Took delivery of my new GS350 yesterday with NAV, Blind Spot Alert, Park Assist Sensors, Mark Levinson Audio, Luxury Package, etc. Test drove the sport model but did not like the metallic interior or tires that could not be rotated. Traded my Mercedes E350 and find this new GS more refined, higher tech features, less harsh ride and reduced road noise, higher quality interior, more comfortable seating, and handling and responsiveness far superior to Mercedes and BMW's I have owned. Had a 2001 GS300, but the only similarity to that 2001 is the GS insignia. Technology is unbelievable and the interior resembles the cockpit of of a Gulfsteam Jet. Worth every penny I spent on it!
For middle management guys like me, who go for cars like this, you've to stop lying to yourself. I'd love to say max power, max torque and racing handling are my top priorities. They're not though, they can't be. Reliability and comfort have to occupy some top spots. Before I enjoy the daily adrenalin shot that I get from my 2013 GS350 F-Sport, it had better start, emmerse my senses and not leave me in a cloud of steam on the side of the road somewhere. I promise you that this car can handle everything and anything that you're going to want to do in the real world. Your bravery will run out and your consideration for not crossing from spirited to reckless driving will kick in well below the limits of the F-Sport. Great track day car? No. But I'm going to work a lot more often then going to the track. I just want to enjoy the hell out of the daily commute and dude, it just doesn't get any better in this price range. This car makes me feel alive, proud, motivated. I can see it from my 5th floor corner office and it calls to me all day long. I can't wait to drive it and I get a goofy smile every time I get in. Ignore the track teleme-trickery and get the car that soothes your brow as well as it lights your fire. When you click into Sport + mode, this car will strain at the leash and bark out a multi-stage exhaust note that is 100% primal scream. When your talent runs out, it will make the decisions that you failed to, and ensure that you live to tell the tale to your dude-bro's AND get your daughter to her volleyball game on time. I promise, you will not be disappointed in this work of engineering excellence.
I took my time buying in December 2012, actually spending 4 weekends test-driving the A6, 535i, E350, and GS 350 F Sport. I bought the GS 350 F Sport ... it's just simply the most fun to drive. To top it off, it had all the luxury-sports styling & character, & options & features that mattered most to me. 8 months and 6,000+ miles after, it is still exhilarating to drive this car, and it continues to get comps from kins, friends, and colleagues. Only reason it has relatively low mileage is that I have 2 other cars that also need to be driven. I look forward to many years of reliable use, minimal maintenance cost (for oil and filters, tires, break pads) & excellent Lexus center services.
I bought a 2013 GS 350 after agonizing between it and the A6. In fact, having previously owned two Audi?s, I thought my mind was made up. After too much research, I was still intent on the A6 even though the GS 350 had risen on my radar. I recalled seeing the new 2013 GS at a car show and being blown away by the cockpit and that cool display, but that was about it. I still wanted the German feel and Audi engineering/design. When I finally drove a loaded A6 30T Prestige I was a bit underwhelmed. I can?t explain why ? it was beautiful and had lots of grunt off the line. Maybe my expectations were too high. My mind verified all the good things that I had read in reviews. But I was left feeling empty ? and at that price point, I wanted to feel more - in my heart. Then I test drove the GS. It immediately wowed me in comparison. Again, I could not explain why, but it felt better? it spoke to my mind and heart. And oh, how that engine growl sang to me as the RPMs shot past 4,500 on the tach compared to the silence of the A6. So this sent me back to my research ? exhaustive research ? trying to quantify the differences so I could make my purchase with confidence. It was tough since I had such brand loyalty to Audi... and had been looking forward to getting back into one now that my kids were old enough not to trash it with spilled milk and gummy bears. But I kept hesitating. In the end, and after test driving another A6 I went with the GS 350. The deciding factors were clear? it was fun to drive, had impeccable build quality, was luxurious and sporty (lux package, thank you) and had a reputation for industry-leading reliability. It was a few pennys cheaper too (in purchase price and cost of ownership)? And I figured that it would be a rather high mileage car when the time came to sell it, and would clearly be worth more than a high mileage German car thanks to that Lexus reliability. Now that I have been driving it more, I can better quantify the differences over the A6 and why I love it so much. It feels better as a driver?s car, tight and hunkered down? it drives small... and being able to choose Sport + mode turns it into more of a speed-racer than this dad with a past could become bored of? stomp on the gas and the sound is visceral. I?m a driver?s driver, but I also live in the real world spending most of my time commuting. And I look forward to commuting with this car. The GS is my sanctuary and elicits passion, not just in the way it drives, but in the way it surrounds you in sport AND luxury. The seats are the best I?ve ever experienced and this is one reason the A6 left me feeling unloved. The A6 seats are flat and uninspired. The GS seats w/ the lux package hug me? literally. The leather and slightly retro/slightly futuristic cockpit in black with linear espresso wood makes me feel ensconced. And the big display is just wow? The A6 felt a bit sterile compared to this car. It lacked passion for me. So in the end, I am reluctant, surprised and totally satisfied GS 350 owner.
