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 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.
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.
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.
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
January 22, 2013
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.
January 14, 2012
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
January 11, 2012
Our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350 is equipped with the F Sport package, which includes a sport-tuned suspension. So during two recent highway drives when I put on about 600 miles, I was curious to find out how comfortable the GS would be for long stints behind the wheel.
Overall, I found our GS' ride quality to be pretty agreeable, with the caveat that F Sport is not going to be for everybody. The F Sport's 16-way sport driver seat was comfortable and supportive, and I was able to find a very nice driving position that I liked. The ride quality is firm, no question. When you drive over rough pavement on the highway, you're going to feel it. But I didn't find it to be objectionable given that this is supposed to be a sport sedan, and it has a sport package equipped. One thing I did notice was a fair amount of tire noise for this class of car, though; the F Sport's wider summer tires might be the culprit.
I think the F Sport package brings some welcome character to the GS, and I'd order it if it were my car. But I would caution the potential GS buyer that that it does make a difference. If they're expecting the more typical levels of Lexus isolation, then I'd suggest skipping F Sport.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 8,502 miles
January 9, 2012
One thing I've noticed about the 3.5-liter V6 in our 2013 Lexus GS 350 is that it has dual personalities when it comes to the way it sounds. Under normal driving conditions it sounds like your typical Lexus V6, which is to say understated and quiet. But when you nail the throttle, the V6 becomes much more aggressive and is highlighted by a throaty intake sound at higher rpm. There's some sound enhancement going on -- Lexus has added special sound generator tubing on the air intake to make it happen -- but overall I like it.
The only issue I can see somebody having is that the V6 sounds a little sportier than it really is. Granted, 306 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds is perfectly fine for this class, but you do have to rev the engine fairly high to access that power. Some competing sedans with their supercharged or turbocharged six-cylinder engines (Audi S5, BMW 535i, new Jaguar XF 3.0) have beefier amounts of torque that's readily available at low rpm.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 8,224 miles
November 16, 2012
Now that is what you call a serious dead pedal. This is a good thing by the way.
I've seen plenty of cars come through lately that have no more than tiny little bumps for resting your left foot and that's next to worthless. I like dead pedals that are big enough for two feet, makes them more useful.
Then again, I left foot brake most of the time so I don't often use deadpedals, but when I do, I like something substantial that I can feel. Not even sure why, it just feels right.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line
November 07, 2012
Lexus still has a way to go when it comes to making its engines look good, but it has learned how to make its engines feel good. The 3.5-liter V6 in our GS has been around in various forms for what seems like forever. From Camrys to RAV4s to pickup trucks, it's been in just about everything Toyota not to mention much of the Lexus lineup.
It's never felt special, though, even if it did make the RAV4 stupid fast or the ES350 brilliantly smooth. In the GS, it feels like a whole new engine. It's responsive, gutsy in the midrange and even sounds throaty at full throttle. Part of it has to do with the quick shifts from the automatic, but the engine is always ready with usable power.
It's not the V6 I'm used to in a Lexus and it's definitely one of the things about this GS that makes it feel so un-Lexus like.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line
October 17, 2012
Yes, I know I'm starting this entry on a mean note, but the previous-generation Lexus GS 350 didn't even rank among premium sport sedans. It was a nice, comfy, well-built luxury car, but really, it was a rear-drive ES.
This 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport is so different from that car. Yeah, I've only commuted in it so far, but I feel OK calling it a sport sedan, or certainly a sporty midsize luxury sedan, and I think it's now my favorite car in the class. It feels far less isolating and encumbered by its electronics than the current 528i and 535i. It reminds me a bit of the Audi A6, except this Lexus has much better steering feel and its V6 sounds fantastic when you peg the throttle (never had that thought about the A6's supercharged V6).
So far, the one thing that bugs me about the GS 350 is the Remote Touch interface, but I'm willing to make the effort to like it -- based solely on how much I enjoy the driving experience.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 4,737 miles
October 15, 2012
I've lately spent some quality time in our longterm 2013 Lexus GS 350, and I'm finding this a very well-executed sedan. For starters, its V6 punches the GS around with such authority -- Toyota's 3.5-liter 2GR-FSE V6 has always been an overachiever -- that a V8 is not strictly necessary (did I just type those words?). Great throttle response, too.
And the steering, well...
... it's the best steering in a Lexus sedan to date. It's quick, linear, builds effort nicely and generally feels more honest than that of the current 5 Series. The rear wheel-steering system that's part of the F-Sport package is truly seamless in its operation -- it simply works.
