Our tester came in a spiffy Matador Red Mica color, which is as attention-getting as the name suggests. As with just about every Lexus, the first thing you’ll notice is the front, and this GS 300’s spindle grille is evocative. It looks like a menacing smile, unmistakably chiseled to evoke the brand’s power and finesse. This GS features a posture that contributes to its status as one of the most well-designed and sleek mid-size luxury sport sedans.
The F SPORT features several aesthetic upgrades that jazz things up quite a bit. The L-shaped LED headlights ($1,160) and somewhat hidden fog lights fit sleekly around the grille, positioned to light the road and retreat into the background when not in use. The F SPORT package also outfits the sedan with 19-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels with dark graphite finish, plus rear lip spoiler and F SPORT badging.
Our 2018 Lexus GS 300 F SPORT came in Naguri Aluminum interior trim with black headliner. Attention to detail is ample throughout, and so is space in and around the sedan’s bucket seats. Lexus car cabins are usually stylish and sleek, and the GS 300 is no different. The gauges are easy to read and even the analog clock is a classy addition (even if it’s a bit strange). The dashboard is built with high-grade plastic materials and accented with metallic trim and padded leather.
The F SPORT seats are well-crafted but considering this is a sports sedan, more emphasis and reinforcement would be welcome for added comfort. The rear seats provide just enough space for adults of average height, although we noticed the knee room is scarce and the middle position is a tight squeeze, best for a small child.
There’s a bit of an oversight in the interior design, which compounds the troubles with the remote touch joystick. The gap on the right of the joystick is oddly out of place in the center console, serving no purpose other than being a space to be filled with dust and dirt.
The F SPORT trim upscales the sedan in a major way. The touches include a heated leather steering wheel ($150), color heads up display ($900), and the Mark Levinson 17-speaker, 835-watt with 7.1 premium surround sound system ($1,380). Perhaps the most visible centerpiece here is the 12.3-inch screen and Lexus Enform with color multimedia display, voice command, remote touch controller ($1,735).
The GS 300 base model averages 26 mpg with 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, while the F SPORT trim is expectedly lower, coming in at 24 mpg average with 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
Powering the 2018 Lexus GS 300 F SPORT is a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with twin-scroll turbocharger. Controlled by an 8-speed auto transmission, this engine notches 241 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Lexus powertrain and suspension are on point, as expected. The driver can dial up the Sport+ mode on the wheel to firm up the adaptive variable suspension. It offers just enough firmness without being too stiff or cause discomfort. The variable gear-ratio steering is a bit awkward at slower speeds, although the sedan does manage to handle corners just fine.
The drawback for the GS 300 is that its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is, for lack of better description, too modest and bereft of excitement. Acceleration is quick and there’s enough torque, but when revved up, the sedan taps out too quickly for our liking. The desire for more power is unavoidable after spending some time behind the wheel of the GS 300 F SPORT.
The MSRP for the 2018 Lexus GS 300 F SPORT is $50,000. With optional add-ons, the total price is $55,390.
What we liked: Between the stylish exterior, F SPORT badging, the nimble steering/great handling and comfortable front seats, this sedan achieves high marks.
What we didn’t like: The lack of power under the hood and tepid responsiveness are among the inconspicuous drawbacks.
The midsize luxury sedan segment presents serious rivals to the 2018 Lexus GS 300 F SPORT. These include the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Infiniti Q70 and the Cadillac CTS. The BMW is spruced up and offers more robust engine choices, including a hybrid plug-in.
Meanwhile, the E-Class is stacked with awesome interior design, plus a variety of models and body styles that make it hard to compete against. Compared against the E-Class and the 5 Series, the GS 300 does offer more room in the trunk. The GS 300 F SPORT also carries a lower price than just about all of the German models, features above-average fuel economy and offers some of the best handling within the class.
Photo Credit: Copyright 2019 Victor Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog