Lexus gs300 review 2001

Lexus gs300 review 2001 DEFAULT
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2001 Lexus GS 300 ( Lexus - Toyota Motors)






2001 Lexus GS300

Key Features & Specs View full specs EPA Classification

The size class is determined by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The size class for cars is determined by the interior passenger and cargo volumes. The size class for trucks is defined by the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which is the weight of the vehicle and its carrying capacity.

Mid-Size MPG/MPGe

EPA estimates for fuel efficiency (measured on a mile-per-gallon basis) are based on laboratory tests conducted by manufacturers according to federal regulations. EPA re-tests about 10% of vehicle models to confirm manufacturers’ results.

24 Highway / 18 City Engine

An engine’s displacement is the total volume of the engine’s combustion chambers, a rough index of the engine’s size and power. This is typically measured in liters (3.2L, for example), though sometimes it is expressed in cubic inches. I-4 and V-6 refer to the configuration and number of cylinders.

Gas I6 3.0L/183 cu in Transmission

The transmission adapts the output of the engine to the drive wheels. Transmissions usually have multiple gear ratios (“gears”) with the ability to switch between them as speed varies (6 gear ratios = “6 Speed”). Transmissions must either be controlled manually by the driver (“Manual Transmission”) or automatically by the vehicle (“Automatic Transmission”). One type of Automatic Transmission is the Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) which doesn’t have a fixed number of gears.

Automatic w/OD Drive Train

The drivetrain of a vehicle is the group of components that deliver the engine’s power to the drive wheels. Common configurations include front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

Rear Wheel Drive Seating

The number of people the car will hold.

5 Horsepower

A unit to measure the power of engines.

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2001 Lexus GS

While the Lexus GS series isn’t new, the GS 430 is. The 2001 model gets a new 4.3-liter 300-horsepower V8 engine with increased torque (now 325 foot-pounds). This extra boost propels the GS 430 to 60 mph in less than six seconds, and makes the V8-powered GS quicker than comparable models from Acura, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

The six-cylinder GS 300 is no slouch either. With 220-horsepower on tap, the GS 300 goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.8 seconds. Both GS models are a joy to drive and deliver impressive handling, supreme comfort, and typical Lexus build quality — which is consistently ranked among the best in the industry.

Model Lineup

Two models are available in the Lexus GS series: GS 300 ($38,555); GS 430 ($47,355).

GS 300 has a high-output 220-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-6. The 2001 model has steering wheel controls to manually shift the transmission. The wickedly fun GS 430 comes with a 4.3-liter double overhead-cam V8 that produces 300 horsepower. Both come with five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmissions.

Our GS 430 came with the Premium Package ($2,540), which includes a six-disc in-dash CD changer, power moonroof, and heated front seats.


The Lexus GS makes a statement from all angles. From the side, it presents a dramatically sloping nose with a cab-forward placement of the lower edge of the windshield. A thin, graceful roofline arches back to a stubby rear deck. A chrome strip surrounds the side windows and accents the shape of the glass. This strikes an interesting contrast with the flat black window posts. For engineering reasons, the rear side glass is divided into a third window, which breaks up an otherwise graceful sweep of glass.

Unique football-shaped headlamps sweep up and back into the fender. Large multi-lens taillights wrap around to the sides, making a strong design statement from the rear. Small, separate brake lights adorn the rear. The bottom of the rear fascia has a gentle race car-like curl between the twin tailpipes for improved aerodynamics. An optional rear spoiler heightens the car’s appearance as a high-performance sedan. New six-spoke aluminum wheels that say this car means business. Changes for 2001 include redesigned front grille, and slightly restyled headlamps and taillamps. Some critics have charged that Lexus cars, though nearly flawless, are lacking in character. Clearly, this is not the case with the GS series.

Interior Features

Lots of leather, tasteful applications of wood, thick carpeting and a refined overall design provide a pleasant environment inside the GS 430. It manages to feel roomy and cozy at the same time. However, the combination of a high dashboard and low headliner made some of us feel a bit claustrophobic; keeping the sunshade for the moonroof drawn back lightens and brightens the cabin substantially. The GS 430 instrument panel and dashboard is a refreshing departure from other designs from Japan. Turn on the ignition and a black panel illuminates to reveal gauges with black markings on white faces lighted from the rear. The intensity of the backlighting automatically varies with ambient light. The gauges are a handsome, creative design and are easy to read. Plus, the rear-view mirror has a compass — a nice touch.

