Offering a mix of performance, luxury and technology, the Lexus GS 350 is the V6-powered version of Lexus' GS line. For the GS, Lexus typically puts more of an emphasis on performance and handling than most of its other models. This is especially true of the all-new GS 350, which makes the most compelling case yet to opt for a Lexus rather than a European midsize luxury sport sedan. The previous-generation GS 350 wasn't quite as appealing, but it could still work out well as a used sedan choice.
Current Lexus GS 350
The current-generation Lexus GS 350 debuted in the 2013 model year. Compared to the car it replaced, it is slightly wider and taller, much stiffer and has vastly improved steering feel. The design is a little more dynamic inside and out, while Lexus' latest electronics features have been fitted. Its engine gets slightly more power and better fuel efficiency.
The GS 350 is a midsize luxury sedan available in a single trim level, though there is a GS 450h hybrid model reviewed separately. Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can opt for either rear-wheel drive, which comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, or all-wheel drive, which receives a six-speed transmission. Both transmissions feature manual shift control via steering-wheel-mounted paddles.
Standard features are generous and include xenon headlights, a power-closing trunk, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an iPod interface and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system. There is also a wealth of optional luxury, convenience, safety and technology features, including ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a night vision camera, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, a navigation system, a Siri-based control system for iPhone users and a Mark Levinson premium sound system.
In reviews, we've found the GS 350 to be surprisingly rewarding to drive. It dispenses with the soft, undulating motions of past Lexus sedans and instead stays planted to the road and boasts an alert feeling. This sense of athleticism is increased with the optional F Sport Performance package. In terms of just regular driving in the city and on the highway, the GS is still plenty comfortable.
Nor does the GS disappoint in terms of interior quality and construction, two areas Lexus is known for. Space is what you'd expect from this class of luxury sedan, with abundant room for four passengers and just enough for five. Technology is also a strong point. Although the number of features is par for this class, Lexus controls many of them with its Remote Touch multimedia controller, a mouselike devise adjacent to the gear selector that controls menus on a high-mounted screen. It works well, but some may find a touchscreen easier to use at first.
It total, the Lexus GS 350 is one of the more appealing midsize luxury sedans. It may not have the prestige associated with its German rivals, but for those willing to forsake that for exceptional quality, generous features and a rewarding driving experience, the GS makes a lot of sense.
Used Lexus GS 350 Models
The current-generation Lexus GS 350 debuted as a 2013 model and lacked a few of the features currently available. Most notably, the eight-speed transmission that was standard on rear-drive models in 2014 (increasing highway fuel economy by 1 mpg). Other additions included rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and the Siri Eyes Free iPhone control system.
The previous-generation Lexus GS 350 was produced from 2007 through 2011. However, this third-generation GS sedan actually debuted for 2006 as the GS 300. With the exception of their engines, the GS 350 and 300 are identical.
In 350 guise, this GS came with a.3.5-liter V6 rated for 303 hp and 274 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard, and buyers had a choice of the standard rear-wheel-drive setup or an optional all-wheel-drive system.
Notable standard equipment on the Lexus GS 350 included 17-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker sound system and memory settings for the driver and front passenger. Major options include a Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, a navigation system, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control and an adaptive suspension. Models produced for 2010 and onwards received USB/iPod connectivity and streaming Bluetooth audio as standard equipment.
With the 3.5-liter V6, this Lexus GS was pretty quick, and most drivers will find its power reserves more than adequate in any situation. Upholding Lexus' reputation for finely crafted interiors, this GS 350's cabin surrounded occupants with supple leather and rich wood and aluminum trim. Average-size adults will fit comfortably, but taller passengers may desire a bit more headroom.