1997 Lexus GS300

  • 1997 Lexus GS300 Base Sedan

    Base Sedan

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      3.0L I6
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1997 Lexus GS300 Review

A plush luxury car with head-turning looks.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1997 Lexus GS300 is a midsize luxury sport sedan, slotted between the front-wheel-drive midsize executive ES300 and the full-size flagship LS400. It has a three-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces 220 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission was added in 1996.

Because the 1997 Lexus GS300 is more expensive to manufacture than many of its rivals, it still comes with a rather expensive price tag, but it is a competent and solid car, but it's regrettably still lacking a bit in personality. Modest sales figures have prompted a redesign for the 1998 model year.

The Range

Body Styles: four-door sedan
Engines: 3.0-liter I-6
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Lexus GS300

What's New

The 1997 Lexus GS300 makes no significant changes. This is the final year for the first generation; a complete redesign is scheduled for 1998.


The 1997 Lexus GS300 is designed by Italdesign Giugiaro, an Italian automobile and engineering company. Stylistically, the front styling reminds some people of the Ford Mustang. It's more easily identifiable from a side view, thanks to its unique roofline, but the bulky rear quarters and weird taillight design may be a visual turnoff to some. Additionally, some luxury car enthusiasts may turn their nose up anything resembling America’s quintessential sport coupe.

The 1997 Lexus GS300 has a curb weight of 3660 pounds and rides a 109.4-inch wheelbase. It is 194.9 inches in length, 70.7 inches wide, and 55.9 inches tall. It also has rack and pinion steering, full independent suspension, and 16-inch tires.


The 1997 Lexus GS300 can accommodate up to five occupants. The center console is decorated with a walnut wood trim. The front has bucket leather seats with an automatic tilt and telescoping steering wheel. Headroom is adequate with 38.3 inches in the front and 36.8 inches in the back. Front legroom is a sufficient 44 inches, but the backseat is a tight fit for taller passengers with just 33.8 inches of legroom.

The 1997 Lexus GS300 gets luxury touches that are abundant throughout with illuminate gauges and controls that are practically placed. The quality of the material is top notch, as expected from a Lexus vehicle. Standard features include air-conditioning, cruise control, tachometer, tilt steering, a cassette player, and a multi-adjustable power driver seat. Options include a Nakamichi premium audio system, a power moonroof, and a 12-disc CD-changer with remote.

Performance & Handling

The 1997 Lexus GS300 is somewhat sluggish when accelerating, although the newly-added five-speed automatic transmission drastically improves acceleration. It performs and handles well, and cornering is nimble. The ride itself is smooth, quiet, and a reminder that this is indeed a luxury car, but a sport-minded sedan would ideally have a bit more power. When it comes to acceleration, it's most likely somewhere in the middle of the pack due to the market recently being inundated with V-8-powered sport sedans.


The 1997 Lexus GS300 comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, an anti-theft alarm system, driver and passenger front airbags, and fog lights. The NHTSA crash test results gave three stars for driver and passenger safety in frontal impact crashes.

EPA Fuel Economy

Lexus GS300: 18/23 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Rich interior materials, luxury feel
  • Nice looking
  • Superb fit and finish
  • Quality stereo system

You Won't Like

  • Expensive
  • Underperforming
  • Lack of legroom in the backseat

Sum Up

A plush luxury car with head-turning looks.

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