June 14, 2013
Last February, during what passes for winter here in southern California, an alert reader noticed that the windshield wipers on our 2013 Lexus GS 350 were in the winter park position.
He was right of course, but several of us hadn't noticed. Snow is something we generally keep at arm's length in these parts unless we choose to ski on it.
The so-called "Snow/Service" position reduces the chance that light to moderate snow accumulation will bury the wipers. It keeps them out from under the edge of the hood so they can be lifted and unstuck.
But it's more than that, and GS owners in warm climates like ours should know what's up. That's because this raised position improves access to the wiper blades when they need changing.
During my road trip to the Circuit of the Americas, I put the wipers back in the summer position after reading the manual while I sat munching enchiladas in a café in Grants, New Mexico. I took pictures, filed them on my laptop, then promptly forgot all about them.
So here they are. Better late than never, right?
June 6, 2013
Okay, so the title is misleading. The extent that our 2013 Lexus GS 350 drove off-road was up a ramp to get onto the lawn. So why is the GS 350 on the lawn anyway?
June 4, 2013
Here is the fuel economy update for our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350 during the month of May. We added 1,500 miles to the Lexus since last month, which is a shade behind the 1,700 per month we try to average.
May 21, 2013
If you have to use your 2013 Lexus GS 350 to shuttle some family/friends/coworkers around, the people sitting in back should be pretty comfortable. The outboard positions are nicely contoured and are raised to offer useful thigh support. There's also plenty of padding on the rear door armrests and center armrest. The center position isn't suitable for adults given its high perch and the hump on the floor, but that's pretty typical for this class.
May 16, 2013
The BMW 5 Series comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. You'll find eight forward gears in any all-wheel-drive Audi A6. Jaguar has just dropped eight speeds into all of its 2013 XF sedans. Heck, you can get an eight-speed auto in a Dodge Charger now.
Then there's the 2013 Lexus GS 350. Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel would be very disappointed that its transmission only goes up to six.
May 15, 2013
I really enjoy the combination of luxury and performance of our 2013 Lexus GS 350. When I get behind the wheel, I'm always impressed by the GS's interior, which is of high quality, nicely detailed and packed with upscale features. And on the move, the GS is suitably sporty when I want it to be (thanks to the adjustable suspension, paddle shifters and nice-sounding V6) and impressively comfortable when I'm just cruising.
May 13, 2013
If I were buying a 2013 Lexus GS 350, I'd add the F Sport package like our car has. This isn't necessarily because I'm an octane-fuelled car enthusiast who lives his life a quarter mile at a time. I just happen to think that what the F Sport version offers is ideally suited for what I'd want from a midsize luxury sport sedan. Here are five reasons why.
May 10, 2013
I'm late in bringing you this update, but on the last day of April, our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350 and I strolled into Santa Monica Lexus unannounced.
"I'd like to get a 15,000-mile service for the car," I told the porter.
After a five-minute wait, a service advisor came to help me. I'd already consulted the GS 350's separate maintenance booklet, so I knew the action items for this maintenance visit, or at least I thought I did. I pointed to the booklet and told the advisor I wanted all these services performed.
May 9, 2013
Our 2013 Lexus GS 350 is equipped with adaptive cruise control (as part of the optional Pre Collision system), which can adjust the vehicle's cruising speed based on vehicles ahead. If you're looking to buy a GS and are wondering about whether to get adaptive cruise control, I have a few observations.
May 2, 2013
During March and April, we put just 1,706 miles on our Lexus GS 350, mostly in around-town driving. The F Sport deserved a rest from clocking 3,000 miles during a five-day road trip to Austin, Texas and back. Our best tank during the two months yielded 25.1 MPG, though our GS is still underachieving its EPA combined MPG estimate by 1.5 MPG.
April 29, 2013
We've hit the 15,000-mile mark in our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350. As Mark mentioned before, this car is due for service at 15K miles.
April 24, 2013
This is so simple and yet so useful. And sadly, the cargo net is all too often regulated to the options sheet. Nothing illustrates this more profoundly that our Lexus GS350 F-Sport.
April 22, 2013
I'm not one to bang on about center console padding, but I do know there are those who find the hard plastic that often comes in contact with their right leg to be a constant pain in the, well, right leg. Sometimes it's the car, sometimes it's the way that person sits, sometimes it's a combination of both.
I don't imagine anyone ever complaining about the Lexus GS 350, as its center console rates about a 7 on the Squish-o-meter, where a 1 is a slab of concrete and 10 is Santa Claus wrapped in memory foam. Not only is it squishy, but it's also covered in either leather (doubtful) or some believable imitation.
