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Lexus GS 300/GS 430

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  • adb3adb3 Posts: 112
    This latest turn of the discussion has hit a chord with me. Lexus in general has never marketed its brand toward the "enthusiasts" per se. The only models that one can argue that lean that way are the GS & IS, IMO. But through its history it seems that Lexus has mainly targeted the mainstream consumer who wanted a little prestige with their luxury but also wanted to pay a reasonable price and above all wanted to feel comfortable that they were plunking hard earned dollars on a vehicle with top-notch reliability.

     

    I currently own a GS3 & RX330. I bought the 330 off the boat, sight unseen because I knew that this was a "bread and butter" vehicle for Lexus and figured they would do everything required to keep it ahead of the pack. The rest is history--best selling luxury SUV ever and top-notch ratings from Consumer Reports and the like. I've got 30,000 miles on the 330 with no major problems and it rides today as it did the day I picked it up. It's not the fastest or considered to have the best driveability characteristics, but it's good enough for me and a whole lot of others. Nuff said.

     

    This is my second GS. The first I leased and it was a great car throughout. The second I purchased at the end of my lease through the pre-owned certification program primarily to tide me over until the "new" GS arrived. BTW, its true GS sales have waned the past two years but I partly attribute this to the fact that GS consumers knew a new GS was coming and partly because of the GS rock-solid reliability--so many owners hold on to their cars for extended periods. It's quite interesting that for at least the last two years the GS models are the top-rated mid-sized luxury sedans as reported by J.D. Powers, hmmm.

     

    Well I've heard all the arguments about the new GS that its not powerful enough or not sporty looking enough or it looks too much like a Altima or Maxima. To each is own, but as for the looks, I've seen it in person and I say don't believe the negative hype. IMO, this is one good looking piece of machinery. I'd already put down my deposit and will receive a new GS430 off the first shipment to my area, but seeing it for myself confirmed my instincts were spot on again. Again, it may not be the fastest or the most driveable but for my money it embodies the best combination of all the attributes I want in a car. Nuff said.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    .. **but the bread and butter of Lexus' business is not from people who sit and chat on Edmunds discussion threads. It took me a while to realize this, but no matter how educated you become as an enthusiast, it doesn't make you the "norm" and does not make companies market to you.** ....

     

                    Bingo.!

     

                 You hit the nail right on the head....

     

                                   Terry.
  • That is one impressive ad for the new GS in C&D this month!

     

        DrFill!
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Interesting read on many posts here lately.

     

    Talking about pricing for the new GS RWD twins at $50K and $57K, saw an ad for the M45 which topped out at $56,9K with the Sport/Premium Package (exl. destination charge) making it a-wash vs the GS430 price-wise (no head-to-head performance eval yet). For an Infiniti, that is pretty high considering you can get an LS430 for another $5K more. Granted the M and LS markets to different clientele, BUT, when you are closing in on $60K, clienteles are not that many and can be far choosy.

     

    For the price and prestige of an E500 would you buy the Infiniti M45 ?

     

    For the price of a 545i would you be in an equally-priced Infiniti ?

     

    I guess we'll find out soon enough how much market share Infiniti will steal from MB/BMW in this sector.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    An apples to apples comparison would compare a Non-sport M45 w/ Journey and Tech packages ($54,000) vs. the $58,000 GS430.

     

    http://www.config.infiniti.com/Dispatch.jsp?xefrAction=36&__a- - - ction2=&__action3=&state_token=2%3A17%3Ainfiniti%7Cmco%7C- - - 2006%7C1%7C85D4fg%2FvPA%7CAAAAAABAEA%7CAAAAAAAAEA%3A22202&.Cu- - - rrentState=MiniConfig&unselectVehicle=null&lc=true&pr- - - =%240&ti=%240&dp=%243%2C000&ir=6%25&tm=60&lpr- - - =%240&lti=%240&ldp=%243%2C000&ltm=36&lty=15%2C000- - - +mi%2Fyr&TrimLevel=2

     

    The Premium package includes stuff like DVD Rear Entertainment System and power reclining heated rear seats with climate controls, things that aren't on the GS430. Nor does the GS430 have a Sport version that offers active rear suspension. The Infiniti dealer said that very few M's with Premium Package will be sold.

     

    A similarly equipped 545i is $63,600.