The remote releases for the fuel tank and trunk, located low on the left side of the dash, are initially hard to find. Plus, the center armrest obscured the seat heart buttons.

Audio and climate controls are logically laid out and easy to use with separate heating and cooling controls for driver and passenger. A hydrocarbon air pollution sensor automatically switches to the recirculation mode when contamination is detected.

An optional navigation touch-screen fills the center of the dash, moving stereo and climate controls to the top and bottom of an information screen. The Navigation System Package ($4,540) includes everything in the aforementioned Premium Package, and adds the Lexus navigation system, which is now DVD-based.

Also new for 2001 is the availability of a Mark Levinson sound system ($3,790). The standard audio system in the GS is actually quite good, but the eight-speaker, ultra powerful Mark Levinson system is a must if you are a music lover. Plus, it comes with an in-dash six CD changer which is much more convenient than fiddling with the six-CD magazine that mounts in the glove box. The Mark Levinson system can be bundled together with the Navigation System and save you over $2,500 if these options are ordered separately.

Opening and closing power windows and moonroof are a one-touch operation. A sensor stops the window or moonroof and warns the driver when anything — such as the head of a child or pet — is blocking its path. The supplied keyless remote can be used to operate the windows and moonroof automatically, depending on the season. A hidden electric garage door opener can be programmed for nearly all frequencies.

The view out the front of the GS 430 is excellent, but the rear view is restricted somewhat by the rear headrests and wide C-pillars. Lexus GS models come standard with seat-mounted side-impact airbags; new for 2001 are standard side curtain airbags for the front passengers.

The trunk lid raises a full 90 degrees and the lift-over height is low for easier loading and unloading. At 14.8 cubic feet, the cargo capacity is comparable to other cars this size.

Driving Impressions

The GS 430 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, putting it in a league with some of the world’s best sports cars and sports sedans. It offers comparable acceleration performance to the BMW 540i with its 282-horsepower V8; both cars stomp the comparably sized Mercedes-Benz E320 with a 221-horsepower V6.

Lexus redesigned its 4.3-liter V8 engine before dropping it into the GS 430. It boasts four camshafts (dohc) and 32 valves. Variable valve timing allows the engine to deliver strong torque at low engine speeds, while providing healthy horsepower at higher speeds — often mutually exclusive benefits. The engine produces 300 horsepower and 325 foot-pounds of torque (15 more than last year). This extra torque gives the GS 430 lots of around town cruising power and allowing it to sprint away from intersections. In spite of its impressive acceleration performance, the GS 430 nets an EPA-rated 24 mpg on the highway.

Lexus GS 300 uses a 3.0-liter, 220-horsepower inline 6-cylinder engine. It can make the run to 60 mph in a quick 7.8 seconds, which is quicker than the E320. Yet the GS 300 boasts a 25-mpg EPA highway rating. Its top speed is electronically governed at 144 mph, while the GS 430 is governed at 149 mph. The GS 300 doesn’t have all the features of the GS 430 and it certainly isn’t as fast, but its price is $8,800 less.

All Lexus GS sedans come with a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with a console shifter. The transmission is designed to be shifted manually as well. The top half of the shift gate has the familiar PRND markings. To the left of Drive is M for manual. Pulling the shifter toward the left permits manually downshifting and upshifting using the shift lever. The GS 300 can also be shifted by using the Formula 1 racing-inspired buttons on the front and back of the steering wheel. Pushing the button on the front of the steering wheel downshifts one gear. Pushing the button behind the wheel upshifts one gear. A readout at the bottom of the speedometer displays the selected gear. Electronics prevent downshifting above the engine’s redline.

Like all true high-performance cars, the Lexus GS is rear-wheel drive. With all that horsepower, right-foot gratification is instantaneous and substantial — especially with the new V8 (does Lexus make a bad engine?). In fact, drivers inexperienced with high horsepower ratings may find themselves intimidated the first few times they apply full throttle. The GS 430 practically leaps off the road when given full throttle, and the engine seems to have unlimited power when it comes to passing other vehicles on the highway. There is very subtle engine noise, but it is a high-tech mechanical sound rather than the angry racket of a Corvette’s V8. However, the force pushing the driver back into the seat is very Corvette like.

