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Old 03-22-2012, 09:49 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default 2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD is long on quiet and comfort, short on thrills







Quote:
With its unique spindle-shaped grille and sleek profile, the * * * 2013 GS 350 AWD gives Lexus a new face, but the luxury brand's soul remains the same: long on quiet and comfort, short on thrills.
That formula -- plus reliability, resale value and great service -- helped make Lexus America's best-selling luxury brand for years.

It's nothing to sneeze at, but Lexus wants more. Like many of its owners, Lexus is solid and respectable, but it longs to be seen as wild and racy.
The GS, a sedan roughly the size of an Acura RL, Audi A6, BMW 5 series, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti M and Mercedes-Benz E-class, is the repository of Lexus' daydreams of a life less ordinary. It falls short, but the car's looks, comfort and quiet remain strong attractions.

Prices for the 2013 Lexus GS 350 start at $46,900 for a rear-wheel drive model with a six-speed automatic transmission.

All-wheel drive models start at $49,450. All GS 350 models come with a 306-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission.
A hybrid called the GS 450h starts at $58,950. Its electric motor and battery boost the car's output to 338 horsepower. The GS 450h has a continually variable transmission.

Lexus used to sell a V8-powered performance model called the GS 460. It featured a 342-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission. That model no longer exists as Lexus tries to position hybrids as its most-powerful and fuel-efficient cars.

The V8 was underpowered among luxury sedans, so it's no great loss. The new GS could use the missing eight-speed to boost its performance and fuel economy, though. The Audi, BMW, Infiniti and Mercedes all have more gears than the new Lexus.

I tested an option-laden GS 350 AWD that cost $58,884. The car had heated rear seats, good voice-recognition, fine audio and navigation systems and many other features. The price put the GS 350 AWD at the high end of its competitive set.

The car's interior was exceptionally lovely. Trimmed in soft leather and dark wood, it also had plenty of useful storage bins and cubbies.

The interior is exceptionally quiet at speed. The front seat offered plenty of room, and the rear seat is acceptable. At 14.3 cubic feet, the GS' trunk is one of the biggest in its class.

The gauges are clear and legible. The 12.3-inch display for navigation, audio and other systems is particularly good.

A joystick-type device that Lexus calls Remote Touch in the center console operates many functions. I found the joystick difficult to use when the car was moving. It took my eyes off the road and required too much thought.

A touch screen or old-fashioned buttons might be preferable. It's particularly annoying that the joystick didn't have a "back" function.
Providing a single step to go back or cancel an incorrect command is a valuable function for complicated controls. The voice-recognition system doesn't recognize "cancel," an equally vexing oversight.

The GS offers four driving modes: eco, normal, sport and sport plus. They all provide acceptable performance, but the GS 350 AWD poses no challenge to the sporty Audi A6 Quattro and BMW 535xi.

The suspension absorbs bumps well for a smooth, comfortable ride.
The brakes are exceptional. The speed-sensitive steering is direct and has good on-center feel.

The GS' 3.5-liter V6 is the first engine equipped with both direct and port fuel injection. Lexus says the system improves power and fuel efficiency.
The EPA rates GS 350 AWD's fuel economy at 19 m.p.g. in the city, 26 on the highway and 21 in combined driving.

The Audi A6 Quattro 3.0T, BMW 535xi and Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic all use less fuel.

The Audi also has more horsepower and torque, while the BMW produces more torque. The Cadillac CTS4 3.6-liter gets the same combined fuel economy as the GS 350 AWD, and its engine produces more power.
The EPA estimates the CTS4 will cost less to operate because it uses regular fuel. The GS and the other competitors all burn premium.

The hybrid GS 450h is the most powerful and fuel efficient GS. The hybrid rated 29 m.p.g. in the city, 34 on the highway and 31 in combined EPA testing. It uses premium gasoline.

