2019 Lexus GS Series vs. 2019 Tesla Model S

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear (child comfort guides) seat shoulder belts of the Lexus GS Series are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Tesla Model S doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The GS Series has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Model S doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the GS Series helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Model S doesn’t offer a night vision system.

To help make backing safer, the GS Series’ cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Model S doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The GS Series has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model S doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the GS Series and the Model S have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The GS Series’ corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model S’ (6/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are almost 4 times as many Lexus dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GS Series’ warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the GS Series’ reliability 28 points higher than the Model S.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GS Series third among midsize premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Model S isn’t in the top three in its category.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Tesla is ranked 27th.

Fuel Economy and Range

The GS 300’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 556.8 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model S’ range is only 259 to 335 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The GS Series has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model S doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The GS Series stops much shorter than the Model S:

 

GS Series

Model S

 

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The GS Series has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Model S; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The GS 350 handles at .94 G’s, while the Model S pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the GS Series’ turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the Model S’ (34.8 feet vs. 37 feet). The GS Series AWD’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Model S’ (35.4 feet vs. 37 feet).

Chassis

The Lexus GS Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1050 pounds less than the Tesla Model S.

The GS Series is 3.9 inches shorter than the Model S, making the GS Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The GS Series has 5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Model S (99 vs. 94).

The GS Series has 2.5 inches more rear headroom, 1.4 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Model S.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the GS Series offers cargo security. The Model S’ hatchback body style and non-lockable folding seat defeat cargo security.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Model S, the GS Series offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The GS Series’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Model S doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The GS Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Model S doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the GS Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Model S can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The GS Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Model S doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The GS Series’ standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model S doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the GS Series has standard extendable sun visors. The Model S doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the GS Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Model S doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the GS Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Model S doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Model Availability

The GS Series is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Model S doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GS Series is less expensive to operate than the Model S because it costs $45 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the GS Series than the Model S, including $424 less for a water pump, $57 less for front brake pads and $63 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus GS Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Tesla Model S isn't recommended.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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