The GS350 F-Sport is, in reality, the best "5-Series" ever built. It is very tight, has precise weighted steering, and handles like a BMW--or even better-- in every way. It is the ultimate sports luxury sedan...but you need to get the F-Sport version and drive it in Sport+ mode (the most aggressive mode), which decrease gas milage somewhat. However, unlike the 5-series, the GS350 has the interior quality and fine leather of a $100K+ car (I'm not exaggerating--especially with the cabernet interior), and the build quality and long-term reliability and service that BMW or Audi can't match. Btw, I've been been driving German sports sedans for years, and this Lexus beats them all.
F Sport Package (est. $4,000 -- includes F Sport-tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension, larger front brakes with high-friction pads, Variable Gear Ratio steering, 19-inch staggered-width wheels with summer performance tires, 16-way power driver seat, sport front bumper, mesh grille inserts, rear lower valence and lip spoiler, unique interior with aluminum trim, perforated leather and black headliner); Navigation With Mark Levinson Premium Sound Audio (est. $4,000 -- includes Lexus HDD navigation system with 12.3-inch display screen, Mark Levinson audio with 835 watts and 17 speakers, Lexus Enform with Safety Connect, voice recognition system, SiriusXM NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports and Stocks); Premium Package (est. $1,400 -- includes rain-sensing wipers, heated/ventilated front seats and power rear sunshade); Dynamic Rear Steering (est. $1,000); Blind Spot Monitor (est. $250).
Naturally aspirated, direct- and port-injected V6, gasoline
DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
306 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
277 @ 4,800
Six-speed automatic with console shifter and steering-mounted paddles with sport/competition modes
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
V6 has decent power and gets a meaner rasp the higher it revs. Automatic shifts pretty quickly. Launching wasn't difficult, as the GS is not capable of wheelspin even with power braking. Best run came in Manual shift mode (by a tenth). Still shifts for itself at 6,400 rpm, but shifts seemed ever so slightly quicker in Manual. Manual shifting is via paddles or console lever (pull back for downshifts with lever). Blips throttle on downshifts.
Firm pedal, relatively short travel. Car tracks straight, but nosedive is noticeable and there's a significant (and surprising) amount of rear tire lockup. First stop was 115 feet. Shortest was 7th stop at 112 feet. Longest was 5th at 123 feet.
Skid pad: Light steering but at least some indication as to what the front tires were up to. Chassis isn't overly responsive to drop-throttle. But biggest problem was the throttle's sensitivity (or abruptness) in Sport Plus mode, which meant it wasn't as easy as it should've been to play with the throttle to adjust the car's attitude. Slalom: 69.7 mph is an impressive time for a car as big as the GS. Summer tires and the F Sport's stiffer suspension help. Platform feels solid and steering is quite quick. The electric assist isn't perfectly intuitive in its feel and weighting, but the F Sport goes where you point it and changes direction easily around the cones. Very planted and also reluctant to oversteer. ESC has high intervention point when on, gently reducing throttle and only adding brakes if you completely overdrive it.