FOR: Refinement, quality, features, value for money, reliability AGAINST: Styling won't appeal to some, new generation just released

IF YOU don't want to join the 5-series or the E-Class crowd then a Lexus GS300 certainly makes a lot of sense. Older models prove not only to be good buys in the long term but also offer a lot of car at the price. Furthermore high milers should not be feared due to build quality and reliability.

Under the bonnet sits a 3l 24-valve V6 unit that is good for 183kW and 310Nm. Although on the heavy side, the performance figures are not bad, with a 0-100km/h time of 7,9 seconds and a top speed of 245km/h. But to be honest this Lexus is all about comfort and effortlessness, thus the quiet engine and super-smooth drive train makes for a very comfortable drive. Even under full acceleration the engine never feels strained, while the automatic gearbox with ECT (electronically controlled transmission) offers extremely smooth shifts.

Ride comfort was superb as the suspension soaked up bumps and ruts in the road. Although the damper set-up felt on the soft side it can be stiffened up by simply pressing the sport button in the centre console, although unfortunately it still doesn't give it a sporty feel. The Lexus also boasts Toyota's vehicle stability control. While on the move you hardly know it's moving as it is almost eerily quiet in that padded and leather-clad Lexus cell.

A stylish instrument cluster greets the driver, with dials in brushed aluminium. The centre display touch-screen system looks good and works well in controlling the dual climate air-conditioning, working the premium quality radio with front loader CD system or when browsing through the trip computer.

An interesting feature of the dual climate control system is the hydrocarbon sensor, which automatically switches the system to recirculate when high levels of air contamination are identified. For the rest, the cabin is pure luxury with soft black leather and high quality wooden finishes the predominant features. Other standard features included a multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity, keyless entry, seat warmers, electrically adjustable seats with memory, as well as auto lights and wipers.

2009 LEXUS GS300

Price: R259000

Mileage: 73000km

Maintenance plan: Remainder of four-year/100000km (extendable)

Dealer: Contact Frikkie Hayes from Lexus Lynwood at 012 807 9850 or 082 552 6010