April 18, 2013
As our long-term Lexus GS 350 nears the 15,000-mile mark, it's time for some scheduled maintenance. At least, that's what the computer is telling us. The good thing is, there's a dealer right down the street from us so we'll let you know how it all goes.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 14,380 miles
April 4, 2013
HD radio sounds great in theory, but all I've noticed in most of our HD-equipped cars is how the signal wafts in and out of the broadcast. One second the signal is rich, full and enveloping, the next it compresses into a thin, almost single point-source sound. The Lexus GS 350's system works better than most, though. Perhaps it has a better buffer that holds the HD signal longer, as I don't notice it wavering near as much as other units (looking at you, BRZ).
March 20, 2013
My recent road trip to Austin, Texas and back revealed a few things about the fuel economy of the 2013 Lexus GS350.
First, the EPA highway rating of 28 mpg is totally achievable so long as you're not taking full advantage of the 75 and 80 mph speed limits found across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. One tank we've already talked about came in at 30.0 mpg and the last 337-mile tank I burned across western Arizona and the breadth of California worked out to 28.6 mpg when I officially called it a trip and made my last top-off at the Shell station just around the corner from my house.
But most of the journey did take place on high-speed interstates at 80 mph, so several tanks occupied the 25-to-26 mpg space. The trip average was therefore 26.4 mpg over 2,929 miles of data. Not bad at all considering the pace.
These figures come from direct calculations using miles driven and gallons pumped at each fill up. We do this routinely because in-car mpg gauges can rarely be trusted not to overstate a car's performance. Conspiracy theorists and engineers familiar with the ways that carmakers respond to things like the JD Power Initial Quality Surveys suspect that some such displays routinely err on the high side (within the tolerance, of course) to make it appear to the customer that their car is doing better than it actually is.
A few months back we started recording a long-term car's in-car mpg gauge readout at every gas stop to track this issue, so I was able to compare my calculated results with the GS 350's on-board MPG computer data to see if it can be believed.
March 19, 2013
That's a busy screen, all 12 inches wide of it. It looks slightly worse because I've also got the music info sidebar displayed with the main information window. If the climate or settings screens were displayed in the sidebar, it might not look as dense. Still, it's easy to get lost in here. The Lexus mouse Remote Touch thing doesn't help matters. It's only marginally less distracting than a touchscreen, and not as good as a dial-and-button array.
March 18, 2013
Of course you expect soft-touch surfaces from a $60,000 sedan. No surprise there. And it's not like the Lexus GS 350's surfaces are lined underneath with down or memory foam. But they are likably soft at all the right pressure points. The photo I wanted to show is no photo at all, just an image of part of a denim-covered leg next to the junction of the GS's center stack and center console. A photo exceptionally devoid of drama, it would have still shown you one of the attributes I most love about the GS: the knee rest. Instead, I give you a photo of the armrest's pliability.
March 15, 2013
Move the steering wheel of our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport a fraction of an inch in either direction and you're in the next lane.
The steering in our GS is very sensitive, almost precise to a fault. You get used to it, of course, especially if you drive it often. But it can really throw you a curve (pun intended) if you're not prepared for it.
March 6, 2013
I like our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350 a lot. I think it's a great car to drive in a city like Los Angeles and it has some awesome trim options. It's comfortable and performs well, but it has some quirks when it comes to cosmetics. As Mark and Donna pointed out, it looks a bit like an evil space monster from the front. My specific point of contention is the exhaust pipes, or lack thereof.
March 5, 2013
This road trip has been great, and the 2013 Lexus GS 350 was a good choice, but I'm ready to be home.
So I'm getting up at sunrise and hammering out the remaining 909 miles in one go. I'll get there after dark, sure, but tomorrow night I want to sleep in my own bed.
But I'm still in Texas. I need to finish up here, and then tackle New Mexico, Arizona and California before I get back within whiffing distance of the Pacific Ocean in Orange County.
I have two things going for me. Two things that will get me home by my usual bedtime. I'll gain two hours as I cross from Central to Mountain to Pacific time during the day, and only the last couple hundred miles in California will be posted below 75 mph.
March 4, 2013
During February we drove our 2013 Lexus GS 350 over 4,000 miles. I'd say we met our 1,700-mile goal for the month. The total was particularly high thanks to a road trip Dan Edmunds made from LA to Austin, Texas.
March 5, 2013
Nearly 80 miles into its current full tank, our 2013 Lexus GS 350 is averaging 21.7 mpg.
