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Lexus GS 450h F Sport.

When the current shape GS was released back in 2012, it was one of the more advanced and certainly the sharpest-dressed sedan in the segment. Taking a look inside the model now, it still presents a contemporary decor.

The dash sits forward to leave plenty of legroom in the front, and it’s slightly skewed to the driver for a sporty theme. Although the centre console is high, making you feel cocooned in to some degree, the atmosphere is airy and certainly not claustrophobic. It is one of the more accommodating vehicles in the segment in our opinion.

Of course, being a Lexus, it is filled to the brim with technology and advanced gadgets. Most of it is housed in the on-board multimedia system which uses an 8.0-inch screen or an optional 12.3-inch wide-screen LCD (as tested). The 12.3-inch screen was once the largest in the class, before some of the German rivals eventually caught up. Other standard conveniences include a power blind for the rear windscreen, head-up display with adjustable settings, and multiple driving modes (altering steering, suspension, and rear-wheel steering).

Lexus has decided to stick with the joystick-style controller for the multimedia unit, which is one of the most creative yet complex tools around. Many rivals offer an iDrive-style controller, first offered by BMW. The joystick does take a bit of getting used to, like everything really. Once you get the hang of it and try out the different sensitivity settings, you’re soon able to use it like you invented it. It is significantly easier to use than Lexus’s touch-pad setup which is installed in some current showroom models.

Standard inclusions for the interface are comparatively impressive, with sat-nav, traffic information with speed camera alert, a rear-view camera now with rear cross-traffic alert, digital radio with good reception (some digital radio systems in cars offer pathetic reception), and multi-format media support. Lexus is a bit behind when it comes to apps such as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, with no options for these as yet. It does offer its ENFORM system though with mobile-based internet connectivity.

The optional 17-speaker stereo system produces excellent bass and clarity, once you fiddle with the settings, however, we still think Mark Levison units are a touch behind in terms of high-end standards. Some of the market rivals are offered with sensational units from Bang & Olufsen Automotive and Harman Kardon. Funnily enough all three brands fall under the Harman International Industries umbrella.

Published: Thursday, August 6, 2015

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