Lexus GS400

The eight-cylinder Lexus GS400 debuted in 1998 as a more powerful alternative to the V-6-equipped Lexus GS300. With a 4.0-liter UZ-series V-8 engine capable of producing 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, the high-powered midsize luxury cruiser was promoted by Lexus as the world’s fastest production sedan.

More on the Lexus GS400
Lexus GS400 Origins

Variable valve timing increased fuel economy and helped the GS400 achieve an acceleration time of 5.4 seconds when going zero to 60 mph. All models came with a five-speed automatic transmission that could be manually shifted with controls located on the steering wheel.

Like the GS300, the GS400 featured a low profile, curved fastback silhouette with short back end, and a sweeping quad headlight front design. Standard premium amenities included leather upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a shift knob with leather and wood trim, and alloy wheels.

The new design of the second-generation GS sedans helped spur greater sales. By the end of 1998, Lexus sold a combined 30,622 models of the GS300 and GS400. In 2001, the Lexus GS400 was replaced by the 4.3-liter V-8-powered GS430.

About the Lexus GS400

True to the form of other GS models, the Lexus GS400 is widely recognized for a combination of luxurious amenities and athletic prowess.

Thanks to a 4.0-liter V-8 engine producing 310 lb-ft of torque, sport performance was even more pronounced in the GS400 than in previous models. However, a lack of manual transmission kept the luxury vehicle from competing at the same level as high-powered European sport sedans such as those in Mercedes’ E-Class and BMW’s 5 Series.

Above all, the GS400 is known as a refined cruiser capable of smoothly and stylishly covering extended distances. Variable valve timing helped improve fuel economy for commutes of all lengths, while a 19.8 gallon fuel tank allowed for long stretches between gas station stops.

A spacious five-seat cabin provided plenty of room, particularly up front. Plush standard amenities in the final GS400 model included leather seating, wood and leather trim, and dual-zone climate control. Popular upgrades included a GPS-based touchscreen navigation system and a Nakamichi premium audio system.

Lexus GS400 Features

Lexus produced the last GS400 for the 2000 model year, replacing the sedan with the more powerful GS430 in 2001.

The most recent GS400 came equipped with a 4.0-liter 300-horespower V-8 and a five-speed automatic transmission that could be shifted manually using controls mounted to the steering wheel.

Standard equipment in the single-trim 2000 GS400 included 16-inch alloy wheels, tinted privacy glass, fog lights, leather seats, a leather-trimmed power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a leather and wood shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated exterior mirrors, auto-dim mirrors, steering wheel audio controls, keyless entry, a garage door opener, driver seat memory settings, stability and traction control, and vehicle skid control. Driver and passenger front air bags, front side airbags, and antilock brakes were standard safety features.

A number of premium options were available in 2000. Upgrades included a rear spoiler, chrome wheels, touchscreen navigation system, power sunroof, heated front seats, xenon headlights, and a premium Nakamichi audio system with in-dash CD changer.

The GS400 measured 189.2 inches in length, 55.9 inches in height, and 70.9 inches in width. Inside, the midsize sedan offered one of the roomiest front cabins in its class, providing 44 inches of leg room and 58 inches of shoulder room. Rear seat passengers received 34.3 inches of leg room and 56.6 inches of shoulder room. A 19.8 gallon fuel tank was standard.

Exterior colors choices in 2000 included Antique Bronze Mica, Black Onyx, Burnished Gold Metallic, Cinnabar Pearl, Crystal White, Imperial Jade Mica, Millennium Silver Metallic, and Spectra Blue Mica. Interiors were available in black, ivory, or light charcoal.

Lexus GS400 Evolution

In 1998, Lexus redesigned its five-year-old GS300 and added the GS400 to its GS family as a new higher-powered sibling. Both models featured long fastback-style cabins and a shorter, sportier front and back end than the 1997 GS300. Premium details included chrome trim along the side windows and lower beltline, subtly flared fenders, and a sleek quad headlight configuration.

The GS400’s four-cam 4.0-liter V-8 engine produced 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque and featured power-boosting variable timing. It came coupled with a five-speed transmission with a unique manual shifting feature accessible by buttons located on the steering wheel. Lexus would later add the same steering wheel shift buttons to its GS300 in 2001.

Many interior features were borrowed from the Lexus brand’s flagship ultra-luxury LS400, including walnut trim, leather seats with memory positions, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.

For the millennial 2000 model, Lexus updated the GS400 with brake assist and child seat anchor brackets. Two new exterior finishes, Crystal White and Millennium Silver Metallic, replaced Diamond White Pearl and Alpine Silver Metallic.

2001 brought another facelift for the GS line. After fitting the V-8-powered sedan with a larger 4.3-liter engine, Lexus changes its name to the GS430.

Select a Lexus GS400 Year

2000 Lexus GS400

Luxury, Sedan

The 2000 Lexus GS400 sits just above the ES300 and below the flagship GS400.

1999 Lexus GS400

Luxury, Sedan

The 1999 Lexus GS400 was completely remade to have a striking new look in the previous model year.

1998 Lexus GS400

Luxury, Sedan

The 1998 Lexus GS400 was first introduced in 1993 as a car to fill in the gap as a complement for its popular ES and LS models.