms of sales.

Traditionally, however, the GS has always brought up the rear in any UK group tests against the Five Series, E Class and XF, all of them regular five-star motors. The GS regularly scored considerably fewer than five stars in road tests, and these days fails to put in an appearance on Lexus's UK website. As far as Shed can remember, the last GS300 you could buy in the UK was the 2015 gen-four, a 2.5 V6 petrol hybrid saddled with Lexus's hateful CVT transmission. It cost between £35,000 and £45,000, depending on how much deluxery you wanted.

New, our shed would have been around £21,000. Resplendent in Auldgit Maroon with Bingo Pen Red cloth, it's a 122,000 miler with a fully stamped service book and an MOT history cleaner than a frog's armpit. The interior was a special order. You can imagine the snorting as soon as the buyer was out of earshot of the dealership, and by the beard of Zeus, combining two shades of red should, on paper at least, be absolutely minging, but somehow the car gets away with it (quickly dons tin trilby).


The GS is one of those cars where road testers' opinions means diddly-squat to the target market. If you want one, you'll take it for its ridiculously easy driving style and comprehensive cabin spec that stands up well even in 2019. It's heavy and not fast in standard trim, and despite its double-wishbone suspension it doesn't handle, but it'll drop you at your destination with maximum relaxation. The wood might be fake but there's nothing fake about the comfort and multi-adjustability of the seats.

And if you fancy a street sleeper, you can do all the same stuff to the GS's VVT-I engine that you can do to the Supra's. 1000hp GSs do exist. Not much goes wrong with it either. The worst thing Shed knows about is the brake master cylinder which is paired up with the ABS module and given to conking out. The Lexus replacement part is horribly expensive in the UK, though you can save money by getting yours direct from Japan. Other than that, it's just the normal wear and tear of everyday motoring. As noted earlier, the MOT history is the cleanest one Shed's ever seen for a car of this age.

If you were wondering what GS stands for, it's Grand Sedan. In this case it's actually just over a grand, but it still looks like a decent place to sedan (sit down, geddit). Why not throw off your preconceptions, melt down your Zimmer frame (do they still make them?), and trade in some of your pension for this lovely slice of Japanese executive cake? Shed's got one eye pointed roughly in its direction. For marital harmony, he particularly likes the enormous, cabin-separating cubby between the seats.

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Author
Discussion

Tin Hat

Original Poster:

727 posts

147 months

Friday 25th January
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Amazing value, a bit pipe and slippers though

Cambs_Stuart

383 posts

22 months

Friday 25th January
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Perfect for wafting up and down the motorway.
It appears to be a great shed, well equipped, no obvious rust, great provenance. Should be more reliable than most other sheds too. It's not built to blast down a b road, but for relaxing commute I think you could do a lot worse.

Wolvesboy

336 posts

79 months

Friday 25th January
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Always quite liked these, especially in grey with larger alloys (?)
Would be a great sleeper with massive comfort and reliability, what is not to like?
Great shed.

2smoke

63 posts

49 months

Friday 25th January
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That looks a very clean shed indeed. I guess the V8 is the one to have, but that's splitting hairs. Very nice!

s m

17,141 posts

141 months

Friday 25th January
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Another six pot which wil go down well.

Shame it's an auto but I guess it's a barge rather than a sporty thing
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sgtBerbatov

881 posts

19 months

Friday 25th January
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The thing that always put me off about these is the lights on the boot lid, as daft as it sounds. They always looked like an after thought, and for a car that was supposed to be luxury - or at least expensive - it just seemed to cheapen it.

mrpenks

191 posts

93 months

Friday 25th January
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I could live with the car (very happily) but not a red cloth and wood interior combo. Horrific

Nigel_O

1,537 posts

157 months

Friday 25th January
quotequote all
I agree that it’s an awful lot of very clean car for Shed money, but imho it has absolutely no redeeming features - utterly un-aspirational

Not as wafty as the 430 and not as sporty as the 200 and completely lacking any styling individuality (which both the 430 and 200 had a bit of).

Sure, with a bit of tlc it will go on forever, but my guess is that the new owner will be praying for it to die so that they can go and buy any one of the other sheds listed so far in 2019

Sorry, not for me

I’m also scarred for life at the mental image of Mrs Shed in her abattoir boots.....

Twoshoe

436 posts

122 months

Friday 25th January
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"to flush years of polishing and primping down the manky U-bend of herbertry" - PH phrase of the year so far!

st4

823 posts

71 months

Friday 25th January
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Brilliant find. Lexus does reliability and quality like no other.,

samoht

845 posts

84 months

Friday 25th January
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Good article and great shed. Something nice about knowing that anyone with a bit over a grand can get into this much car, and it shouldn't be too costly to keep on the road either.

Amanitin

191 posts

75 months

Friday 25th January
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unbeatable value for money

greenarrow

1,520 posts

55 months

Friday 25th January
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Absolute spot-on shed! I have a huge soft spot for this era of Lexus and the write up is bang on too. Not fast, dynamically stodgy, but you'd feel incredibly smug in something so cheap, with such build quality wafting along the motorway or around surburbia where it will soak up bumps and potholes better than any over-tyred M Sport BMW or S Line Audi. Not likely to empty your pockets in big bills either.

If I had a spare grand or so, which sadly right now I don't, I'd happily take this as a winter hack.

Snubs

748 posts

77 months

Friday 25th January
quotequote all
sgtBerbatov said:
The thing that always put me off about these is the lights on the boot lid, as daft as it sounds. They always looked like an after thought, and for a car that was supposed to be luxury - or at least expensive - it just seemed to cheapen it.
Agreed, I've always thought those lights look awful.

Blackpuddin

8,737 posts

143 months

Friday 25th January
quotequote all
greenarrow said:
I'd happily take this as a winter hack.
You are the dirty herbert and I claim my five pounds.

Frimley111R

9,327 posts

172 months

Friday 25th January
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A friend bought one a while back, 260,000m and full Lexus history! Must have spent more in servicing than on buying the car. It still drove like a complete tank too, solid as the day it first rolled out of the showroom. Impressive stuff.

TwinCammedDan

6 posts

24 months

Friday 25th January
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Can't go wrong with this. And even if it does catastrophically fail an MOT, then I'm sure you'd be able to get back a decent amount of money for the 2j engine alone.

dunnoreally

249 posts

46 months

Friday 25th January
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Reminds me a bit of a W210 E Class except... Japanese wink

J4CKO

26,330 posts

138 months

Friday 25th January
quotequote all
That has aged rather nicely, the cheerful colour helps and it has a hint of it being an old boys chariot rather than a lot that end up as low end gangsta staff cars.

A relative used to work for Toyota and he had a GS430 on one visit which I nicked and went for a spin in, felt impossibly rapid at the time compared to my MK2 Golf GTI.

Ok this isnt funky, that fast or trendy, but as a reliable, comfy and pleasant way to get about, you dont get better for the money. And it wasnt specced in one of those inexplicable Lexus colours like metallic beige, Gold, washed out pale blue etc, they obviously shared some paint codes with the first gen Citroen Picasso.

st4

823 posts

71 months

Friday 25th January
quotequote all
dunnoreally said:
Reminds me a bit of a W210 E Class except... Japanese wink
Except without the rust and generally iffy build quality.

It's also nice to see a high end car without leather seats. They're a necessary evil now in this segment of car but truth be told, I'd rather have upholstery like this.It's more comfortable to sit on and wears better.