There is no crying in test driving new vehicles! But, I was almost to that point when the time came to return the GS 200t and then the following week the IS 200t; both rear-wheel drives hailing from the Lexus 2016 releases. These safety conscious luxury sedans feature a turbocharged four-cylinder engine teamed an eight-speed automatic transmission, delivering 241 horsepower.
Fast is an understatement.
Let’s start with the mid-size GS 200t that comes in colors such as Matador Red Mica. The spacious interior of the five-seater features elegant material and innovative technology that Lexus loyalists know all to well, and at a level that even prompted a pre-teen family member, who was lounging in the back seat, to whisper, “I can get used to this.”
The multi-media display with mouse controls in the console area add an executive feel to the driving experience. Warning. You will need an assistant – AKA the front seat passenger — to help with the cursor. Keeping it steady while driving can be tricky.
If you’re in a bit of a rush, don’t let your feet know. The available high performance F and F-Sport feature will sense the urgency in your toes, and you are off to the races. And loving it. The adrenaline rush I felt while driving the GS 200t left an interesting residue in my spirit, which made for an awkward drive of the Redline-colored IS 200t when it arrived. I wanted to go even faster in the sportier compact sedan, which features the always-fun, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Ultimately, the speed is impressive in both. The GS reportedly goes from 0 to 60 in 7.2 seconds compared to the 0-60 in 6.9 seconds offered by the IS. I was spoiled by the fact that the mid-size GS possesses such power and handling.
However, the compact IS has the GS beat in one area that obviously has more of my attention than probably necessary. Though the center console is beautifully packaged in soft padding in both vehicles, neither of the luxury rides offers much space for items up front with the driver. Various control features are situated here including the drive mode as well as the heated/ventilated seats buttons and cup holders. Most anything else will be stored in the door or the armrest.
Speaking of the armrest, well that’s another story and more of a pet peeve. If we’re on an airplane, I expect there to be an involuntary touching issue. But in a car? Really? Why should the armrest be situated so that our elbows touch while I’m driving? Maybe we both want to lean in or over. Also, why should I have to tell my passenger to raise their arm every time I need to go into the armrest storage area to take something out?
Conceivably, the driver and front passenger can negotiate the best position between the ever adjustable power seats and come to a truce, but at the outset… This was my line of questioning while in the GS, but the IS was on point with a more strategic center console design for folks like me. The cup holders in the IS are integrated into the armrest on the passengers side, so there was truly only enough room for my elbow. Yes, I can get used to this.
Afterthought: I noticed that a 6-4, 300-pound passenger of mine actually had more headroom in the front seat of the more compact IS. The stats show that there is indeed an extra .2 inches of headroom in the IS. The IS 200t just keeps getting better and better.
The Lexus 2016 GS 200t MSRP: $45,615; Combined City/Highway MPG: 26.
The Lexus 2016 IS 200t MSRP: $37,325; Combined City/Highway MPG: 26.
Learn more at Lexus.com