And here it is – the latest 2012 Lexus GS. It looks rather like an enlarged Lexus IS, featuring a similar hourglass shaped front grille found on the CT200h, a design that extends down to the bumper to visually integrate the upper and lower grilles on the front end. The headlamps are also now a one-piece design, losing the split design that the GS has had since the second generation.

Lexus has played it safe with the side profile – there are no funky creases that are very popular with car designers lately – instead the new 2012 GS looks like a smooth and solid chunk of steel from the side, with a strong shoulder line running level (as opposed to upwards sweeping) from the front wheel arch to the rear.

A few models will be available – the GS 250 has been confirmed by Lexus for at least the UK market. There will also be a GS 350 and a full hybrid – the GS 450h. Lexus also reveals that it will be having F-Sport versions of the new GS – but I wonder if they’ll do a monster GS-F?

Wheelbase (and exterior dimensions) remain about the same, but the chassis has been revised to be more rigid than the current GS thanks to an increased number of spot welds and adding laser welds in very specific locations. The track, wider by 40mm at the front and 50mm at the rear, works in combination with a revised suspension design for better handling.

In the front, lighter aluminium upper and lower control arms employ larger bushings. The rear subframe has been completely redesigned to accommodate an all-new multi-link rear suspension, the improved geometry enhancing rear-end control.  With the stiffer platform and lighter components, the shock absorbers can use lighter-viscosity oil, responding faster to small inputs.

The interior shares a family look with the one in the CT 200h, and it certainly looks like a nice place to be in – definitely a huge, huge upgrade over the current GS visually. I hope the materials have been improved as well – they probably have been. Lexus says the interior room has been improved despite the car’s wheelbase not increasing in size. A new energy-saving auto climate control system called S-Flow uses the occupant-detection system to focus airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seated.

The new Lexus GS boasts the option for a huge 12.3 inch high resolution screen, which tops anything offered by the German competitors in its class. The screen serves multiple purposes – a display for the GPS navigation, DVD audio/video, and displays for various other features such as the Bluetooth handsfree system which includes automatic phonebook download and more. For cars without a navi system, the screen is smaller at 8 inches. The standard speaker system is a 5.1 system but you can upgrade to an 835 watt 17 speaker Mark Levinson system.

And last but not least – no el-cheapo LED clock! Lexus has instead given the interior a nice touch with an analog clock carved from an ingot, neatly tucked in between the two central aircond vents.

Available safety systems include a Night Vision System that enhances driver visibility in the dark; Head-Up Display (HUD); a Blind Spot Monitor that helps detect vehicles in rear/side blind spots; and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). The LKA system uses active steering torque to provide a small assistance in maintaining course, while the LDW feature alerts drivers if they begin to drift out of their lane.

Look after the jump for a gallery of the new 2012 GS. The GS will make its debut to the public at the 2011 Pebble Beach.

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