2013 Lexus GS 350 Long Term Road Test


2013 Lexus GS 350: Tight Turning Circle

January 22, 2013

2013 Lexus GS 350

If I park on the curb the night before, which I often do, my first morning task consists of flipping a U-turn to get myself pointed toward work. More often than not that winds up being a three-point turn because, well, my quiet suburban street isn't all that wide.

But a funny thing happened in our 2013 Lexus GS 350 F-Sport. This largish 190.7-inch long machine whipped around easily. No sweat.

Smaller cars such as a Toyota Prius c Four (the one with the 17-inch wheels) have gone down to defeat. The same is true of numerous other cars and trucks of all brands.

How did the GS 350 and its longish 112.2-inch wheelbase pull it off? For one, rear-drive machines that ride on double wishbone front suspension can sometimes, but not always, offer more lock than front drive cars that ride on struts. But our 2013 GS 350 also has a trick up its sleeve that goes by the name of Lexus Dynamic Handling, which includes something they call Dynamic Rear Steering or DRS. Modern computer-controlled rear steering systems can do a lot of nifty things whether one is expertly carving up corners or inexpertly running out of talent, but a reduced turning circle in a situation like this is one of the technology's more mundane and practical benefits.

But how much is it worth? In an odd twist, I'm dealing with two sets of official turning circle numbers: one that matches the Lexus website (and ours) and another I got after a call to the Lexus PR department. Odd this may be, both sets of figures agree on one point: DRS shaves 1.4 feet off the curb-to-curb U-turn diameter. Not much, perhaps, but just enough here on my street.

Curious, I lined the Lexus up for a little test reenactment, starting as you see here with the outside edges of the tires lined up with the asphalt/concrete gutter seam as a reference line. Next I cranked the steering all the way to the left and then eased onto the gas.

2013 Lexus GS 350

Here's where the GS wound up. After first straightening the wheels my tape measure told me the ride-side tires had moved laterally exactly 30.0 feet from the seam I started from. But 30 feet is not the turning circle we're looking for because the front tires trace a wider arc during a turn.

2013 Lexus GS 350

Turns out the protruding chin of the GS's front fascia is the limiting factor, and here it came no closer than a couple of inches.

According to my tape the asphalt part of the road is 31 feet, 8 inches wide, with two more feet of gutter to the curb. That's a turning circle of 33 feet, 8 inches minus the two inches by which the Lexus missed the curb. Call it 33.5 feet. Care to guess the published number with the rear steering option?

The number I got from Lexus PR was 33.4 feet. I suppose that means the website's "with LDH" figure of 35.4 feet isn't correct because there's no doubt I cleared that distance.

However you look at it, 33.5 feet is a mighty tight turning circle for a car this long, a good thing to know if you have a tight driveway.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 8,885 miles

Comments

  • tpsinha tpsinha Posts:

    I am seriously looking at the GS350 with the F-sport package, but am trying to decide whether I should get the LDH option or not. Is it really worth $1600-$1700?? Plus, not sure if Edmunds had to order the car or whether Lexus was able to find one from some other part of the country, but there are no cars with LDH available in Southern California. I would have to either order one (and wait ~3.5 months) or see if the dealer can locate one for me. In both these cases, I think I will have to work harder to get a better deal, compared to just picking up a car that is available on the lot. The fact that I also cannot see the inventory online makes it hard to locate a car I would consider. Not sure if yourlexusdealer.com gives the most updated results. Sigh...

  • actualsize actualsize Posts:

    The one thing to consider with the RWD F-sport with or without LDH is this: are you a skier? Will you drive it to Mammoth or the local mountains in winter? The RWD F-sport is the only version with summer tires, which are great for 3-season wet or dry stick but truly awful with a dusting of snow or even frosty-cold mountain asphalt. The AWD F-sport has all-season tires but you can't get LDH and it doesn't have the quicker variable-gear ratio steering If that's not an issue, then the RWD F-sport is a good choice. We're still exploring the virtues of LDH, but so far the handling is winning lots of praise. See the comments from our recent track test: http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/track-tests/2013-lexus-gs-350-f-sport-track-test.html "What feels like an LSD" may in fact be LDH at work because I find no mention of an LSD in the specs.

  • natnut natnut Posts:

    Hi! Can you comment on the difference in slalom speed for the GS350 F-Sport when Edmunds first tested it (69.7mph) vs the 66.7mph for the subsequent track test? How can there be a big difference in slalom speed for the same slalom course? Was there significant differences in the test cars or tires used? Thanks

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Lexus GS 350 in VA is:

$194 per month*
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