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.
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.
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.
January 31, 2013
My neighbor came over to inspect the Lexus GS parked in my driveway.
"That's a handsome car," he said.
It's kind of nondescript so I never really gave it a thought. So I gave it another look. Handsome means good-looking but also well-proportioned. And the word denotes masculinity. So, yeah, I guess it's handsome. I've seen worse.
What do you think are some of the better looking cars on the road?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @donnaderosa
January 21, 2013
I managed to catch this shot of the GS's heads up display while crossing through the shadow cast by and overpass which makes it easier to see. It?s plenty bright, but hard to capture with the camera.
The display is configurable with multiple displays including one with a digital speedometer and Eco display. Its location can be adjusted vertically and it can be switched off with a button to the left of the wheel.
It works well enough if you like this sort of thing. Would you pay $900 for this?
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor @ about 8,800 miles
January 18, 2013
Under the GS 350's trunk carpet and floor there's a space-saver spare. I always find it baffling when the simple five-spoke space saver wheel is better looking than the car's primary wheels. But I digress. As you can see by the headline, we're talking about the features in our GS 350's trunk.
And any trunk tour isn't complete without discussion of the spare. So there you go.
January 17, 2013
There are four cargo tie-downs and a cargo net in the GS 350's trunk. Normal stuff, really. But there's a lot going on in this trunk and it's not all the kind of thing I'd expect.
First up, the flip-down handle to hold plastic grocery bags upright while driving. Why every manufacturer doesn't do this is beyond me. But wait, there's more...
January 15, 2013
Not a big thing, but Lexus seems to have gone out of its way to hide the button which operates its electronically actuated parking brake. It's located on the lower dash at knee level to the right of the steering column.
Most manufacturers place these buttons on the center console or to the left of the steering column on the dash where the old-school releases were located. Took me a little hunting to figure out how to apply the brake.
Unusual, but not wrong.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor @ 8,654 miles
January 14, 2013
I'll have to admit that previous years of Lexus GS mediocrity had lowered my expectations about the new 2013 GS 350. But after spending time with our long-term test car, I've come away very impressed.
Of some significance, I find our GS fun to drive. Granted, a lot of that comes from the optional F Sport package that our car has, but I mention it because it's a rare quality these days. I can point to midsize luxury sedans that are certainly capable and sporty — the latest 5 Series, for instance — but don't really engage me as a driver. Our GS, in contrast, makes me want to search out fun roads. It turns in quickly, "drives smaller" than it really is and, even if it's average in terms of power, sounds good and is quick enough.
I also like the way the new GS 350 looks, the quality design of the interior, the massive central display screen and the comfortable backseat.
Along with the Audi A6, the 2013 Lexus GS 350 is the car I'd most consider right now if I were buying a $50,000 midsize luxury sport sedan.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 8,544 miles
December 28, 2012
As you can see, the gauge cluster in our Lexus GS 350 is about as easy to read as they come these days. Seems like a no brainer in a luxury car, but with all the technology being crammed into them these days, the instrument cluster is often a dumping ground for information that could otherwise go elsewhere.
In the case of the GS, Lexus did a good job of giving you big, clearly marked analog gauges along with a relatively easy to read auxiliary info screen wedged between them. Unlike some cars, the extra info screen doesn't try to do too much. Instead, it can be configured to show basic info like miles to empty, a digital speedometer or simply nothing at all. Also, bear in mind that our GS has a heads up display that projects vehicle and engine speed onto the windshield if you want to simplify things even further.
For a car that is otherwise stuffed full of high tech gadgets, the simplified instrument cluster is a nice show of restraint.
Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 7,452 miles
December 18, 2012
Here's the irony in writing about cars for a living: you get to drive really nice cars that you'll never make enough to afford. I don't mean exotics or 911s or AMGs, but your mainstream luxury coupe or sedan. In my case, I've developed an unfortunate appetite for $60,000 cars: E-Class, Cayman, and our GS 350, for example.
If you're a driving enthusiast who lives among crappy or non-existent public transportation, you've probably resigned yourself to two- or three-car ownership: your commuter, maybe a significant other's commuter, and a weekend fun car. On the surface, that sounds like some real One Percenter privilege, but I'm guessing it's not uncommon among car folk.
For a daily commuter, you could do worse than the GS 350. It soaks up the bumps, blocks noise and generally buffs out the daily grind. There's a great divide between driver and passenger seats, with a thick wide armrest that encourages Lincoln Town Car-type repose.
You're not going to take the GS to the track. You're not gonna wake up early to take the GS running with the motorcycles in the local hills. You are going to drive it home after a long workday. You are going to drive it to take your lady out to a nice dinner. You're going to drive it out of town every few months for a long weekend.
The GS wins on all counts. But I don't love everything about it. I don't like the twin red-eyes staring back at me from atop the steering column. And I don't like the instrument panel and steering wheel pockmarked with buttons (see photo) that activate features like lane-keeping assist or heads-up display -- features seemingly easily integrated into the central command. Instead, they just hung a button on the IP. This is a tech-heavy car that requires too much time in the driveway just to get dialed in.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 7,320 miles
December 07, 2012
This is the center console on our 2013 Lexus GS 350. Take a look at that lid towards the top of the picture. That covers the front cupholders. Notice how the front of the lid lines up flush with the panel ahead of it and the back of the lid sticks up about a quarter-inch. Why did they do that? It doesn't work for me.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 6,100 miles
December 03, 2012
Wasn't sure what to call this stuff, so I investigated. Turns out, various editors have been arguing over what to call it for some time. It's metallic trim that has a wood grain-look to it.
What? Lexus simply refers to it as striated aluminum. But who knows what "striated" means anyway? I was thinking maybe it should be called Alumiwood? Or how about Mohaganim?
Whatever you want to call it, there's no doubt it's a little different. And that's what Lexus was going for as it's part of the F-Sport package. And who's going to order Alumiwood in their F-Sport?
Ed Hellwig, Editor
October 19, 2012
What we're looking at here is the side of the center console on the Lexus GS 350 F Sport. If this was your average car, it would be covered with some form of hard-ish plastic material.
On the GS 350, it's a strip of very well-padded leather. And that's a nice touch, because it's where your right knee rests quite often.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 4,798 miles.
October 10, 2012
Our Lexus has thousands and thousands of dollars in optional equipment. For example, the Heads Ups Display, which shows the vehicle speed in the window in front of you. It's not new technology but I can see how it would be considered fancy by Lexus drivers.
Necessary? No. Nicety? Yes.
Would you pay $900 for the Heads Up Display?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 4,509 miles
October 5, 2012
As one Mr. Takahashi noted, this doohickey atop our longterm 2013 Lexus GS 350's steering column is the
thing that shoots frickin' laser beams at your face driver alertness monitor.
--Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
October 3, 2012
Looking at the above photo of our 2013 Lexus GS 350's climate controls, do you notice anything missing?
Yup, the centerstack climate controls are missing an air-conditioner button. You can only turn on the A/C via the touchscreen as pictured above in the lower leftside of the screen.
I realize this is the smallest of all nits and something that will become a nonissue to actual owners of the GS 350 but I just thought it odd that there wasn't an actual button for it. Instead, you have to scroll through the screen to Climate. Shrugs.
However, the GS did actually in fact win the award for Production Vehicle Interior Innovation of the Year from something called the Automotive Interiors Expo 2013 in June for its climate control system so what's a little missing A/C button compared to all that?
From the AIE site: "The Lexus GS features a Denso climate control system that makes use of Nano-E technology from Panasonic that moisturises those inside the vehicle! The industry has already had purified and scented air-con systems, but the Japanese OEM takes things to a new level by using nanotechnology that purifies the air coming out of the vents in order to moisturise the hair and skin of the occupants."
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
September 23, 2012
Our 2013 Lexus GS 350 cost us $63,427, driven up from its base price of $47,795 by all the options we put in it, including the F Sport package which gives it its striated aluminum interior trim. Looking at these snaps, think the interior materials are befitting that of a $63K car?
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
September 17, 2012
Above, our 2013 Lexus GS 350 passenger seat looks perfectly harmless. But take into account that it's been sitting under the hot afternoon sun for hours, L.A. is suffering from record-breaking heat and I'm wearing a slip of a summer dress.
Fortunately after opening the front doors and the windows and blasting on the seat coolers, which both front seats are equipped with, I was able to safely ease into the cabin and the seat without yelping. I've had painful experiences with hot leather seats before so was kind of gun shy here.
But the cabin and seat cooled down quickly. By the time we were halfway down the block, the A/C made us forget that it's 94 degrees outside. Man, I LOVE seat coolers!
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
September 13, 2012
iDrive. COMAND. MMI. Now, Remote Touch. How does Lexus stack up against zee Germans?
Well, like anything, there's the good and the bad. Let's start with the good.
The controller and palm rest are well placed and just feels right under your hand. Moving the mouse-like toggle pad is as intuitive as interfaces get. The simulated detents (when you roll over an on-screen button) are incredibly helpful, clever and just plain cool. The graphics look rather dated (as shown in my last post), but at least they're legible.
Now the bad -- well, maybe bad is too strong a word. Here's where it could use some help.
The menus and tabs aren't all that intuitive. After a few days, though, I started to "get it" and navigating around the various systems got a little easier. Think of it as your favorite website that just went through a redesign. All the stuff you need is there, it's just rearranged and you need to figure out the logic behind it. For some reason, I also find myself needing to pay more attention to the screen than I do with other systems. Finally, those cool detents I mentioned above could be a bit more aggressive. Even at its highest setting, I'd like more of a button stop.
The staff here is split on what interface is best. Personally, I think Audi's MMI system is the best. It has tack-sharp graphics that look as modern as a 21st-century car should. The menus are also better organized, at least for my way of thinking. I'm ok with iDrive, it doesn't irk me the way it does to some. Mercedes' COMAND is probably my least favorite. No matter how much time I devote, it never manages to feel right to me.
I'd place Remote Touch in second place, just after Audi.
What do you think? Which system fits you best?
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 2,327 miles
September 12, 2012
I like this feature on the Lexus. Practically every other car I've ever driven the parking brake must be manually engaged and disengaged. But the GS has an Auto setting for this operation. Put the sedan in Drive and the e-brake is released. Put the transmission in Park and the brake engages.
Cadillac's once did this...sorta. Back in the 1970s, the parking brake on a Caddy would disengage when the car was put in gear, but the Lexus is the first car I remember that sets the brake when the car is shifted into Park.
Now that's luxury. Cool touch.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief