2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Track Test

2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Track Test

Is F Sport the Real Deal?


Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

You hear the word "Lexus" and driver involvement isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Reliability? Sure. Quality? OK. Fiscal responsibility? Absolutely. But performance? Not by a long shot.

But recently, Lexus has been trying to change this perception. Smartly, Lexus isn't simply assaulting the senses with hyper-expensive supercars or limited-run V8s — though it is doing that. It's also taking the performance angle to the affordable, reasonable sedan segment with the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport.

The "F Sport" designation is a $5,690 option on the 2013 GS 350 which adds 19-inch wheels with summer tires, a sport-tuned variable suspension, 14-inch brakes, sport seats, unique exterior trim, a rear spoiler and more. Part of the magic, and disappointment, here is that Lexus leaves the 3.5-liter, 306-horsepower V6 heart of the GS unchanged. Reliability stays up, costs stay down.

But can it really be considered a performance pack if the engine doesn't change? We brought our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport to the track to find out.

Vehicle: 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport
Odometer: 4,130
Date: 10/2/2012
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $63,527

Drive Type: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-and-port injected V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,456/211
Redline (rpm): 6,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 306 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 277 @ 4,800
Brake Type (front): 14-inch ventilated discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.2-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent double wishbones with high-mount upper arms, coil springs, driver-adjustable two-mode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, driver-adjustable two-mode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 235/40R19 (96Y)
Tire Size (rear): 265/35R19 (94Y)
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: SP Sport Maxx 050
Tire Type: Summer performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,851

2013 Lexus GS 350 Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.4 (2.5 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.9 (4.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 5.8 (6.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.5 (5.8 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 8.4 (8.7 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.1 @ 100.2 (14.2 @ 98.9 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 122

Slalom (mph): 66.7 (64.8 w/ TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.83 (0.84 w/ TC on)

Db @ Idle: 38.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 76.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 62.3

RPM @ 70: 6,300


Acceleration: Noticeable difference between Norm, Sport and Sport + modes (subtracting 0.1-0.4 to 60 mph). Nice-sounding V6 snarl and quick/smooth upshifts exactly at redline. Doesn't hold gears in manual mode, so all were auto-upshift. Best run in Sport + with liberal wheelspin.

Braking: Firm, respectable, straight and flat. Thought it would stop shorter, however. Also, I love the feel of the pedal in normal driving.


Skid pad: Excellent balance with mild understeer at the limit. Steering is delicate and precise; unfettered by unnecessary syrup or weight.

Slalom: What an amazing setup: friction-free steering, lightning turn-in, quick to set, rapid in transitions and plenty of forgiveness and adjustability mid-course. Grippier tires would make it even better, but it's delightful as is. Mild understeer is easily snubbed with lift-stab of throttle. More power at the exit would be fun, too, but what feels like an LSD is appreciated greatly.

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.



  • scorp76 scorp76 Posts:

    Mediocre numbers, hideous car. No thanks.

  • Damnit people, step away from the numbers for a second! I know that without driving the car all we have is numbers to compare, but read the driver comments for a real idea of how the car drives. Mike said this car had good transient balance, good rotational ability, great steering, and possibly most important of all for us "regular" enthusiast drivers, it's forgiving in its handling. All you numbers guys can sit around piss about 4 tenths of a second here, or 2mph there, and us guys who really enjoy driving will be out in cars like this that aren't about the numbers they produce, but the smiles.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    Thanks, scorp76, I'll be sure to take your armchair opinion over that of the test driver who has actually driven the car and posted very complimentary descriptions about how it handles. This is higher praise than I've seen about the watered down steering of many new BMWs.

  • bassracerx bassracerx Posts:

    well if you want a faster sedan in this price segment there is the SRT charger, bmw 3 series, and cadillac V, although there is nothing wrong with wanting an awesomely handling car with lots of luxury and tech 300 horsepower used to be mustang GT territory after all.

  • broq3_5 broq3_5 Posts:

    The heavier, cheaper Lincoln MKZ out performs this car except for acceleration and get raked across the coals by this site. No mention of the Lexus' sport tires that were such a point of contention for the MKZ.

  • alsantoro alsantoro Posts:

    I actually had the opportunity to test drive this car on a track set up by Lexus a short time ago. It is really impressive. It is clear that Lexus has done its homework on improving the handling. On a course where their pro-driver's best was a 1:31, many were coming within 2-3 seconds without any real practice. The car was great at making "enthusiastic " drivers better drivers. In short, a great handling sedan with more than enough power. I would have to say the F-Sport lives up to the name.

  • rayzor rayzor Posts:

    "You hear the word "Lexus" and driver involvement isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Reliability? Sure. Quality? OK. Fiscal responsibility? Absolutely. But performance? Not by a long shot." How soon have we already forgotten about Lexus' performance cars such the IF-S and LFA...They are just some of the most written and praised performance cars coming out of Japan...

