2013 Lexus GS 350 F-Sport: Road Trip Report
July 5, 2013
Okay, the 262-miles from Los Angeles to Buttonwillow, CA and back make for a pretty measly weekend road trip, I admit. Mostly our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350 just sat in the paddock while my LeMons team, Eyesore Racing, endurance-raced a hoopty in the middle of the desert. In late June. During a heat wave. Yes, we are geniuses.
However, this trip managed to cram a wide variety of traffic conditions into one easily-digestible trip. In the slow/stop-and-go nonsense heading out of L.A., the GS 350 was a mixed bag. It has plenty of torque down low, but there's an aggravating half-beat of throttle tip-in delay. Reminds me of a certain BMW. I also didn't like the transmission's inability to provide smooth downshifts in manual mode. Here, too, the GS can't respond quickly enough to commanded shifts, plus for some reason it didn't always match revs in Sport mode like it's supposed to.
When the road opened up beyond the Grapevine (construction traffic here, yay!), those shortcomings melted away and the Lexus really hit its stride. At speed, its steering and handling never put a wheel wrong, and the GS felt planted and confidence-inspiring. The tradeoff is a not-insignificant amount of road noise, however. I'm still impressed by this V6. It's really an overachiever. Lots of grunt across the rev range, even in the power-sapping heat. There's also a nice intake honk when you give it the beans.
Also, its cooled seats have enough fanpower to make their presence felt even in the 109-degree ambient conditions. Ahh.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor