Auto Corner: Lexux GS350, The Practical Sport-Luxury Sedan
Lexus GS350 combines Toyota reliability with luxury and performance
Among the ranks of established sport-luxury sedans, there are plenty of performers. And there are plenty of lookers. But there are very few sport-luxury sedans as reliable and comfortable as the Lexus GS350.
Those familiar with Lexus know that, as Toyota's luxury badge, the brand offers unrivaled reliability and resale value. Those familiar with Lexus also know that, for all that value and luxury, most Lexuses are not as fast, as sport-tuned, or as aggressively styled as their competitors.
For that reason, Lexus introduced the GS sedan—as a Lexus that packs all the reliability and comfort, as well as an extra dose of performance and styling. This year's all-new GS is the fourth incarnation of the sedan. It is, without doubt, the best Lexus GS yet.
Thanks to a large 3.5 liter V6 with 306 horsepower, the new GS accelerates to 60 miles per hour in a quick 5.7 seconds. That's fast—though not astounding next to competitors—or compared to previous GS's for that matter. More important than raw acceleration, the GS is engineered as a true performer. As such, this head-turner comes standard with rear-wheel drive and is also available with all-wheel drive.
The GS's performance engineering also shines in front/rear weight distribution of 53/47. That's within sitting distance of the BMW engineering target of 50/50 front/rear distribution. That balance of the GS's own ballast makes for great cornering, braking and performing.
Outside, the new GS is two inches wider than its predecassor, and it sits on a stiffer, more rigid chassis. The redesigned exterior include cues that nod to this sport sedan's larger sibling, the worldclass Lexus LS and its smaller sport cousin, the Lexus IS. A large front grill appears to be the new staple of the Lexus brand.
Inside, Lexus has made a number of marked improvements over the previous generation Lexus GS. Like all Lexuses, the GS is vault-like and silent inside. The first thing you may notice is the 12.3-inch infotainment screen on the center stack of the dash. At almost double the size of the screens found in most of vehicles, this in-car HD flatscreen may take you pleasantly by surprise.
The giant screen makes almost everything easier: dialing in your favorite Pandora internet radio station, asking for directions, and making a Bing internet search can all be done with considerable ease.
Every other square inch of the GS's interior is packed with over the top luxury, even for rear-seated passengers. The climate control system adapts to the number of passengers actually in the car, and Lexus claims a marked increase in fuel effiecency due to this feature.
In all, the newest Lexus GS deserves an examination from anybody considering a new sport-luxury sedan. Those hungry for all-out performance may find the GS lacking compared to some rivals that deliver similar gas mileage and better acceleration. But buyers who value resale, reliability, or cost of ownership will be drawn to the GS. Like its predecassors, the newest GS gives buyers a chance at aggressive styling and performance tuning—with the relibiality and comfort of a Lexus.
© 2013 John Dickerson
By John Dickerson and John Kehlenbeck