  • rayzor rayzor Posts:

    Wow, for $63K it should do better than what's post here especially braking.

  • perrito perrito Posts:

    Is $63K fiscally responsible? For a glorified Camry? Meh.

  • tbone85 tbone85 Posts:

    It's certainly not a glorified Camry. I do think that it's within $5k of the price of the CTS-V, which is certainly another couple of steps up in performance.

  • tbone85 tbone85 Posts:

    It's certainly not a glorified Camry. I do think that it's within $5k of the price of the CTS-V, which is certainly another couple of steps up in performance.

  • ivan_99 ivan_99 Posts:

    Seems interesting... It would be more interesting if the engine were upgraded from the 2006 IS350 (on the posted output anyway); and maybe an 8 spd tranny.

  • stingray454 stingray454 Posts:

    $63,500 is a lot of coin for a mediocre performer such as this. I mean it's only a hair quicker acceleration wise than a BMW 328 with a little turbo four banger, which also costs $20k less, and handles significantly better. I also agree with broq3_5's comment about the MKZ. While the Super Sport tires did inflate the handling numbers on the MKZ, the tires didn't do EVERYTHING. The weak handling numbers on this Lexus prove that the MKZ's handling performance was far more than just the tires, as the Lexus was also riding on some rather sticky rubber. At $63,500, you're in Cadillac CTS-V territory, and the CTS-V just flat out OWNS the Lexus. Think about it.

  • natnut natnut Posts:

    BMW 328i handles significantly better?? Don't make me laugh. Edmunds tested the 328i with optional sports package and the 400-pound lighter 328i posted a slalom speed of 67.1, essentially the same as the heavier and bigger GS' 66.7. You forgot to mention the BMW 535i, MB E350 and Audi A6 3.0T, which are all in the midsize luxury segment that the GS competes in and they are ALL more expensive than the GS and handle worse than the GS on the slalom. The CTS-V is a sub-luxury car with interior quality and fitment, reliability and refinement that is significantly worse than that of a midsize luxury sport sedan. It competes solely on horsepower and handling. It doesn't compete in the same segment as the GS/5 series/E-class/A6/Infiniti M.

  • rowboat2 rowboat2 Posts:

    The Lincoln is hideous inside and out and it's a ford. Much better numbers and 10x better than the garbage coming out of BMW and MB these days. the new 5 series and E class make a 90's accord look like a beauty queen. the turbo 4's sound horrid as well in the new BMW. atleast Lexus still knows how to make a 6 cylinder and make a proper n/a car.

  • rowboat2 rowboat2 Posts:

    There's a reason why "american" luxury cars are second class citizens and even by pricing it dirt cheap, can't give them away.

  • coolb944 coolb944 Posts:

    "friction-free steering, lightning turn-in, quick to set, rapid in transitions and plenty of forgiveness and adjustability mid-course" Things I wasn't sure I'd ever hear about a Lexus. And things I didn't think wouldn't be associated with a BMW. My how the tides have changed.

  • Dear brog3_5, Your comment would have been valid except for the fact that the MKZ's tires used for Insideline's testing weren't the ones that are actually going to come with the car when you buy it. Therefore, the test wasn't a true representation of a factory showroom stock MKZ. Lincoln had outfitted the car with tires that you'd see on a Porsche GT3 or something rediculous which wasn't fair.

  • broq3_5 broq3_5 Posts:

    @Ravencloud83- The tires are available in a package that costs only around $1500, says right there in the article. Also, you can add the "handling package" to any AWD MKZ on their website and it comes with more than just tires. Maybe if edmu

  • myob myob Posts:

    Fine for most buyers, but the grip is pretty low for a special sport version isn't it? I also noticed it seemed to lean a bit more than I expected in videos and photos. As for the power issue, I have had various BMW, Infiniti, and other sport sedans. I am mystified how anyone would safely be able to use more power than a 0-60mph time of 5.8 seconds provides on public roads (where 99% are used). My conclusion is more power is desired mostly for bragging rights and use by the irresponsible.

  • ydooby ydooby Posts:

    Those numbers are a far cry from Edmunds' test of the 2013 GS350 F-Sport done over a year ago, where the car posted a best-in-class slalom speed of 69.7mph and a decent lateral acceleration of 0.88g. So what happened? Either Edmunds got a weak test driver recently or the car had been heavily abused, tires heavily worn out, during the 4000 miles of Edmunds' ownership? Previous test by Edmunds: http://www.edmunds.com/lexus/gs-350/2013/road-test.html

  • Lexus, this car is as hideous! $63K for this with the 3.5 V6 from Camry? LOL Lexus!

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