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Hoping someone can point me in the right direction here. I have been browsing the forums for quite some time now and am considering a GS300h Premier with AVS (and more seat controls) as both my wife and I have bad backs and our local area has plenty of potholes and some poor main roads as well.

Is it worth going for the extra cost of a Premier with the AVS or does the SE/Executive with smaller wheels have as good a ride.

I only commute half a mile to work so those potholes aren't an issue as I can go very slowly.  Annual mileage is only £5k.

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I had a GS300h Premier with 19" wheels and it was a wonderful car, but having tyres 225/40 r19 it was more potholes sensitive, nothing dramatic indeed but if you plan to buy a Premier (that I suggest for all extra features it has), you could try to have 18 or 17 inches for more comfort.

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It is kind of subjective - AVS makes the car to handle better, to have less roll in the corners as it could adjust rates of each shock absorber on the go. What it doesn't do - it does not make car more comfortable (some people may even argue it is less comfortable). In theory AVS should make car more sporty without making it less comfortable and that is what I think it does, but some people find the "sportier" handling not as comfortable. 

Smaller wheels with thicker tyres will inevitable make the car "softer" although choice of the tyres is important as well. 

Overall based on what you said, it doesn't seems like you would benefit from AVS greatly. However, I am not sure I would bother driving if my work would be half a mile away... but that is none of my business I guess.

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Thank you for your quick replies. This is the difference between reading reviews and asking people who know from experience. I had thought that the AVS might be able to cope better with a pothole on one side of the car as each wheel is separately damped.

On the commute, I wish I could walk (or even cycle) half a mile, I have a bad knee and it is just too far.

 

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Sadly it is not as sophisticated, there are such systems (in S-Class I believe) which scans the road ahead and selectively dampen each wheels as they go over pothole. AVS decides damping for entire car e.g. under braking it may stiffen front so the car does not dive as much, and in sharp left turn it may stiffen the right side to prevent the roll.... but if it happens that pothole hit the corner which was stiffened, then it will hit harder. 

Other thing, it may adjust rebound after wheel hits pothole so that wheel could grip again sooner than using normal shock absorbers, but that does not help comfort either.

My experience is mostly from RC with AVS and GS is obviously more comfortable car overall, but the concept is the same on both. And what makes it even worse is that Lexus does not have user customisation for each setting, only 3 driving modes e.g. Normal, Sport and Sport+. Now on RC if I wanted to get most response from the engine I would like to have Sport+ selected, but that automatically sets AVS mode to the hardest, which too hard even for me on broken british roads. So I have to set the car to normal mode for suspension, but then the engine response is terrible. 

In short AVS is aimed at improving handling, without compromising comfort too much, but it does not improve comfort. I wish it would have switch which would allow to set suspension to more comfortable, but there isn't. So you can consider AVS car as being equal to non-AVS car by default and AVS car can get harder and less comfortable, but it can't get softer.

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Thank you very much for your help. Your explanation is just what I was looking for. Now I won't need to buy a Premier for AVS and it will save me some money and there are far more cars available.

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If I may just chip in here, when I was in the process of buying my RCF I had read about AVS and liked the idea.

I can only give my experience of driving both a non AVS and and AVS equipped car on the same day.

There is absolutely no doubt that the AVS car in normal rides 'softer' than the non AVS car it was so obvious I made my mind up that moment despite it being a much more expensive later car.

What I also like is the active part of it's set-up, if you drive smoothly it's softish and very comfortable nearly on par with the CL65 I had at the time. But when you get a move on it tightens up.

If you set the car (an RCF) in Sport + it feels almost like the non AVS car comfort wise perhaps just a shade stiffer.

Second concern I had after having cars with active suspension systems was cost, but it's a Lexus so it won't go wrong and if it does there's the excellent warranty.

I had no hesitation in specifying AVS and TVD because of this. I would also add I can only express my findings/opinion on an RCF

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I'd echo David's comments above, this time in relation to the RC300h. 

The great thing with AVS is one can change the character of the car. The 2019 face-lifted incarnation is markedly better than the original 2016. Much more supple around town on the normal setting, tightening up nicely when in Sport on the open roads. I must say I find Sport+ just a bit too stiff on our roads for comfort and can be a little uncontrolled around bumpy bends. 

I'd strongly recommend test driving models with and without AVS and see how you find the differences.

 

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Yes that is interesting perspective... I was very surprised when I realised RC-F didn't have AVS as standard, whilst it was standard on RC300h and RC200t F-Sport. I never tried non-AVS RC-F, but I have suspicion that it had different shock from RC which were by default had - well they have to be on high power sports car. 

So this is assumption, but I believe regarding to RC-F is correct - standard shocks hard and AVS can go as hard or softer, but for non "F" cars, I think that is opposite AVS by default similar, but could go harder.  

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I have a gs300h Premier with AVS and 18" wheels. It has 4 modes - eco, normal. sport and sport+. AVS switches in on sport+. It just makes the ride stiffer / harder and the steering heavier. I rarely use it - it is largely a waste of time unless you really want to hustle along country roads - and who wants to do that - it does not suit the character of the gs300h. And don't get bigger wheels than 18"-the ride will just get harder and more crashy. 

But the car overall is brilliant if you want a luxury saloon with perfectly adequate performance for today's road conditions . 

BTW my other car is a supercharged and highly modified MX-5 - so  I don't always drive like the old codger I am.

 

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Thank you, I will now be on the lookout for a GS300h with 17” wheels and no need for AVS.

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9 hours ago, johnatg said:

AVS switches in on sport+.

It's interesting how different models implement AVS differently. On my RC the system is constantly in operation, adjusting the damping depending on the road surface and driver inputs both braking and steering. Switching drive modes just forces the system to adopt a different range of compliance and speed of adjustment.

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1 hour ago, NemesisUK said:

It's interesting how different models implement AVS differently. On my RC the system is constantly in operation, adjusting the damping depending on the road surface and driver inputs both braking and steering. Switching drive modes just forces the system to adopt a different range of compliance and speed of adjustment.

I agree with you, perhaps Lexus put a bit more effort into the RC range of cars because I certainly wouldn't have bought one without it.

Perhaps it just suits some cars better, on both my AMG's  it adapted to driving behaviour perfectly and I really liked it both in a sporty model and a more luxury model. My only concern was the expense of it going wrong, but as I mentioned with Lexus it's not an issue.

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8 hours ago, NemesisUK said:

It's interesting how different models implement AVS differently. On my RC the system is constantly in operation, adjusting the damping depending on the road surface and driver inputs both braking and steering. Switching drive modes just forces the system to adopt a different range of compliance and speed of adjustment.

That is my understanding of how AVS should work in all cars, but perhaps implementation is indeed different. In my RC it felt like it was off in eco mode, car was softer and allowed some roll in corners, but even in normal mode I could feel AVS doing "something" like reducing the roll a little bit... It would be even stiffer in Sport/Sport+  and I could not feel much difference in terms of AVS - in both modes car was very stiff and planted in corners, but certainly too hard to drive on the roads (probably good for track)... and only difference in Sport+ was that car was holding revs much longer when letting off the accelerator and it was more sensitive. If Lexus would have personalised mode like BMW, then my ideal set-up would have been AVS on Normal, Accelerator on Sport+ and Gearbox rev holding on Sport. Sadly, Lexus does not allow them to be adjusted individually - it is either all or nothing.

Never tried RC without AVS, so don't know how it compares, but I have tried IS with both and assumed same to be true on RC as it shares most of parts with IS. From my experience in IS mk3 - AVS and non-AVS cars felt the same in eco/normal mode, but AVS car would be more planted and level around the corers once set Sport or Sport+ mode, however I could not compare how it differed on gears/revs and accelerator as they were hybrids/CVT.

So IS behaviour seems similar to what John has described on GS and opposite from what David stated on RC-F. 

 

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26 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

If Lexus would have personalised mode like BMW, then my ideal set-up would have been AVS on Normal, Accelerator on Sport+ and Gearbox rev holding on Sport. Sadly, Lexus does not allow them to be adjusted individually - it is either all or nothing.

In the 2019 face-lift RC300h one can select a customised drive mode. One can choose which  drivetrain mode (power/normal/eco) and chassis mode (normal/sport) combination suits, along with a/c mode (normal/eco), can't say I've bothered as Normal and Sport suit me fine depending on my journey.

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Just to clarify and to replicate what the Lexus blurb on the RCF and GSF stated.

The Lexus “F” designation is used to signal excellence in both performance and handling. To ensure that the 5.0-litre V8-powered RC F coupe and GS F saloon are faithful to their special status within Lexus’s model range, both are now equipped with Adaptive Variable Suspension as standard.

This is not simply a matter of introducing a stock system into the cars. The technology has been revised, tuned and integrated with precision so that its maximum potential can be realised.

The driver-selectable, electronic AVS monitors and controls the damping force at each wheel, adjusting instantaneously to ensure handling stability and ride comfort according to road conditions and the driver’s preferences. The system uses an array of sensors which constantly monitor parameters such as G-forces, yaw rate and vehicle speed. Based on this data, the AVS can adjust the level of damping force through 30 levels, ensuring optimum control on all road surfaces. This marks a significant refinement in operation compared to Lexus’s previous system, which spanned nine operating levels.

When cornering, the AVS applies increased damping force in response to steering input, yaw rate and vehicle attitude to provide pinpoint handling and suppress body roll through the turn. On rough surfaces, damping force is reduced to help absorb vibrations and keep the ride smooth and comfortable. In all, the system has seven damping force control strategies that include anti-dive and anti-squat. It also works to keep the car composed under heavy braking and acceleration.

Going further than simply increasing suspension control, the AVS has been linked to the cars’ Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) and Drive Mode Select control. The instrument display has been revised to show when the driver has selected Sports AVS.

 

 

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Yeah, not something I could do in my pre-facelift or any of other cars I tried with AVS.

Speaking specifically about RC200t, engine response was dreadful in any mode but Sport+, however Sport+ keeps revs very high even after you let off the accelerator and it sets AVS to it's most aggressive setting, which just rattles car too much on broken London and east England roads. As such I was always split between having unresponsive engine/gearbox or harsh ride.

My conclusion was that AVS was great as a mean to make car more sporty, but not really to keep it comfortable. 

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This is the GS AVS.

Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS)
The AVS lets the driver fine tune the GS 450h’s ride with a choice of two damper settings: Normal, for everyday comfort, and Sport, which gives improved body control and precise response to steering input when cornering.

AVS automatically adjusts suspension performance at all four wheels in response to driving operation, vehicle body motion and road surface conditions, independently activating the adjustable damping force shock absorbers.

Selecting Sport mode automatically increases the difference between inner and outer shock absorber damping through corners to further reduce vehicle roll. At the same time, the VGRS automatically reduces the steering gear ratio by around 10 per cent, and the EPS increases steering assist torque by about four per cent. These measures combine to reduce body roll and sharpen handling and steering feel.

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More on the GS.

 

Drive Mode Select system
Drive Mode Select lets the driver choose between Eco, Normal Sport S and Sport S+ driving modes, to achieve the best environmental efficiency or dynamic performance.

In Eco mode, engine output, throttle opening and gear selection are modulated to gain the best fuel efficiency in all driving conditions. The air conditioning system temperature, airflow volume and seat heater operation are co-ordinated to help reduce fuel consumption.

In Sport S mode, engine speed and throttle responses are adjusted to deliver a more engaging driving experience. On models equipped with AVS, Sport S+ mode combines the performance of Sport mode with co-ordinated control of the adaptive suspension, EPS and VDIM.

When selecting M-range in the transmission, the driver can make manual gear changes using shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. With rapid up-shifting and throttle blipping on down shifts, they can enjoy the most direct, sporting driving experience the GS can offer.

In Eco mode, the ambient instrument illumination is blue; this changes to red when Sport S or Sport S+ are selected, and the system power indicator automatically changes into a tachometer.

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