LOOKS . Elegant
COMFORT . Supreme
QUALITY . Isolation
STEREO . Expected More
FUN TO DRIVE . Delightful
HEADS TURNED . Young Execs
EMOTION . Want One
CACHET . Seductive


Sticker . $44,885.
Power . 220 horsepower
0 to 60 . 8 to 9 sec.
Test Mileage . 21.2 mpg
Seating . 4 +1
Trunk . 13 cubic feet
Parking . Heavenly


Luxury, luxury, luxury; these days everyone is selling luxury. Lexus is to blame, for their debut models reinvigorated this marketing concept with a vengeance several years ago and launched a slew of copycat cars. They did so by providing outstanding refinement, quality and value; thus selling a lot of cars to owners of domestic and European marques who found their expensive tugboats delivering too little of those qualities. Except on price, where Lexus has moved well ahead of the competition, they maintain their advantage.

The GS300 is a unique model which follows its own muse when deciding exactly what luxury is all about. Leading edge styling, that remains attractive several years after introduction catches one's first notice. Superb paint finish and nice detailing come to the fore on closer inspection. The interior remains one of the best; exquisite design, graceful styling, fine materials and splendid comfort for four. Every body is trying to copy the Lexus ambiance, nobody has got it yet. It's so nice in here, you just don't want to get out.

On the road the GS300 delivers reasonable power, extreme isolation and very smooth performance. There are faster and crisper luxury cars more suited to aggressive drivers, but none offering such a pleasant balance of comfort and cavort. If top performance is important to you, shop around. If genuine luxury, as opposed to gadgets, gimcracks and ostentation, is what you seek, shop no more.

All of this is simply marvelous, til one gets down to the fine print on the window sticker. At this point, those of even immodest means may pause. Having established their premiere reputation, Lexus has no reservations about asking you to pony up the big bucks for one of their fine sedans. The best does cost more, and of course, no one ever regretted buying the best. You'll get it back on the resale.