Under normal driving conditions, however, the GS 430 is a perfect gentleman. It is sedate and effortless with just the right amount of steering effort to instill a firm feeling of control often missing in luxury cars. The ride quality more like a BMW than a Cadillac — firm, but not harsh. The suspension absorbs road variations, while providing reassurance in tight turns and fast sweepers.

Stellar acceleration performance is backed up by big high-performance brakes. The GS 430 stops quickly and without drama. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic traction control and Vehicle Skid Control (VSC) are standard. Also included is the Brake Assist system, which interprets a quick push of the brake pedal as emergency braking and, if the driver has not stepped hard enough on the brake pedal, the system supplements the applied braking power. It’s an excellent safety feature as many of us do not always full use the potential stopping power in an emergency situation. Vehicle Skid Control uses the brakes to bring the car back on course if it senses the car is going in a direction not consistent with the steering wheel po


Buyers considering a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E Class should look closely at a GS 430. The Lexus GS 430 delivers awe-inspiring performance and a head-turning exterior design. There are very few sports sedans on the road today that can run with this V8-powered Lexus.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:GS 300 ($38,555); GS 430 ($47,355)
Engines:300-hp 4.3-liter dohc 32v V8; 220-hp 3.0-liter dohc 24v V6
Transmissions:5-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard):dual front airbags, seat-mounted front side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags; ABS with Brake Assist, Vehicle Skid Control, Child Restraint Seat tether anchor brackets, three-point seat belts for all positions including rear center, front seat belt force limiters and pretensioners standard
Safety equipment (optional):N/A
Basic warranty:4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:Tahara, Japan
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):GS 430 ($47,355)
Standard equipment:(GS 430) air conditioning with dual zone control, electrochromic mirrors, walnut trim, leather seating surfaces and interior trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls), memory system for seats, mirrors and steering column, outside temperature gauge, one-touch power windows, power locks, remote entry, power front seats, high-intensity discharge headlamps, AM/FM/cassette stereo
Options as tested (MSPR):Rear spoiler ($440); Premium Package ($2,540) includes in-dash 6-disc CD changer, power moonroof, heated front seats; trunk mat ($66); wheel locks ($52)
Destination charge:$545
Gas guzzler tax:N/A
Price as tested (MSPR):$50998
Layout:rear-wheel drive
Engine:4.3-liter dohc 32v V8
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):300 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):325 @ 3400
Transmission:5-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:17/24 mpg
Wheelbase:110.2 in.
Length/width/height:189.0/70.9/56.7 in.
Track, f/r:60.4/59.4 in.
Turning circle:36.1 ft.
Seating Capacity:5
Head/hip/leg room, f:39.2/55.0/44.5 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:37.0/56.1/34.3 in.
Cargo volume:14.8 cu. ft.
Towing capacity:N/A
Suspension, f:Independent
Suspension, r:Independent
Ground clearance:N/A
Curb weigth:393 lbs.
Brakes, f/r:disc/disc with ABS and Brake Assist
Fuel capacity:19.8 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of April 4, 2001.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-USA-LEXUS -

Be Smart, Check in Advance. CARFAX — Your Vehicle History.

CARFAX — Your Vehicle History Expert

Sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you, but that's not the case when buying a used car. As an independent vehicle history provider, at CARFAX we've made it our mission to tell you everything you need to know by uncovering as many events as possible from the previous life of a used car. Our primary goal is to help you get to know your next car from the inside out before deciding to make an investment that will be part of you and your family's everyday life. We believe your next car shouldn't be hiding anything from you.

CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion historical records from 20 European countries, the US and Canada, which are updated daily with new information.

Even if you live in a country we don't collect vehicle data from, it's still always worth checking the Vehicle Identification Number without obligation. The used car import and export market is booming and many owners would be surprised to find out exactly what happened to their vehicle during its previous life abroad.

Privacy for Customers — Transparency over Vehicles

Let's be clear: Although we strive to find every detail of a vehicle's life so far, we are focused only on the vehicle's history, and do not collect any information on previous owners. The information we provide relates solely to the vehicle, its odometer reading, any accidents that have been covered up, where the vehicle comes from and much more — it never gets personal. We've uncovered irreparable damage several times in the past, but other times our vehicle history checks draw a blank — and sometimes that's actually a good thing.

