Twenty year ago the Lexus brand came to the UK with the LS400 luxury limousines. Since then the range has expanded and hybrid models have been the mainstay power sources.
Now the fourth generation GS executive four door saloon (BMW 5-Series size) has arrived. The range now has the option of non-hybrid GS250 versions with a 2.5-litre V6 206bhp petrol engine as well as usual hybrid 450h, 3.6-litre, V6, 341bhp petrol/electric powertrain.
Get a FREE LEXUS GS Brochure
Looking for a new car then why not start with a glossy LEXUS GS brochure?
But still there is no diesel engine option in the GS line-up or any other Lexus model range which is really 'a must' in this market sector dominated by business/company car sales.
Although hybrid power is a core powertrain philosophy for the Lexus brand, due to UK customer feedback, the new GS range saw the re-introduction of a petrol engine option after it had been deleted in 2009 due to low sales. Retail customers wanted a more affordable GS than the expensive to buy hybrid models.
By introducing the 2.5-litre petrol engine the price entry point for the new GS range has fallen by a significant £12,000. The least expensive new model is the GS250 SE petrol variant priced at £32,995. The starter price for the hybrid models is £44,995 for the GS450h Luxury variant.
OK so the hybrid versions have lower CO2 figures at 141 to 145g/km which means less road tax at £135 and BIK company car tax is 19/20 per cent. The 2.5-litre petrol model's 207g/km of CO2 results in £600 First Year rate VED reducing to £270 per annum and 32 per cent BIK company use tax.
The Lexus GS 450h hybrid also scores for fuel economy with 46.3mpg in the Combined Cycle against 31.7mpg for the GS250 petrol version. But the price difference of £12,000 buys an awful lot of petrol and offsets the added tax costs.
Lexus forecasts around 1,500 GS sales in the UK this year, the slight majority going to business user chooser and fleet customers so the 450h hybrid versions will marginally outsell the petrol GS250 versions.
A diesel powered GS would be a better choice but there isn't one and none is due so its UK business/fleet sales potential is limited. Curious really when new car sales to business/fleet users in the UK account for 55 per cent of new car registrations and most opt for diesel power due to taxation.