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2017 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Review By John Heilig


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THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Lexus GS 350 F Sport
ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 311 hp @ 6,400 rpm/280 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm
WHEELBASE: 112.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 192.1 x 72.4 x 57.3 in.
TIRES: P235/40R19 (F)/P265/35R19 (R)
CARGO CAPACITY: 18.4 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/19.1 mpg test (premium fuel required)
FUEL TANK: 17.4 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,726 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura RLX, Cadillac CT6, Jaguar XF
STICKER: $61,950 (includes $975 delivery, $4,420 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The mid-size GS350 exudes all the luxury and comfort one would expect from a Lexus, along with solid performance. 

When the first Lexus LS400 debuted it was renowned for its almost silent, elegant performance. As a full-size car, it created a target other manufacturers could aim at. The GS 350, unlike the LS400 (and later iterations) is rated as a mid-size, yet it has all the elegance and silence of the original LS. It offers a solid ride with an essentially silent engine. Very little engine or road noise intrudes into the cabin.

Of course, since the original LS, technology has improved with regard to interaction with the car, infotainment and navigation to make the GS as interesting an experience as the LS was. The question is, Why does the GS even exist? when Lexus also offers the ES that is almost identical in all measurements and doesn’t require premium fuel.

The 3.5-liter V6 offers very good power at 311 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque working through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The GS gets up and goes with ease. According to Lexus it will go from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. On highways, we had to use cruise control to stay honest. Dynamic Cruise Control kept us a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Also, a pre-collision system alerts you with lights and alarms if the car in front stops or slows dramatically. It warned me faster than my wife did.

Our tester was the F Sport version with a host of goodies to add luxury and performance. For example, we had an 18-way power driver’s seat with thigh support and power side bolsters, 19-inch staggered width tires, larger front brakes, a limited slip differential, variable gear ratio steering, and F Sport trim options.

A clear and informative dash faces the front passengers. The instrument panel consists of a large centrally mounted tachometer with an inset digital speedometer. The speed is also displayed on a heads up monitor that also displays the gear you are in as well as a small graphic tachometer. The information panel to the left of the tachometer has an assortment of configurations, while water temperature and fuel level are shown on the right.

In the center of the dash is a wide angle infotainment system screen. In Map format it is a wide angle view of the area with major roads highlighted. With the audio on, the left half of the screen displays audio information, while the right half shows a smaller map. 

Lower on the center stack is the HVAC system. It was very efficient and kept us warm on cold days. The multi-function wheel is heated and has paddle shifters behind it. 

A pair of cup holders are located at the base of the center stack ahead of the shifter. Next to the shifter is Lexus’s Remote Touch Interface Controller, which has to be experienced. Essentially it is a mouse-like controller to navigate the infotainment screen. Unlike a mouse, though, it has simulated detents for each of the locations, so it is easier to locate the highlighted section. 

My biggest complaint with the center console/arm rest is that it is too small. It is a convenient rest when using the RTIC, though.

There are three transmission settings available with a controller on the center console to select among ECO, Normal/Customize and Sport.

Front seats are leather and heated and cooled as well as comfortable. The rear seats offer good legroom and visibility. The pull-down armrest is more practical then the front. There are no rear cupholders but there is room in the doors for water bottles. 

In the rear is a very good trunk with an 11-pound maximum weight hanger for grocery bags. The rear seat backs apparently do not fold down to increase cargo capacity, but 18.4 cubic feet is good for a start. 

Within the ES already in the stable, one could question the need for the GS, but it is slightly larger and at a different price point, so the proliferation of Lexus models isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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