The Lexus Effect - Lexus GS300 SE

For the first time in my life, I’ve had the privilege of being behind the wheel of one of motoring’s luxury-only brands. I walked into this experience with some pre-conceived ideas and after a few days behind the wheel, I must apologise for not giving you, Lexus, the credit and respect you so deserve.

As Kanya and I are in the market for a new car, we both look at the cars I evaluate from 2 perspectives. The one is for you, the readers and ‘consumers’ and the other view is very much a personal one. The Lexus has done a thorough job of convincing me that on the one hand, it’s a stunner of a car, oozing technology and sophistication. But on the other hand, it’s just not for us. We’re just not there yet. Let me explain:

If you read Lexus’ marketing and sales material, you get the sense that they really are interested in things like luxury, refinement, comfort, harmony, smoothness, tranquillity and class. I knew it was a luxury brand and quite frankly I used to found the cars a little bit bland, a little too under-the-radar. If you look carefully at the Lexus GS300 though, you soon realise that they’ve paid amazing attention to detail in every curve, in every inch. But it’s something that grows on you and the more time I spent with this car, the more that happened. Look at it carefully. It is not boring by any standard.

From the driver’s seat, it’s a little more dramatic and the detail is more in-ya-face with a host of buttons, emblems and switchgear throughout the cabin. The keyless entry system is not new tech by any means but it belongs here. The luxury begins and ends with this system and it wouldn’t be right to have this car without it. Push the start button and all the electronics come to life in a fusion of green backlighting on the buttons, a touchscreen multi-function display from where most of the in-car functions can be controlled, like the navigation, climate control settings, a 6-Disc DVD Mark Levinson system that is just incredible.

The drive started off a little bit underwhelming for me. ‘Jus cruising’ is what the car does. Silently, effortlessly. Even when you boot the accelerator pedal, the car seems to gather speed without letting you feel any less comfortable. You can just hear that V6 winding up to a soft shrill, but nothing that will get you excited. It’s so refined and so smooth. I have never driven anything this smooth and comfy before. The 183KW V6 engine is whisper soft and travelling beyond the 120km/h limit seems to be where the car is at its happiest. It's a tourer for sure. It’s soft, comfy & larny. It’s like a fur jacket made from real...fur. It’s so nice; and so comfortable that it feels a little strange.

This is what I’d say about the Lexus GS300SE: It’s exactly what the marketing collateral says. It’s supremely sophisticated and every bit the luxury they say it is. It’s spacious, safe, packed with tech and the niceties that you didn’t even think you needed. They’ve thought of everything for you and then some. There is so much in this car that it takes a few days just to get used to where everything is. You sometimes sit in the cabin knowing there is a feature to adjust the mirrors but you just can’t think of where it is. It is there, but it takes some time to find it. You know it has USB and iPod connectivity, but it’s just not within your eyes view. It’s there, but you have to find it. And that’s really my summary of the car.

It’s impeccable and every bit the brand, but it takes some getting used to. It’s not something that needs to grow on you. It’s something that YOU need to grow into. I love it, but I’m just not grown yet. I still want the drama that comes from the exhaust. I still want to feel a little more alive in the driver's seat. I still want the rock n roll.

AM -

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