Second Hand — Not Second Best

Did you know that considerably more used cars are sold than new cars? We think this second-hand system is nothing short of fantastic. However, it goes without saying that it gives rise to different methods and tactics: Some sellers will disguise a car that's been in an accident under a fresh coat of paint, tamper with the odometer or conceal theft. This is one of the less appealing aspects of buying second hand. Our goal is to establish trusting relationships between buyers and sellers, since this is the best way to help customers make the right decision. Your new car should be reliable and make you feel safe, as well as make you feel like you haven't paid too much.

But more than anything else, we don't want you or your family unknowingly sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn't 100% safe. This is why we strive to take these vehicles off the road, which not only makes the used car market safer but our streets safer too.

CARFAX — 35+ Years of Experience in Vehicle Histories

CARFAX was founded in the US in 1984 and expanded into Europe in 2007. Around 100 team members spread across six European offices process vehicle information from 22 countries.

Fostering strategic partnerships with registration authorities, law enforcement agencies, government departments, insurance companies, inspection centers and numerous other leading companies around the world has enabled us to compile a unique international database for vehicle histories. We use this database to help make the used car market more transparent. We give everyone in the process of buying a used car access to what is currently the world's most comprehensive source for vehicle history reports, and is growing day by day.

We remain neutral and independent despite our partnerships — our sole purpose is help customers make an informed choice and ensure their safety and the safety of their family. This includes never collecting any personal details — we do not accept any PII from data sources amongst the information we provide about a vehicle. We ensure that data protection laws are observed at all times. Furthermore, we always collect our data in compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks — in all the countries in which we are active. We expressly distance ourselves from illegal activities such as data theft, scraping and hacking.


Gs300 review 2001 lexus

2001 LexusGS 300 Pricing and Specs

Compare 1 GS 300 trims and trim families below to see the differences in prices and features.

Trim Family Comparison


View 1 Trims


  • 3.0L I-6 Engine
  • 5-spd auto w/OD Transmission
  • 220 @ 5,800 rpm Horsepower
  • 220 @ 3,800 rpm Torque
  • rear-wheel Drive type
  • ABS and driveline Traction control
  • 16" silver aluminum Wheels
  • front air conditioning, dual zone automatic
  • AM/FM stereo, seek-scan Radio
  • keyfob (all doors) Remote keyless entry
  • front Fog/driving lights
  • Heated mirrors
  • cloth Seat trim
  • driver and passenger Lumbar support
Show More
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2003 Lexus GS 300 - POV Driving Impressions

Used Vehicle Review: Lexus GS 300/400/430, 1998-2005

2003 Lexus GS 430
2003 Lexus GS 430. Click image to enlarge

I’m going to try to read your mind. Describe a car to me and I’ll try and figure out which one you’re thinking of.

A little bit of luxury with a hint of sport – check. The styling stands out a little compared to other high-end sedans – got it. Engine choices are a V8 or an inline-six cylinder and the car is utterly reliable and trouble-free – check and check. Finally, its model run lasted from 1998 to 2005.

Alright, time to guess: second-generation Lexus GS 300/400? Am I right?

What gave it away, you ask? Well, the combination of luxury and sport could be many cars; German luxury is distinctive, but doesn’t necessarily stand out, and few other Japanese luxury cars from the late 1990s could be described as interesting to look at; BMW uses both V8s and inline sixes in its five series, but while they’re reasonably reliable, they’re hardly the be-all-and-end-all in bulletproof durability. And finally, the second-generation GS was indeed sold starting as a 1998 model and was recently replaced with an all-new design for 2006.

The rear-wheel-drive GS first appeared in the line-up of Toyota’s Lexus luxury division in 1993 as a rear-wheel-drive sedan that slotted in between the Camry-based ES 300 and the luxo-barge LS400. That original GS had a sleek profile with rounded edges and a high trunk that added a dash of sport to an otherwise stately and understated line-up of cars.

2003 Lexus GS 430
2003 Lexus GS 430. Click image to enlarge

The second-generation GS arrived in 1997 as a 1998 model with an updated take on the original’s looks: oblong quad headlights replaced the old model’s rectangles, and the taillights got a similar treatment. The new model was actually a little bit shorter than the outgoing one, but the overall effect of the styling was similar. More familiar was the 3.0 litre inline six under the hood, originally sourced from the wicked Toyota Supra, minus two turbos and about 100 horsepower. For 1998, though, power was no longer a problem as Lexus opted to make the 4.0 litre V8 used in the LS400 an option for the GS. Cars equipped with that engine got 17-inch wheels instead of 16s and a more aggressive body treatment that made the car look truly mean. In 2001, the V8 got a bump in displacement to 4.3 litres, prompting a name change (V8 models became the GS 430) and a small boost in torque (horsepower remained 300).