    A similarly equipped E500 is $66,000.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    jrock:

     

    What I am trying to ask here is if Infiniti has reached the cache level of the MBs, BMWs, Lexi, to charge ~$60K for a non-premium full size lux-sport car in the M45?

     

    BTW, I think you'd agree that there is an uplift in pricing based on brand recognition/cache/ whatever you call it... And Lexus/MB/BMW have all earned the right to charge high for their products. Infiniti has nothing in the high-end market to bring $60K buyers in to their dealerships.

     

    Talking of buyers, the demographics for the Lexus, according to Clements, are 40+-yr-olds, male, with household income >$150K. This will be the same demographics for the E320/500, 530/545, GS4, M45, A6 4.2, S-type 4.2, etc...

     

    This is the backdrop to my question if Infiniti can succeed with the M45 pricing close to $60K with such fierce competition. I do agree that the M35 is aggresively priced and will be a screaming bargain if under $42K LOADED.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    "What I am trying to ask here is if Infiniti has reached the cache level of the MBs, BMWs, Lexi, to charge ~$60K for a non-premium full size lux-sport car in the M45?"

     

    Nope. Not yet. That's why they are priced at much less for similary equipped models.

     

    E500: $66,000

    545i: $63,600

    GS430: $58,000

    M45: $54,000

     

    Looks like a pretty representative totem pole of where the brands are in terms of cachet.

     

    The best selling configuration will probably be the M35 Non-sport with Journey Package, price at $43,260. Quite a few may opt for the Navi, making it $45,260.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Of the '06 GS300 has been posted. They seemed to have positive comments on the car, if a little ambiguous to just HOW sporty it actually turned out to be. They did mention though that the lightweight aluminum 6 actually feels more nimble than the 430. Interesting.
  • glenfordglenford Posts: 138
    Interesting writeup. I particularly liked this:

     

    "The volume seller, though, will be the $42,900 GS 300, which makes use of an all-new ultrasmooth 32-valve double-overhead cam V6 engine."

     

    I wonder which 2 cylinders have the extra sixth valve?
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I've been saying for awhile that Edmunds.com would do well to edit their articles.

     

    What exactly does this mean:

     

    "Overall the car is a hair shorter, narrower and longer than a 5 Series."

     

    An amazing car this Lexus- it manages to be shorter AND longer than the BMW!!!!

     

    ~alpha
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    They did mention though that the lightweight aluminum 6 actually feels more nimble than the 430. Interesting.

     

    And at the same time they claim that they have yet to get their hands on the 430 for a test !

     

    Like alpha said, a little editing would be nice.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Now this is interesting a Lexus salesman telling the devotees that they don't know what a Lexus buyer wants. Yikes, disagreement in Lexi land! Unbelievable. Mercedes and BMW the ones that Lexus and Infiniti constantly chase in several different segments are "lightweights". Ok.

     

    Seriously though I think Lexus is still facing a huge uphill battle with the new GS, as it really doesn't move the game on and Lexus' buyers have really shown the don't care about "sport", that much is obvious by the majority of actual Lexus owners that posts on these boards, except the rare IS300 owner. The next IS is where Lexus has the chance to make a G35-like splash into the sports sedan segment. I don't think the GS will do anything more than the previous one did, just my opinion.

     

    M
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Shorter as in not as tall.

     

    Longer as in from bumper to bumper.
  • "Mercedes and BMW the ones that Lexus and Infiniti constantly chase"

     

    I hope that's not true, since I've owned all three and Lexus is the only one I'll buy again.
  • I am new to this board as a member but have read for months. I think our Lexus salesperson makes a good point. However, if Lexus is going to rule the world, they WILL have to appeal to the performance buyers who go to BMW or Infiniti. They cant rule the world and at same time ignore these buyers who care about 0-60 times or they will walk from Lexus.

     

    I am evaluating the following options based on key criteria that are important to me, which will obviously differ from many others and be carry different weights as well:

     

    Performance (power, handling, fun to drive)

    Comfort and convenience

    Value (not absolute price but what you get in relation to price. Hyundai is cheap, but might be low in Value)

    Reliability

    Looks/styling inside and out

    Brand/prestige

     

    I am considering the GS300/430, M35/45 and a low mileage 2003 BMW 540i (later 5-series have much worse reliability, i-drive and new styling which I do not prefer).