Behind the new-look grille, the GS 350 AWD is a luxurious, advanced and elegant sedan like the ones that built Lexus' reputation. That will be enough to please many buyers.

More Details: 2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD
All-wheel drive, five-passenger luxury sedan
Price as tested: $58,884 (excluding destination charge)
Rating: * * * (out of four stars)
Reasons to buy: Looks, voice recognition, quiet, comfortable interior
Shortcomings: Handling, fuel economy, control usability
More Details: 2013 Lexus GS 350 at a glance
Vehicle type: Rear- or all-wheel drive five-passenger luxury sedan
Power: 306-horsepower port- and direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 or 338-horsepower hybrid electric
Transmission: Six-speed automatic; continuously variable transmission in hybrid
Price range: $46,900-$58,950
Price as tested: $58,884 (excluding destination charges)


More Details: features on vehicle tested
Antilock brakes; stability control; electronic brake-force distribution; brake assist; backup camera; front and rear seat-mounted side air bags; curtain air bags; front-seat knee air bags; front seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters; whiplash-lessening front head rests; bi-xenon headlights with washers; LED daytime running lights; perforated leather trim; memory for driver's settings; power tilt and telescoping steering column; keyless entry; push-button start; power sun roof; auto-dimming mirrors; automatic air recirculation with smog sensor and air filter; LED interior lights; HD radio and DVD/CD player; 90 days' Sirius XM satellite radio; power locks and windows; voice recognition; universal garage door opener.
Options: Blind-spot monitor; heated rear seats; rain-sensing wipers; heated and ventilated front seats; power rear sun shade; 18-inch alloy wheels; adaptive variable suspension; wood and leather trimmed steering wheel; wood interior trim; semi-aniline leather trim; 18-way power front seats; memory for passenger seat; three-zone automatic climate control; manual sun side shades; heated steering wheel; navigation system; parking assist; trunk mat; cargo net.

More Details: Competitive EPA fuel economy ratings
(Automatic transmission, all-wheel drive models)

Lexus GS 350 AWD: 19 m.p.g. city/26 m.p.g. highway/21 m.p.g. combined. Premium fuel.

Acura RL: 17 m.p.g. city/24 m.p.g. highway/20 m.p.g. combined. Premium fuel.

Audi A6 3.0T Quattro: 19 m.p.g. city/28 m.p.g. highway/22 m.p.g. combined. Premium fuel.

BMW 535xi: 21 m.p.g. city/30 m.p.g. highway/24 m.p.g. combined. Premium fuel.

Cadillac CTS4: 18 m.p.g. city/27 m.p.g. highway/21 m.p.g. combined. Regular fuel.

Infiniti M37x: 17 m.p.g. city/24 m.p.g. highway/20 m.p.g. combined. Premium fuel.

Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic Limited: 19 m.p.g. city/28 m.p.g. highway/22 m.p.g. combined. Premium fuel.

More Details: 2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD
All-wheel drive five-passenger luxury sedan
Base price: $49,450
Price as tested: $58,884 (excluding destination charge)


Safety equipment: Antilock brakes; stability control; electronic brake-force distribution; brake assist; backup camera; front and rear seat-mounted side air bags; curtain air bags; front-seat knee air bags; front seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters; whiplash-lessening front head rests.

Specifications as tested
Engine: 3.5-liter port- and direct-injected DOHC variable-timing 24-valve V6
Power: 306 horsepower at 6,400 r.p.m.; 277 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 r.p.m.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy rating: 19 m.p.g. city/26 highway/21 combined. Premium gasoline.
Dimensions
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length: 190.7 inches
Width: 72.4 inches
Height: 57.9 inches
Curb weight: 3,980 pounds
Where assembled: Tahara, Japan
Comparative base prices
(Automatic transmission, all-wheel drive models, not including destination charges)


Acura RL: $47,700
Audi A6 3.0T Premium Quattro: $49,900
BMW 535xi: $54,800
Cadillac CTS4 Performance: $44,190
Infiniti M37x: $49,850
Lincoln MKS AWD with EcoBoost: $49,800
Mercedes-Benz E350 Sport 4Matic: $52,990


http://www.freep.com/article/2012031...-short-thrills
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:39 PM   #2
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lexus;dr.

