The most significant changes for the new model year are found by popping the hood. Closely following the industry’s downsizing trend, the GS adopts a new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that uses a twin-scroll turbocharger to make 241 horsepower at 5,800 rpm — 70 less than the GS 350, the next model up — and 258 foot-pounds of torque between 1,650 and 4,400 rpm.
Also found in the NX, the IS and the Euro-spec RC, the turbo four sends the entry-level GS 200t from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 130 mph. That’s noticeably slower than the GS 350, but the smaller engine helps the 200t return an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, increases of 2 and 4 mpg, respectively, over the 350.
The four-cylinder can’t be ordered with all-wheel drive, meaning the only configuration available is an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. The GS 350 carries on with a direct-injected, 3.5-liter V6 but it gets a small, nearly imperceptible bump in power. Finally, the gas-electric GS 450h carries on with no major modifications.
Moving out of the engine bay, the GS gains a much bigger rendition of the spindle grille that characterizes every member of the Lexus lineup, a new front bumper with bigger air vents and sharper headlights that fall in line with the company’s current design language. Out back, the visual revisions are largely limited to new-look tail lamps.
Lexus has packed more tech into the GS’ cockpit, starting with a new instrument cluster that comes with a configurable 4.2-inch LCD screen. Select models benefit from a bigger 12.3-inch screen that runs the latest generation of Lexus’ navigation system.
The 2016 Lexus GS will land in showrooms across the United States before the year draws to a close. Pricing information will be published in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.
On the Lexus stand in Pebble Beach, the 2016 GS is sharing the spotlight with the 2016 LX. Lexus’ flagship has been comprehensively updated with new sheet metal, more high-tech features, and a new transmission.
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