2002 Lexus GS 300
2002 Lexus GS 300. Click image to enlarge

A possible turn-off for some enthusiasts is that all second-generation GS models put their power down through a five-speed automatic. If you want a manual transmission in this class of car, BMW is probably your best bet, but it’s a good bet that nothing from Deutschland will provide as many trouble-free years of motoring as a Lexus will. That said, the GS doesn’t drive with the same connected-to-the-asphalt feel that the 5-series does, so corner carving will be more fun in the Fiver.

Check out Consumer Reports’ take on the GS: the magazine recommends every GS built between 1998 and 2004. Nothing from Germany can match that, and in fact, only the Lexus’ Japanese competition from Infiniti and Acura can come close to matching the GS’ bulletproof nature, and even they fall short in certain areas.

1998 Lexus GS 300
1998 Lexus GS 300. Click image to enlarge

Obviously, a six-cylinder model is the one to consider if fuel economy is a priority. The GS 300 can be expected to use between 12 and 13 L/100 km in the city and 8.7 L/100 km on the highway. Move up to the V8 model and city fuel consumption increases to 13.5 L/100 km while the bigger motor will use 9.3 L/100 km on the highway.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration never crash-tested a second-generation GS, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the GS its best pick rating in its frontal offset test and a marginal rating in rear impact testing.

1998 Lexus GS 400
1998 Lexus GS 400. Click image to enlarge

Price-wise, a used GS should be cheaper than a comparably equipped 5-series, for example. At the low end, a 1998 GS 300 is worth $15,400 according to Canadian Red Book, a little more than a quarter of its $58,900 M.S.R.P. Move all the way up to a nearly-new 2005 GS 430 and expect to pay $66,175, just a few grand off its M.S.R.P. of $69,500. For about $40,000, you could pick up a 2002 GS 430. If $30,000 is your budget, a 2001 GS 300 falls right around that price point, while a 1999 GS 400 is worth a little more than $20,000.

While the GS doesn’t offer the same driver-oriented experience as a BMW, the all-wheel-drive capability of an Audi A6 or the outright class of a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, it does offer unbeatable reliability and competent power in an attractive package and at a price that reinforces this car’s position as a terrific alternative to Teutonic touring.

On-line resources – These guys live and breathe all things Lexus and in fact, the forum section dedicated to the GS is the busiest one on this site. Obviously, many of Club Lexus’ 37,000 members drive them. If you buy a used GS and want information on it from fellow owners, go here. You’re welcome. – this is the place to go for all things Toyota, of which Lexus is one. All Lexus models are lumped together in one forum, so information specific to the GS 300/400 may be difficult to find without a concerted search effort. – this is a North American offshoot of a UK-based Lexus website. Here you’ll find a forum dedicated to the GS in all of its forms. There’s also a heap of other topics to discuss here, like aftermarket modifications, audio/video, for sale/wanted and many others. A basic membership is free, and there’s an optional gold membership available for a subscription fee. This is home for more than 20,000 wired Lexus owners. – the front page at is a Lexus aftermarket store, but a link at the top-left of the page takes you to the site’s forums, where you’ll find a GS discussion section. Registration is free.


Transport Canada Recall Number: 1998079; Units affected: 617

1998: a defective yaw rate sensor may be affected by certain electromagnetic waves such as from a cellular phone. This could cause the vehicle stability control (VSC) to operate improperly and cause the brakes to apply unexpectedly, affecting steering and speed control (and hence vehicle stability) and may increase the risk of a vehicle crash. Correction: yaw rate sensor will be replaced on affected vehicles.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 1998085; Units affected: 466

1998: these vehicles may not comply with C.M.V.S.S. 1105 – evaporative emissions. The malfunction indicator light (MIL) may fail to illuminate in response to an evaporative system leak and/or may illuminate falsely in response to a signal from the transmission speed sensor during deceleration. Correction: a modified ECM will be installed on affected vehicles.

Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site,, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site,

For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit

For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see


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