Also, just because I think the 6-speed automatic isn't sporty doesn't mean that it's a bad gearbox -- on the contrary, in auto mode, it's right there with the top of its class, swapping gears smoothly and crisply and boasting an intuitive calibration that's not stingy with a kickdown right when you want it. It's just "meh" when shifted manually, that's all.
The F-Sport moniker might suggest to some that this GS is some barnstorming, hard-edged sport sedan. It isn't. Instead, the chassis tuning strikes a fine balance between comfort and ability (hey, why not just make all GSs like this?). This is a car that's got plenty of comfort a long-haul road trip but isn't afraid of a corner. It does shrink when you drive it hard.
So, yes, the GS 350 is a fine steer. Looking forward to more seat time.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
October 8, 2012
Our 2-post Rotary Lift has been busy. Last week it showed us the underside of our 2013 Lexus GS 350. Enjoy.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
October 5, 2012
If Lexus/Toyota expects the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F-Sport to be taken seriously as a driver's car, they'll have to do something about the gearbox. It is decidedly unsporty.
Rev-matching -- The Lexus has it, but only if you select "sport" mode. Isn't the F-Sport already the "sport" model? And is there really any reason anybody would want it to not match revs? I can't think of any. And heck, when rev-matching is available in autobox-equipped Mazda 3s all the time, Lexus/Toyota -- and every other brand with any shade of sporting aspirations -- can follow suit.
Slow responses -- There is a distinct pause between command and result when shifting manually.
No other choice -- you can get a 2013 GS 350 with a 6-speed automatic, or... nothing else. There is no manual gearbox offered, and the autobox doesn't cut the mustard when used manually.
C'mon, F-Sport, live up to the promise.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
[updated- remembered it does match revs in 'sport'. Sorry for any confusion]
September 25, 2012
A few weeks ago I drove our long-term Lexus GS 350 from Los Angeles to Palo Alto and back in two days. That's 700+ miles of interstate and California freeways is less than 48 hours.
When I emerged from the GS the final time I remember looking back at its bug ridden, gapping grille and its once clean flanks now covered in grime and feeling a sense of connection with the machine. The car and I were enjoying a mutual moment of accomplishment. And there in my driveway we were taking a few seconds to acknowledge each other. The only sound was the metallic clicking of the sedan's cooling exhaust system.
For me, this was a first. I've never had such an exchange with a Lexus sedan. It was emotional. The 700+ miles were covered in comfort and a quiet cocoon, as you would expect from a Lexus, but this car offered more. I enjoyed the trip. I felt like I had driven a car. I had an experience. This might be the first Lexus sedan that allows you to experience the journey and not just the arrival.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
September 4, 2012
I've done my time with plenty of rear-wheel steering systems.
Most of them worked in a way that made you think of a grocery cart swapping ends at the end of an aisle as you make the hairpin and go up the next alley.
As the 1970s began, the Datsun Z-car's independent rear suspension gave you a little extra liveliness as the toe and camber changed when the wheels stroked through their travel, a kind of passive four-wheel steering in a way. It seeemd all right at the time, but as the 1970s concluded, the effect no longer seemed so charming. While testing the last 280ZX Turbo in a slalom at Riverside International Raceway, I arrived at the last gate under perfect control and got a nice round of applause from onlookers. Sadly, this was because the car was perfectly backwards.
As the 1980s began, active four-wheel steering became fashionable for a brief period. Oddly enough, Nissan led the way with HICAS, a hydraulic (later electric) active system developed from a Nissan R&D research vehicle. It proved fairly brilliant on the street in the Nissan 300ZX Turbo Z32 and the Nissan 240SX S13, but there was lots of moaning and groaning about its behavior at track speeds from the usual know-it-alls, so it didn?t last long in production.
Instead, four-wheel steering became a kind of gimmick as the 1980s ended. The Honda Prelude's low-speed system made parking easier, but that seemed to be about it. In the end, no one wanted four-wheel steering -- not from Honda, not from Mazda, and not from Nissan. Not from anybody, really.
So it's kind of a miracle that the first time I drove the Lexus GS 350 F Sport over a high-speed demonstration course set up on the old runways at El Toro, I was totally impressed by the effect of its four-wheel steering.
This Lexus system not only quickens the car's response as it turns into a corner but also seems to improve the way the car grips the pavement as it leaves a corner. I drove the F Sport back to back with a BMW 5 Series and a Mercedes E-Class on the a wide-open, high-speed course on the old runways at El Toro, and the European cars felt like donkey carts compared to the Lexus.
We'll be talking about this system more as time goes on. Maybe four-wheel steering is an overnight success at last.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 1,330 miles