2020 Lexus GS Series vs. 2020 Mercedes S-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the GS Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the S-Class. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the S-Class ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The GS Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the S-Class’ (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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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 63 points higher than the S-Class.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 21st.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GS 350 RWD 8-speed Auto gets better city fuel mileage than the S 450 RWD V6 (20 city/28 hwy vs. 19 city/28 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping

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The GS Series stops much shorter than the S-Class:

GS Series

S-Class

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The GS Series’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S-Class’ standard 50 series tires.

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 S-Class; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The GS 350 handles at .94 G’s, while the S 560 pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The GS 350 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the S 560 (25.4 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.5 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the GS Series’ turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the S 450/560’s (36.8 feet vs. 40.4 feet). The GS Series AWD’s turning circle is 3 feet tighter than the S 450/560’s (37.4 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Lexus GS Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 1150 pounds less than the Mercedes S-Class.

The GS Series is 1 foot, 2.8 inches shorter than the S-Class, making the GS Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Lexus GS Series amounts to more than styling. The GS Series has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the S-Class (.27 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the GS Series get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the GS 350 is quieter than the S 560 (64 vs. 67 dB).

Passenger Space

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The GS Series has .9 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more rear headroom and 2.7 inches more rear legroom than the S-Class.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 11% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.

Ergonomics

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The GS Series’ instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The S-Class does not have an oil pressure gauge.

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 S-Class doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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 S-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the GS Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the GS Series will cost $2985 to $13035 less than the S-Class over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GS Series is less expensive to operate than the S-Class because it costs $363 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the GS Series than the S-Class, including $364 less for a water pump, $958 less for a muffler, $65 less for front brake pads, $55 less for a fuel pump and $520 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus GS Series will be $40027 to $158978 less than for the Mercedes S-Class.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/03

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

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