2013 Lexus GS 350 Long-Term Road Test - Wrap-Up

2013 Lexus GS 350 Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (2)
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  • Long-Term

Read the introduction of the Lexus GS 350 to our long-term fleet.

See all of the Lexus GS 350 long-term updates.

What We Bought
All 2013 Lexus GS sedans were 350s. No other trim level was offered. Standard equipment on the GS 350 was a 3.5-liter, 306-horsepower V6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. There were options available, however.

We opted for a GS 350 with the F Sport and Dynamic Handling packages. The first (for $5,690) added 19-inch wheels, summer tires, adaptive suspension, variable-ratio steering and upgraded brakes. The second included active rear steering for another $1,700. It was impossible to find a car with just these two options. Rather than wait to order our ideal car, we chose to purchase soon. The decision landed us a vehicle with far more extras than we wanted.

2013 Lexus GS 350

Our 2013 Lexus GS 350 had it all. In addition to the F Sport and Dynamic Handling packages, it had a blind-spot monitoring system, head-up display, Mark Levinson stereo system, Intuitive park assist, pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control, paint protection film and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen. This car had $16,000 in optional equipment and a $63,427 price tag. We negotiated the figure to $58,377 and drove away in our new Lexus.

Our Impressions

  • "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." — Brent Romans

  • "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.... 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." — Erin Riches

  • "I've lately spent some quality time in our long-term 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.... The chassis tuning strikes a fine balance between comfort and ability. This is a car that's got plenty of comfort for a long-haul road trip but isn't afraid of a corner." — Jason Kavanagh

  • "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.... 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

  • 2013 Lexus GS 350

  • "I drove our long-term Lexus GS 350 from Los Angeles to Palo Alto and back in two days. That's 700-plus miles of interstate and California freeways in less than 48 hours. When I emerged from the GS the final time I remember looking back at its bug-ridden, gaping grille and its once-clean flanks now covered in grime and feeling a sense of connection with the machine.... For me, this was a first. I've never had such an exchange with a Lexus sedan. It was emotional. The 700-plus 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

  • "iDrive. COMAND. MMI. Now, Remote Touch. How does Lexus stack up? Let's start with the good. The controller and palm rest are well-placed and just feel right under your hand. Moving the mouselike toggle pad is as intuitive as interfaces get. The simulated detents are incredibly helpful, clever and just plain cool. The graphics look rather dated, but at least they're legible.... Here's where it could use some help. The menus and tabs aren't all that intuitive. After a few days I started to 'get it' and navigating around the various systems got a little easier.... All the stuff you need is there, it's just rearranged and you need to figure out the logic behind it.... The staff here is split on what interface is best. Personally, I think Audi's MMI system is the best.... I'd place Remote Touch in second place.... I'm OK with iDrive.... Mercedes' COMAND is probably my least favorite." — Mark Takahashi

  • "I get that car manufacturers want their products to be special and different. But seriously, who sat in front of this system and said, 'Yes, this is the one we should go with.' Why make us toggle around with the square whatchamacallit? It's like a mouse that is set to move too fast. I always over-jump the commands I want. I like that is has a large screen but the back and forth is frustrating.... (This system) takes too much of your time and attention. It's as distracting as texting. As long as a system has good sound and does useful things like keep you warm or cool and send you in the right direction when you're lost, that's all we need. This system could be so much easier to use. Clear and simple is always best." — Donna DeRosa

  • "Our GS 350 has the really expensive F Sport package which includes the really, really nice 16-way F Sport driver seat with adjustable side bolsters, lumbar and, most importantly, an 'extendable lower cushion,' a.k.a. thigh support. This range of adjustment is a German-carmaker thing so it's surprising to find it here. Not only does the extendable lower cushion extend quite a ways, but it does so electronically and not mechanically. Considering this, the seats alone might be worth the price of the F Sport package." — Mike Magrath

  • "If you have to use your GS 350 to shuttle family/friends/co-workers around, the people sitting in back should be pretty comfortable. The outboard positions are nicely contoured and are raised to offer useful thigh support. There's also plenty of padding on the rear door armrests and center armrest. The center position isn't suitable for adults given its high perch and the hump on the floor, but that's pretty typical for this class. Legroom is generous. The only potential issue I noticed was headroom; anybody taller than 6 feet will likely be bumping his or her head on the headliner. And if you go by the spec sheet, the GS 350's rear headroom is a bit less than what you'll find in a 5 Series or E-Class. But overall I feel like I could take a nice snooze back here, which is always a good sign." — Brent Romans

  • "Official trunk space is listed at 14.3 cubic feet, which is a tad small for this class of car. Still, it proved to be sufficient to hold two medium suitcases, a small suitcase and a duffel bag. One thing I noticed after I took the photo was that the GS has the 'gooseneck' style of trunk lid hinges. I couldn't actually close the lid since the left suitcase in the photo was in the way of the hinge's downward path. Not a huge deal, as I just repositioned the suitcases. But it could be an issue if you frequently use the GS's trunk for a lot of cargo carrying." — Brent Romans

2013 Lexus GS 350

Maintenance & Repairs

Regular Maintenance:
The 2013 Lexus GS 350 requested routine service at 5,000-mile intervals. So we visited Lexus of Santa Monica at 5K, 10K, 15K and 20K miles. The first two visits were on the house. The second two were out-of-pocket.

Service Campaigns:
There was one service campaign on our GS 350 during this test. It required that the internal trunk release be replaced. We had this performed at the 15,000-mile service visit.

Fuel Economy and Resale Value

Observed Fuel Economy:
The EPA estimated fuel economy for the 2013 Lexus GS 350 at 23 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway). We averaged 22 mpg over the course of our test. Our best single tank was 30 mpg and covered 422 miles.

Resale and Depreciation:
We accumulated 20,940 miles on our 2013 Lexus GS 350. Edmunds' TMV® Calculator valued the vehicle at $47,431 based on a private-party sale. The market did not seem to support this price, as CarMax offered us $40,000 and the best we could muster from a private party was $41,000. This made for 30-percent depreciation from our paid price of $58,377. We were disappointed.

Summing Up

Pros: Fun to drive with the performance enhancements of the F Sport and Dynamic Handling packages. Build quality is top-notch.

Cons: The Remote Touch infotainment controller was not universally accepted. Resale value was lower than expected.

Bottom Line: This is the best-performing Lexus GS ever, offering performance with minimal ride quality compromise. Remote Touch was considered over-complicated by some.

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests