2013 Lexus GS 350 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Capable handling with refined ride quality
  • high-quality interior
  • cutting-edge safety and entertainment technology.
  • Conservative transmission tuning, even in sport modes
  • finicky electronics interface.
List Price Range
$17,995 - $22,282

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Sharper handling, new features and added interior room make the redesigned 2013 Lexus GS 350 a top contender among midsize luxury sport sedans.

Vehicle overview

For all the wonderful things Lexus cars are, "athletic" is not an adjective that usually enters a discussion of the brand. Traditionally, the automaker has produced cars that trade sharp reflexes for more predictable comfort (the IS F sport sedan and LFA supercar excepted). Lexus has reshaped that perception with the 2013 GS 350. Slightly wider and taller, much stiffer and with vastly improved steering feel, the GS 350 can finally lay claim to ground once owned solely by German sport-lux sedans.

The new GS 350 is not unlike its third-generation predecessor under its distinctly more aggressive-looking skin. Length and wheelbase remain the same, but the chassis is pulled out wider by about 2 inches. It also shares the same basic suspension setup, with an improved rear design that now allows about 25 percent more trunk space. The engine is the same 3.5-liter V6 as before, but with slightly improved power and fuel efficiency.

That's where the similarities end. Revised suspension geometry, a stiffer body structure and a quicker steering system help make the GS 350 the best-handling Lexus this side of the LFA. Inside, interior designers imposed a diet on the door panels, roof, trunk and carpet, shaving pounds to make room for new features like the touchpad-operated infotainment system, and sport seats with multiple adjustments. Longtime Lexus buyers needn't worry about quality, either, as the GS maintains the brand's reputation for high-quality materials and excellent build quality.

The end result is that the 2013 Lexus GS 350 is more equipped than ever to run with the Audi A6, BMW 535i and Infiniti M37. If you're shopping for a midsize luxury sport sedan, the latest GS is worth serious consideration.

2013 Lexus GS 350 models

The 2013 Lexus GS 350 is a midsize luxury sport sedan offered in a single, well-appointed trim level. The related GS 450h hybrid is reviewed separately.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglights, a sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and 10-way power front seats with driver memory. Standard electronics features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch control display with touchpad interface and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio and a USB/iPod interface.

The Luxury package adds 18-inch wheels, adaptive headlamps, adaptive suspension dampers, upgraded leather, an 18-way power driver seat, a wood-trimmed steering wheel and rear climate and audio controls. The Premium package builds on those features with heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers and a power rear sunshade. A Cold Weather package includes a heated steering wheel, headlamp washers and a wiper de-icer.

The F Sport package offers the most performance bite, adding 19-inch wheels, special steering and suspension tuning, larger front brakes, a rear spoiler, a 16-way power sport driver seat and unique interior and exterior styling treatments.

Stand-alone options include 18-inch wheels, blind-spot detection, a head-up display, heated rear seats, parking assist, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, dynamic rear steering, a night vision camera, adaptive cruise control (with a pre-collision mitigation system), a premium Mark Levinson 17-speaker surround-sound audio system, and a hard-drive navigation system with a 12.3-inch display, voice recognition, real-time traffic and Lexus Enform smartphone-connected apps and services.

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2013 Highlights

The Lexus GS 350 is redesigned for 2013.

Performance & mpg

The 2013 Lexus GS 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine making 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with manual shift paddle control is the only available transmission, but buyers can opt for a GS 350 with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

In Edmunds testing, a rear-drive GS 350 with the F Sport package accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a swift 5.8 seconds. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 combined, while the all-wheel-drive version rates a bit less at 19/26/21.


Standard safety features on the 2013 Lexus GS 350 include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side-impact airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and a rearview camera. Safety Connect, a traditional telematics service with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and emergency assistance button, is also standard.

Adding the optional adaptive cruise control includes a pre-collision system that detects impending collisions and responds by pre-tensioning the seatbelts and activating brake assist.

In Edmunds brake testing, a GS 350 with the F Sport package stopped from 60 in a short 112 feet.


The 2013 Lexus GS 350 delivers punchy V6 power with traditional Lexus ride comfort. But the new GS dispenses with the soft, undulating motions of its predecessor when driven hard. Instead, improved steering and suspension design make the new GS feel alert, planted to the road and ready to change direction on a whim -- characteristics amplified when equipped with the F Sport package and optional features like variable steering ratio and rear wheel steering. Enthusiasts will also appreciate the extra leash afforded by the non-intrusive stability control system.

Our only major gripe is with the automatic transmission's shift points. Even set in manual shift mode, the gearbox releases revs too early, upshifting at 6,400 rpm -- rather annoying when you want power to leap out from a nice, quick corner.


Complementing its physical and dynamic makeover, the 2013 Lexus GS 350 also gets a revised cabin. In the best Lexus tradition, it's a finely crafted interior marked by soft leather and rich wood and aluminum trim. Befitting this caliber of luxury sport sedan are seats that are firm and cosseting in equal measure, and limited only by the degree of power adjustments you choose.

The cabin also offers more space, with slightly more head- and shoulder room. Rear seat passengers will appreciate, however, nearly 3 more inches of hip room compared to the previous model. Trunk space is no longer an issue either, with the revised rear suspension design allowing 14.3 cubic feet for golf clubs and luggage.

The Remote Touch multimedia controller -- a small mouselike device adjacent to the gear selector -- is now in its second generation. It works quite well and helps navigate the menus and apps of the extensive infotainment system, displayed on the standard high-resolution 8-inch screen or the impressively large 12-inch display that comes with the optional navigation system. The optional Mark Levinson sound system sounds fantastic.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2013 Lexus GS 350.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2013 GS 350 F Sport - Most fun to drive!
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
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.
Picked GS 350 over A6 - tough by perfect choice!
4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
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.
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
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!
F-Sport is the best 5-Series competitor ever...
4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
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.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2013 Lexus GS 350
More About This Model

One run through our slalom course was all it took to feel just how different the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport is from the previous three generations of GS. "Damn!" was how our incredibly eloquent test-driver put it.

An early prototype drive had given us an indication of the GS 350's improvements. But we didn't have any performance data to back it up. Now we do.

It Runs the Numbers, Good Ones
A few runs later and the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport had done nothing less than tie the smaller and more singularly focused 2011 Lexus IS F with a speed of 69.7 mph through the slalom. That's 4.5-mph quicker than the last GS 350 we tested in 2008. The new car also generated 0.88g on the skid pad.

Bear in mind that the F Sport package is a step more aggressive than the standard GS 350. It adds quicker steering, adjustable shocks, stiffer springs, thicker antiroll bars, staggered-width Bridgestone Potenza summer tires, optional rear-wheel steering and larger 14-inch front brakes. It's the serious sport package the GS has been in need of for years.

On slalom times alone, mission accomplished, as the Germans have nothing on the GS F Sport's ability to change directions. Then again, there's more to a proper luxury sport sedan than slalom times.

Old Engine, New Sounds
The GS 350's engine remains a 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing and both port and direct injection. Output is up, but only slightly to 306 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 277 pound-feet at 4,800. Minor efficiency enhancements bring fuel mileage up to a projected EPA rating of 19 city/28 highway/23 mpg combined (that's a 2 mpg highway improvement and 1 mpg in the combined).

More importantly, this engine now has some character thanks to a sound generator mounted on the air intake between the air cleaner and the throttle body assembly. Yes, it's contrived, but it's better than nothing. The GS remains perfectly silent on the highway at cruising speed, but get hard on the throttle from 3,500 rpm on up and there's a pleasingly enthusiastic growl.

Not surprisingly, the 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport puts up similar acceleration numbers to the 2008 GS 350 we last tested. Zero to 60 comes in 5.8 seconds (5.6 seconds with a 1-foot rollout as on a drag strip) and it does the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds at 99.9 mph. That keeps it on par with the 2011 BMW 535i (zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds) but a good bit slower than the supercharged 2012 Audi A6 Quattro at 5.2 seconds.

The GS 350's six-speed automatic has been updated for quicker shifts and an earlier torque converter lockup. Plus, all GS 350s now come standard with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, which give nice throttle blips on downshifts. Unfortunately this system shifts for itself at 6,400 rpm even in Manual mode, made annoyingly obvious during an autocross when the GS would upshift to 3rd right before you were about to brake for a chicane.

The Essence of F Sport
The suspension is the same basic setup as the outgoing third-gen GS — double wishbones up front, multilink at the rear — but new designs. The front sees an increased use of aluminum and the rear gets a redesigned toe link that also serves to increase luggage capacity (a GS sticking point) to 14.3 cubic feet.

The F Sport package includes a stiffer version of Lexus' Adaptive Variable Suspension as well as electric-assist Variable Gear Ratio Steering. Our test car also featured the optional Dynamic Rear Steering system.

Toggle the Lexus Drive Mode selector between Normal and Sport (there's also an Eco mode which we didn't bother with) and the F Sport offers a comfortable, although certainly not plush, ride. Turn the controller knob to Sport Plus and two things happen: First, an outline of the GS shows up on the display screen, with the shocks, steering wheel and engine highlighted, indicating sportier settings. Second, the GS 350 F Sport comes alive.

The electric-assist steering becomes performance-car-quick and the GS F Sport goes exactly where you point it. There's some degree of body roll for a forgiving nature, but the F Sport is exceptionally planted, no doubt the active rear steering (which turns the rear tires up to 2 degrees in the opposite direction of the fronts below 50 mph, the same direction as the fronts above that) is playing a part here.

Nothing fazed the brakes either. We measured a 60-0-mph stop of 112 feet and it came on the last of seven tests. The pedal travel is short with a nice, firm feel, but the front end exhibits a little more dive than we'd prefer.

Hard Body
Although the GS's overall length and wheelbase remain unchanged at 190.7 and 112.2 inches, respectively, the new car is 2 inches wider and 1.2 inches taller, together increasing interior room and widening the track. The all-new sheet metal serves as "the new face of Lexus," but the body is also 14 percent stiffer thanks to additional reinforcements and an increased number of spot welds.

While Lexus asked the chassis guys to make the new GS stiffer, the interior designers were told to scrape out as much weight as possible, especially since weight would be added back in with more luxury features. The engineers lightened the interior door trim by 21 percent, the headliner by 14 percent, trunk trim by 20 percent, trunk lining by 28 percent and the carpet by 3 percent. The end result: 3,832 pounds as-tested, just 39 pounds heavier than the GS 350 from 2008.

The interior itself is an all-new design. Most materials are of a higher quality than before, with yards of soft leather and real brushed aluminum. We especially appreciate the supremely padded leather on the edge of the center console at the exact point where the driver's right knee rests, although we're not big fans of the BMW-like turn signal stalk.

The F Sport's front seats feature 16-way adjustability, including power-operated side bolsters and thigh support. Although Lexus lowered the driver seat and steering wheel slightly, the seat still feels just a tad too high even at its lowest setting. The 12.3-inch display screen for the optional navigation system is brilliant and there's a new version of Lexus' computer-mouse-like Remote Touch controller that feels more natural than before.

The F Word
The 2013 Lexus GS 350 will be available in rear- and all-wheel-drive models when it goes on sale in February, with the new GS 450h following in the spring. The V8 GS 460 has been dropped altogether.

Prices haven't been set, but the GS 350 will likely come in under $48,000. Which means the GS will undercut the Audi A6 3.0T Quattro ($49,900), BMW 535i ($52,250) and Mercedes-Benz E350 ($50,490). Getting the full goodness of the F Sport package will probably run you another $4,000, and tack on about a grand more if you want rear steering.

The 2013 Lexus GS 350, F Sport in particular, is an impressive redesign. It's a Lexus that driving enthusiasts can get excited about. More than just promises, it's actually fun to drive. And unlike the IS F, the GS 350 F Sport's adjustable suspension won't punish you for the performance it brings. It can do smooth and quiet, or serious and sporty: your choice.

Which makes us wonder: What about a GS F? Despite our best efforts to wrangle a commitment out of a Lexus official at the press launch, they still wouldn't admit one is coming. No one denied it, though, either. And if the GS 350 F Sport is this capable with a V6, just think what kind of a performance sedan a true GS F would be with a stonker of a supercharged V8 under the hood. It could be good. Very good.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Used 2013 Lexus GS 350 Overview

The Used 2013 Lexus GS 350 is offered in the following submodels: GS 350 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). The Used 2013 Lexus GS 350 comes with rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2013 Lexus GS 350 comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Lexus GS 350?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Lexus GS 350 trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Lexus GS 350 Base is priced between $17,995 and$22,282 with odometer readings between 74301 and107809 miles.

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Which used 2013 Lexus GS 350s are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Lexus GS 350?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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