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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Lexus GS 430 Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Lexus GS 430 Overview

Stealth Performer

Have you fallen in love with the look and feel of the GS 300, but felt it was somehow lacking in power? Lexus has a solution to your dilemma, one that looks and feels just like the GS 300, but is powered by a velvety-smooth V8 with enough muscle to pin you to the back of your seat. The GS 430 is the ultimate GS, with a long list of standard features and a few extra goodies unavailable on the GS 300.

The GS 430 shares the same engine and transmission as the top-of-the-line LS 430; this fact alone makes the car a highly desirable purchase, especially since there is about an eight grand difference in the starting price. The GS 430 also has a bit more youthfulness about it than the lofty LS, and it certainly can move more quickly on its feet. With all the agility of a well-focused track star, the GS 430 will thrill you with its ability to cut corners, charge up hills and stop on a dime.

A quick peek underneath reveals what is at the heart of the GS 430's thrill-like ride: a multi-link rear suspension coupled to a rear-wheel-drive layout. Ask any enthusiast which he prefers and you'll hear rear drive over front drive every time. Front-drive cars benefit from having the engine's weight over the drive wheels, thus increasing traction in foul weather. But this same layout is usually a hindrance to high-performance cars because the wheels used for steering are also pulling the car; at some point, there is an inevitable conflict between the two tasks with the end result being severe plowing (also known as understeer).

Lexus has overcome much of the shortcomings common to rear-drive cars by outfitting the GS 430 with a highly-sophisticated rear suspension, adding a limited-slip rear differential and topping the whole works off with a host of electronic traction and stability programs. The result is a full-size sedan that handles, corners and brakes like a much lighter, less sizable vehicle. Push the GS 430 into a turn and instead of lean or roll, you feel only G forces pressing you into the sides of the well-bolstered leather seats. You'll find yourself grateful for the thickly-padded leather-wrapped steering wheel that affords you not only a means to pilot the GS 430 but an anchor point to rest your vice-like grip as you snake the GS through hairpin turns.

As you leave that final turn, the GS's suspension hands off its adrenaline-rush responsibilities to the engine and transmission like a relay racer passing the final baton; at the first hint of a straightaway, you'll nail the accelerator to the floor and experience the rush of a sub-six second 0 to 60 run that will rob the air from your lungs and the blood from your legs. Fast is too slow an adjective to adequately describe the GS 430's acceleration capabilities.

Perhaps the most unusual thing about the GS 430's performance is how silently it executes each operation. Inside the cabin, there is little evidence of gear whine or exhaust rush, only the harmonic sounds of a finely-oiled machine. The optional Mark Levinson sound system will obliterate any remaining unwanted sounds, including those that may be emanating from the passenger seat. For the record, you can also opt to equip your GS with a power glass moon roof, GPS guided navigation system, a rear spoiler and a walnut and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob.

When you slip into the supple yet supportive seats, your eyes will behold a dazzling light show that is the GS 430's dash. Lighting seems to play an integral role in establishing the Lexus ambiance, contrasting the bright fluorescent blue instrument gauges against the lesser pinpoint lights that softly illuminate the foot wells, door handles and switchgear. You'll want for little in the GS 430 as almost every luxury feature is standard and those not immediately visible can surely be found on the GS 430's extensive options list. Such basic necessities as one touch up/down power windows, automatic climate control, heated front seats, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, power seats with memory and lumbar feature are a given in this class, as are the front side and side head curtain airbags. But to have HID headlights, rain-sensing wipers, an onboard trip computer, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and 17-inch alloy wheels shows Lexus' commitment to sustaining the image of a true performance luxury car.

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