Make sure to check back this Monday, March 4 as we begin to post February's monthly fuel updates for all of our long-term cars.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 13,556 miles
February 28, 2013
No, I was not allowed to drive our 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport around the Circuit of the Americas racetrack outside Austin, Texas. Nevertheless, the COTA track is a big reason why I came here.
The Jeep brass chose Austin, Texas as the base of operations for the launch of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and for two solid reasons. The nearby Inks Ranch has some Moab-like rocks that make for decent off-roading, and the new Circuit of the Americas racetrack has more than enough asphalt and challenging corners for the 470-horsepower SRT version.
Even though the Lexus GS 350 was forced to sit on the sidelines throughout, I was allowed to hammer around America's newest Formula One circuit in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT with nary a speed limit or lead-follow pace car.
The lapping ended just before noon. After a nice chat with longtime friend Lon Bromley, the Director of Safety at the track, I eventually rolled out through the gate and pointed the Lexus west toward home at noon-thirty.
February 27, 2013
How unusual. I stand a very good chance of wheeling our 2103 Lexus GS 350 into the driveway of the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas before nightfall. I'd better, because my first official appointment starts at 6:30 pm and I need some time to relax and scrub the road off of me.
I've never been to Lubbock, Texas, before, and I don't know much about the place. The best I can do is admit that I've heard of it. Saw it on a map, perhaps, or heard it in one of the few country and western songs I've listened to all the way through. *ducks*
Before I leave I take a look at the local guidebook in my hotel and discover this place is big into Buddy Holly because, well, he was born here.
That explains the Crickets senior living center behind my hotel. And the nearby Crickets Laundromat. I could go on.
As it turns out the Buddy Holly Center is on Crickets Avenue, one block east of Buddy Holly Avenue.
February 26, 2013
Our last episode of the 2013 Lexus GS 350 road trip left off when I refilled my tank in the morning after a nighttime sprint out of town. Today, we pick up as I rejoin Interstate 40 from in Kingman after some crummy complimentary hotel coffee that wasn't worth the price.
Yesterday's opening stint left me with road butt after the first 100 miles. I spent the rest of the night fidgeting in my seat. After an hour this morning I was in the same boat once again.
It's not the driving position, which is most excellent. The seats even adjust to my liking. But it's the seat bottom cushion itself. It's too hard and drumlike. It seems like it deflects downward as a single unit. It needs a pillow-top like my mattress at home. It needs more cush for the tush.
This is not the first time I've had such an impression (or lack thereof) in a Lexus leather seat. I remember similar experiences in the 1990s. I can only conclude this seat conforms to some internal design standard that doesn't conform to reality.
And you know the best part? I have another 2,000 miles to go. Whoopie!
At least the Arizona and New Mexico interstates are great for making time because they have 75 mph speed limits. I burned through the first tank of the day without much delay until I started to see smoke on the horizon.
Within a mile or two the freeway came to a dead stop. After 5 minutes we started creeping forward to see a semi burning to the ground on the other side of the road. There was no second car and the smoldering wreckage was neatly parked, so I can only surmise that it was a mechanical problem and the driver got out fine.
February 25, 2013
Headlights have become a fashion statement on most modern luxury cars. With each new model comes a new method of using its light signature to define the front end. They sure look distinctive, but they don't always make for great headlight performance.
February 22, 2013
See that blue hue above and between the tachometer and speedometer? That means the GS is in a good mood. And in "Normal" mode. Drive it around in the "Normal" Drive Select mode and the blue brightens and dims in proportion with speed and load. Come to a stop and it fades to black.
February 21, 2013
At the last minute I decided to take the 2013 Lexus GS 350 on the northern route through Flagstaff and Albuquerque on my way to Austin, Texas. The weather forecast was calling for snow during my return trip so it was now or never if I didn't want to drive the southern route through El Paso, Las Cruces, Tucson and Phoenix twice.
But the route across northern Arizona is over a hundred miles longer, just enough time and distance to prompt me to leave Friday evening instead of Saturday morning. My new plan involved 350 nighttime miles and an overnight stop in Kingman, Arizona so the rest of the trip would be more relaxed.
I waited until well after the dinner hour to get started, but a couple of lingering wrecks caused havoc and the early going was frustratingly slow. The roads emptied once I cleared the San Bernardino, aka the 909, and the Cajon Pass.
Out in the open desert the heads-up display proved brilliant, though the same can't be said for the GS 350's headlights. The high beams are fantastic, but I wish the low beam cutoff was a little higher (or, more specifically, manually adjustable from inside) and I really could have used more of that diagonal kick up to the right some cars have to better illuminate the eyeballs of critters that might be thinking about dashing in from the shoulder.
February 20, 2013
Believe it or not, one of the things that our readers ask us about most here at Edmunds is ride comfort. The trend among manufacturers seems to be about developing cars that are more performance-oriented, but there are still plenty of shoppers out there who prioritize a smooth and comfortable ride above all else. Most of the time, these are people with health issues (back or shoulder problems) that make a smooth ride a must-have.
February 19, 2013
Yesterday we called Lexus Santa Monica to schedule a service appointment for our 2013 Lexus GS 350. We asked for the earliest possible opening. The advisor scheduled us in for 7 o'clock this morning. It was easy.
We showed up on time and were met by our service writer, Mario, promptly. He processed our car quickly, explained the details of the work to be completed, and had us on our way before we knew it. We'll ask for him by name next time.
February 15, 2013
I have business in Austin, Texas next week. Never you mind what it is just now. You'll find out soon enough after I get back.
The 1,400-mile journey is right on the edge of the fly/drive boundary, which means I'll gladly drive, especially since the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport is available. It has plenty of electronic toys to play with to keep me busy along the way, from the Lexus Enform telematics to adaptive cruise and lane keeping assist. And, of course, there's the Dynamic rear steering and adjustable damping I highlighted in my recent Suspension Walkaround.
February 15, 2013
Look at what I saw on our 2013 Lexus GS 350 this morning. I remember as a kid that surprises were good things. Then I grew up and learned they could be really bad things too. This is one of the latter, of course.
I can't tell you how it happened, or when. That's the mystery. But it's there and now we have to deal with it. It looks like the tabs may still be intact. So there is a chance the grille will pop right back into place. I'm not holding my breath, but we'll try.
February 14, 2013
The position of the rearview camera on our 2013 Lexus GS 350 is such that even a light rain can lead to water build-up on the camera lens. A car wash has the same effect. It isn't something I expected, being that the lens is positioned on the underside of the trunk lid. But it happened, nonetheless.
I categorize this one in the good-to-know but certainly not a deal breaker file.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 9,828 miles
February 13, 2013
The maintenance light on our 2013 Lexus GS 350 began as a polite warning. The service prompt suggested we see a dealer "soon" for service. At that time the supporting exclamation point shut off shortly after start-up. But now it's serious.
February 11, 2012
Something is moving under my butt.
It's the first time I've driven our long-term GS 350 F-Sport. I'm slowing the car to a full stop at a red light, and my brain registers a little buzz or flicker coming from beneath my tush. At first I assume it's my phone letting me know that a new email or text message just arrived. But my phone's not in my back pocket; it's in a cupholder. And a quick glance shows that there's no new text or email.
February 5, 2013
A maintenance light on the instrument panel of our 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport tells us a trip to the dealer is coming soon. At 10,000 miles, to be exact. We're at 9,406 at the moment, so it's giving us plenty of service warning.
February 4, 2013
For December and January our 2013 Lexus GS 350 managed to get its best range to date (412.5 miles) and hit a new record for worst fill (14.7 mpg). Good times.
In December, our 91 octane-only GS traveled 1,154 miles and averaged 19.6 miles per gallon. Then in January we got a bump in both miles and fuel economy, up to 1,411 miles and 20.9 mpg. We're not really hitting the EPA estimate of 24 mpg in combined driving, are we?
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor @ 9,631 miles
Worst Fill MPG: 14.7
Best Fill MPG: 29.4
Average Lifetime MPG: 21.1
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): 19 city/28highway/23 combined
Best Range: 412 miles
Current Odometer: 9,631 miles
January 31, 2013
This 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport is a dual personality sedan if there ever was one. It's plenty capable of providing a smooth, quiet and comfortable Lexus-like driving experience. It's no LS, mind you, but the adjustable suspension endows the GS with ample ride cushioning.
Turn the Lexus Drive Mode selector knob over to Sport Plus and the suspension goes into full-stiffie mode. Suddenly, the F Sport turns in like a champ. Precise, confident. And fun.
If you drive it like the majority of earthlings, the transmission shifts around 3,200-3,400 rpm, where the V6 stays nice and quiet. Admittedly the power is a bit soft down there.
But put your right foot into it like you're serious, and not only does the V6 move the GS down the road right quick, but the engine gives a much meaner-sounding note. Snarly, even.
In other words, the GS 350 F Sport is capable of giving you whatever you want. Whenever you want it.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 9,362 miles