2013 Lexus GS 350 Ride and Review By Larry Nutson

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2013 Lexus GS 350

2013 Lexus GS 350
A quick and quiet quality ride

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

The all-new 2013 Lexus GS 350 is now the fourth iteration of this mid-luxury performance sedan. The Lexus GS first hit the U.S. shores in 1993 and this fourth generation made its U.S. premier at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August 2011. The 2013 Lexus GS 350 is available in rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations, and can be equipped with the available Premium, Luxury or F SPORT packages.

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A quick look at the specifications for the GS 350 told me that I should expect a pretty quick car with its 306HP, 3.5-liter V6 coupled to a 6-speed automatic at my beck and call. Getting settled in the driver’s seat and making the necessary adjustments gave me the second clue that the GS350 should be fairly comfortable and provide an enjoyable driving experience.

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Standard features such as the power tilt and telescopic steering column, 18-way adjustments for the power seat allowing me to fine-tune my driving position and also make minor changes during long trips to help reduce fatigue, an outstanding premium audio system, front seats that are not only heated for winter but ventilated for summer and also a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats for the folks in back, and a backup monitor all added up to refined comfort and driving.

Start the engine and exit my neighborhood, enter the highway and push down the throttle and things start to happen. Acceleration is brisk; the automatic shifts quickly through its six-gears. Lexus says zero to sixty is in 5.7 seconds (6.0 secs with AWD). The engine is quiet; there is very little tire noise; and, wind noise is almost non-existent. I’m impressed.

I’m driving a 2013 Lexus GS 350 with all-wheel-drive. The MSRP is $49,450. The rear drive model is priced $2550 lower at $46,900. Equipped on my test car are Blind Spot Monitor ($500), Luxury Package ($6530), Navigation Package ($1735), Intuitive Park Assist ($500), a Trunk Mat ($105) and a Cargo Net ($64). With $875 for delivery the grand total rounds out at $59,759.

Along with the quick zero-to-sixty acceleration, I could have reached a 131mph top speed (142mph with rear drive), however that’s not a particularly good idea on public roads. Lexus says that 91 octane premium unleaded is required, so that adds a bit to the cost of filling the 17.4 gallon tank. EPA fuel economy ratings are 21mpg combined, 19mpg city and 26mpg highway with all-wheel drive. The rear drive GS 350 is rated at the same 19mpg city, a slightly higher 28mpg highway, giving a 21mpg combined. In any case, the fuel consumption and tank size will permit a fairly nice all-day road trip without refueling.

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The new 2013 Lexus GS 350 has a more rigid platform. The track is wider by almost two inches and a revised suspension design helps with improved driving dynamics. Lexus says the new front and rear aluminum control arms help reduce unsprung weight and results in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision. I can’t disagree. Ventilated disc brakes featuring four-piston aluminum front calipers have new electronic enhancements to help provide braking balance and control. The GS 350 features standard 17-inch alloy wheels paired with 225/50R17 tires, and optional 18-inch alloy wheels equipped with 235/45R18 tires.

A new LEXUS GS 350 F SPORT is now available and features a sport-tuned suspension with firmer springs, an adaptive variable damping system, thicker anti-roll bars, a variable gear ratio steering system, bushing changes, and larger front brakes with high friction brake pads. On the outside the F SPORT gets a unique front bumper and F SPORT mesh grille insert. At the back end add a rear lower valence, rear lip spoiler, and a rear bumper with an integrated exhaust diffuser and centered aero fins to help control underbody airflow. On the inside there is striated aluminum trim, unique perforated leather trim, black roof headliner, aluminum pedals, a three–spoke steering wheel showcasing distinctive F SPORT badging, and an available Cabernet Red leather interior.

The 2013 Lexus GS 350 has a new Drive Mode selector that offers four driving different driving modes. In addition to the Normal mode, an ECO mode revises throttle mapping, seat heating, and climate control systems for better fuel economy. Instrument meter lighting changes to blue, to remind you of the saving! SPORT S mode revises throttle mapping and transmission shifting priorities to put you in “rocket ship blast off” mode, and you are reminded by instrument meter lighting changing to red. SPORT S+ mode, available with the F SPORT and Luxury packages, engages handling enhancements via a sport setting of the adaptive variable suspension, steering system, and Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM) together with the powertrain enhancements of SPORT S mode.

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Lexus has made things more comfortable for those on board with more rear headroom, knee room, legroom and foot space than the previous GS while front and rear door openings have been revised for easier ingress and egress. I found the driver’s seat very comfortable and supportive and also plenty of rear seat legroom for an adult passenger.

Trunk space has been increased by almost 25 percent, to 14.3cuft, and can easily accommodate four golf bags, according to Lexus. Trunk access is improved with a six-and-a-half-inch wider opening.

Summing up, the all-new 2013 Lexus GS 350 is quite refined. It’s quick, quiet, has very capable handling, the interior is very roomy and quality is tops, it’s loaded with safety features as well as driver navigation and infotainment technology. The GS350 is enjoyable, fun and very satisfying to drive.

Larry Nutson

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