The executive sedan class has gone through a massive shake-up over the past six months, with the new Audi A6 and Jaguar XF 2.2d launching locally to tackle the perennial favourites, 5 Series and E-Class. From mid next year, a fifth contender will arrive in the fourth-generation Lexus GS.

For too long, the GS has been a poor cousin to the excellent compact-sedan IS250/350, however a first drive of a GS prototype (see Wheels, September) indicates that this new model will be a credible rival to the German (and single Brit) sedans.

Headlining the range will be the GS450h F Sport, a 252kW V6 petrol/electric hybrid priced from around $120K – comparing favourably with the 220kW A6 3.0 TFSI, 225kW 535i and 200kW E350. It will be the first Lexus to introduce an adaptive variable suspension package dubbed Lexus Dynamic Handling System (LDHS), and the world’s first hybrid to feature four-wheel steer. The F Sport package is Lexus’s equivalent of Audi’s S-Line, BMW’s M Sport and Merc’s AMG sports kits.

Initially at least, only one other GS variant will be available. The GS350, with a 3.5-litre petrol V6, will undercut A6 2.8 FSI, 528i and E250 CGI, according to Lexus. At this end of the range, especially, sharper pricing is integral to Lexus stealing sales from its fierce competitor set.

It won’t be difficult to forget the overpriced and uninspired outgoing GS when this sharp-suited new sedan arrives next year.