ABS and side air bags standard. ESC standard from 2000. Head protection air bags standard from 2001. Rear side air bags available from 2007.
While past versions of the GS midsized luxury sedan struggled to reconcile the brand's trademark isolating plushness with the fun-to-drive verve found in competing class leaders, this iteration of the GS pulls it off. Engaging to drive, yet offering a supple ride, it's roughly on the same page as its German competition. The GS 350 has a punchy V6 powertrain and is linked to a smooth transmission. Fuel economy, at 21 mpg on premium fuel, is OK for the class but not a standout. Handling is quite agile and the ride is comfortable. The ultra-quiet cabin is beautifully finished and quite accommodating.
Clearly, the car's biggest source of frustration is its control layout, dominated by a giant, nearly foot-wide display screen for audio, climate, navigation and communications functions, all manipulated by a mouselike multi-directional control knob on the center console. The system is an exercise in frustration, requires too much eye-off-the-road time and a delicate touch. It may work well when the car is parked, but proves too distracting and too aggravating while driving. That's unfortunate because the GS is a decent car overall.