     

    Here are my preliminary thoughts on these, based largely on written reports, recognizing I havent yet driven the M or GS. So tentative observations only!

     

    The 2003 BMW 540 rates high right now. It has superior value: You bypass the yr1-2 depreciation hit and dealer mark ups, you get outstanding performance (6.2secs 0-60) awesome handling and fun to drive, great, traditional looks, strong brand/prestige and very good reliability. It has it all, IF you can get over the idea of not buying a brand new car. Honestly, that is an issue with me as I've purchased brand new cars always. But an economic analysis I read several years ago showed that the best economic decision is to buy a low mileage one year old car and keep it til it dies. But who is thinking economics when considering a 40-60K car???!!!

     

    IMO, the GS300 is a little weak on performance for what you pay (lower value). That might not matter to your typical Lexus buyer, but it does to me! Don't get me wrong - I like Lexus, but am dissappointed in their price/performance.

     

    The GS430 at $57K loaded is OK on value given resale values of a Lexus and performance, but compared to a clean BMW540 with 15K miles which I have seen for about $42K, how do you justify the extra $15. Sure it has more bells and whistles like back up camera and Mark Levinson, but those arent among my criteria. And there's that smart economic buyer advantage.

     

    The M35 is also a top candidate for me. Great blend of value, performance (more than GS if you look at GS300 vs. M35 and about equal with GS430 vs. M45), comfort, style. We know Infiniti isnt considered as strong a brand as Lexus, so you have to ask yourself and be honest about how much prestige matters to you. Resale is likely better for Lexus too. I would take the M35 over the GS300 for sure, but if you want to spend $55k-$60k, then the GS430 looks better. Hard for either of those top performers to beat the BMW540 though when you weigh all the factors on paper.

     

    Bottom line, I am open minded on all these til I test drive the new M and GS. Let's be honest, buying cars in this class isnt a practical, economic, analytical decision, it's about what feels good. Otherwise, we'd all own 10 year-old reliable, low end Hondas and Toyotas. To each is own.
  • "I hope that's not true, since I've owned all three and Lexus is the only one I'll buy again."

     

    Relax. It is not true. Lexus has been the top selling luxury brand for 5 years in a row. Everyone is chasing Lexus. Lexus is pursuing perfection.
  • "The 2003 BMW 540 ... get outstanding performance (6.2secs 0-60) awesome handling and fun to drive, great, traditional looks, strong brand/prestige and very good reliability. It has it all."

     

    I am afraid it does not have it all. The last term, reliability, is not BMW's strong suite. In fact, BMW has some of the worst ratings with the 5 and 7 series.
  • I'm probably on the young side of the non-IS Lexus demographic. I owned a 95 3-series, 98 5-series and a Mercedes M. My 3-series was flat-bedded 3 or 4 times for electronic shut-downs, and my 5-series suffered random electronic problems as well. My Mercedes was a bigger lemon than the Chevys that I have owned, and the customer service at the dealer was the worst I've seen.

     

    I've had my GS for 4 years and it feels just as good today as it did the day I bought it. The Levinson audio system still blows me away. My priorities have changed. I prefer the priorities that Lexus puts into its cars and the dealer service has been great. I'll give up an aggressive ride and faster acceleration for a quite non-fatiguing reliable car all day long. That's why my next car will be another Lexus.
  • sortersorter Posts: 146
    Reliable is the key why Lexus is ahead of the BMWs, and Benz and all the other BMW wannabes. The German lovers can't really argue with that point, because they are still trying to match Dodge.

     

    Speaking being sporty, certainly Lexus can do better. Can anyone argue a BMW 5 vs a Toyota Supera?! But Toyota supera wasn't good for business, and a "driver car" image for Lexus isn't good for business either.

     

    One company can not cover all area, and can not be the ONLY company in the world. However, one that does build cars most people Love to buy, wins market share.

     

    Today, Most people wants a GM, tommrrow, it will be a Toyota.

     

    I do think, however, with the new super-car coming out in 07, It should have a different badge than Lexus or Toyota. It is time for a brand like Porsche, and not only a Lexus sub-brand like the BMW M or Benz AMG.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Just take a look at things like the controls, and you'll see how behind the times a '03 BMW is vs. the new M or GS.
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