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2007 Lexus GS430 Review

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Model: Lexus GS430
Engine: 4.3-liter DOHC V8
Horsepower/Torque: 290 hp @ 5600 rpm/319 lb.-ft. @ 3400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 112.2 in.
Length/Width/Height: 190.0 x 71.7 x 56.1 in.
Tires: 245/40R18
Cargo volume: 12.7 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/20.6 mpg test
Sticker: $58,732 (includes $715 delivery, processing and handling fee and $5,642 in options)

The Bottom Line: Oh, baby, what a package. Here's a car with great looks and performance, but at a price. It offers excellent performance on long Interstate runs or on tight winding roads.

Lexus enjoys an enviable reputation for producing luxury rear wheel-drive cars in almost every class. The GS is the midsize Lexus. It offers a variety of engines; our tester came equipped with the 4.3-liter double overhead cam V8. There are also a 3.5-liter V6 and a 3.5-liter hybrid.

I think we're lucky that we have the 4.3-liter V8 to play with. It turns the GS into a performance car that gives the impression it can compete with anything on the highway. The engine is rated at 290 hp, but it feels like more. The rear wheels are driven through a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode.

Performance was excellent on Interstates as well as winding hillclimbs. I used the manual mode on the hillclimb and had a ball. The GS had excellent power for what I wanted, while the engine never exceeded 3000 rpm. I felt I wasn't working it hard enough, but I was gong as fast as I felt was prudent for the conditions. In other words, this is a car that I could have found myself in serious trouble with if I wasn't careful.

The automatic mode was excellent as well, especially on Interstates. There were tons of power available; you just had to ask for it.

The front suspension is independent with double wishbones, which is found in the better race cars. The independent rear suspension is a multi-link geometry. Gas-filled shocks are at all four corners.

The GS started a string of cars with push-button starting. You have to check the tachometer, because in true Lexus tradition, the engine is near-silent. And it's silent all the time, even on acceleration.

A luxury Lexus should offer a luxurious atmosphere for the driver and passengers. The driver faces a clean instrument panel with four gauges with white-on-black faces. A navigation system screen dominates the center of the dash. The screen is very intuitive for navigation (something many nav systems can't claim). The screen is also the readout for audio and HVAC controls. I thought the audio controls below the screen were small.

One feature of the dash I liked was the fold-out panel that contains the mirror adjusting switches, fuel cap release, trunk release, odometer reset and light controls. Use the panel for what's needed, then it folds away. The trick is to remember that the panel is there, it's just hidden, but my problem may be a senior problem. To aid seniors, the sunroof is easy to adjust. There's a small covered cubby below this panel that sometimes opens by mistake, though.

The trunk doesn't offer great numbers, at a mere 12.7 cubic feet, but it packs larger than this.

Rear legroom was very good for two passengers. There's a tall center hump that makes it difficult for a third center passenger. There's a fold-down armrest between the two seats with a trunk pass-through. There are assist handles at all four doors; for the seniors.

The GS isn't necessarily promoted as a performance car, but with the 4.3-liter V8 it certainly is. What';s nice is that it's a performance car clothed in a four-door sedan body, which makes it a PRACTICAL performance car. At a touch under $60,000, it competes with cars like the BMW 5-Series, Infiniti M and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. That's rich company, but the Lexus belongs there.

2007 The Auto Page Syndicate