If you are looking for a midsize luxury sedan that is dependable and built with exacting precision, then the Lexus GS 300 is the car for you. The original GS 300 was introduced to the American market in 1993 and through three generations of the model it has proven to be a reliable if not flashy Japanese import sedan.
The GS 300 was first produced in Japan as the Toyota Aristo in 1991. When it was introduced to the U.S. market in 1993 the goal was to compete with the European high-performance sport sedans, namely the
BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. That goal was never reached simply because the GS 300 was noticeably lacking in personality. Against comparable sport sedans the Lexus GS 300 acted like a dependable quarter horse matched up against Kentucky thoroughbreds. If what you want are thrills and excitement, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a smooth, luxurious, capable ride then the GS 300 is your car.
If there is a trademark statement to be made about Toyota products it would be that their marketing department seems to be confused at times regarding what message they are trying to convey to the public. There is nothing wrong with the GS 300 series; it just isn’t what Toyota intended it to be, plain and simple. With a sticker price equal to its European competitors but lacking the pizzazz of the BMW or Mercedes-Benz, it was destined to flounder at first. Several years passed before the GS 300 found its identity and made a name for itself.
The second generation was marketed in 1998 and the third generation introduced in 2005 and along the way Lexus made enough improvements to the GS 300 so that it could finally stand by itself on its own reputation. Along the way the V6 engine was improved, more stability control added, and a five-speed automatic transmission became standard. Add to that an always-reliable rear-wheel drive, luxurious interior design and features, and consistently superior craftsmanship, and it is easy to understand why at one time the GS 300 was named Motor Trends Car of the Year.
This was always a popular car among consumers in the U.S. but rarely was it embraced by the automotive press. Personality was and always has been the chief issue with the GS 300. One critic once wrote “it’s like dating a beautiful girl only to find she is incredibly bland and somewhat boring.” This is a car that could easily be called upon to transport four people across America and provide comfort, tranquility, and safety along the way. About the only thing missing during the trip would be excitement.