Based soley on the headline, it sounds like a higher price point Subaru Legacy. Competent AWD Sedan... that doesn't know what adrenaline is.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:55 AM   #3
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Default Modern Warfare - Comparison Test











Which new-age sedan sets the next standard: the Audi A7 3.0 TFSI Quattro or Lexus GS 350 F Sport?
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:53 PM   #4
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I saw a, what I think was a 2012 gs 350, on the road yesterday, and man that front end is ugly as crap in real life. It may look a bit aggressive in pictures, but I really felt sorry for the guy that spent 50k on a car with a front end so horribly designed.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:11 PM   #5
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I'm not digging that new front grill design.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:51 PM   #6
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Rear end looks just like Sonata.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:17 PM   #7
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A7 FTW.

If GS is reported to be not thrilling, plus not good looking... A7 has it all-over the GS.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlessor1 View Post
I saw a, what I think was a 2012 gs 350, on the road yesterday, and man that front end is ugly as crap in real life. It may look a bit aggressive in pictures, but I really felt sorry for the guy that spent 50k on a car with a front end so horribly designed.


Opinions are something something..

But hey, tell Lexus they made a horribly designed car, and they'll laugh and show you the $50,000 they just got from someone who bought it. I think it looks alright.

Last edited by DansSpace; 03-26-2012 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:55 PM   #9
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I'm also having issues with what this article and it's title are trying to say..
Short on thrills? How many guys spending $50k on a mid-size luxury sedan are looking for a car that can handle like a Lotus? It traps almost 100mph in the quarter and gets to sixty in under six seconds. Doesn't sound like a slouch to me. How much more thrilling does a car in this segment need to be?
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DansSpace View Post
I'm also having issues with what this article and it's title are trying to say..
Short on thrills? How many guys spending $50k on a mid-size luxury sedan are looking for a car that can handle like a Lotus? It traps almost 100mph in the quarter and gets to sixty in under six seconds. Doesn't sound like a slouch to me. How much more thrilling does a car in this segment need to be?
Don't need to handle like a Lotus. But at least as good as the European cars. Handling might not be something Americans look for, but the rest of the world is different. They have roads that are curvy.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by 4wdwrx View Post
Don't need to handle like a Lotus. But at least as good as the European cars. Handling might not be something Americans look for, but the rest of the world is different. They have roads that are curvy.
Motortrend liked it quite a lot. I think the problem is the AWD part. Lexus typically equips a taller and softer suspension in their AWD models.

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...rt_first_test/

Audi A7 starts at $60k versus the $47k of the GS. Wouldn't the A6, which starts at $41k and a sedan instead of a 4 door coupe be a more likely competitor?

Last edited by quentinberg007; 03-26-2012 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 4wdwrx View Post
Don't need to handle like a Lotus. But at least as good as the European cars. Handling might not be something Americans look for, but the rest of the world is different. They have roads that are curvy.
I'm aware that the world consists of more than straight roads, but who's buying a Lexus for the way it handles the twistys? Saying a midsized Lexus sedan isnt thrilling to drive is kind of like complaining about how slow a prius accelerates. I just don't feel that its something most buyers are really looking for is all I'm saying.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DansSpace
I'm aware that the world consists of more than straight roads, but who's buying a Lexus for the way it handles the twistys? Saying a midsized Lexus sedan isnt thrilling to drive is kind of like complaining about how slow a prius accelerates. I just don't feel that its something most buyers are really looking for is all I'm saying.
Bingo. They're looking for a reliable, quiet car with a little pep. They won't be shipping it overseas to run the 'ring. That said, I don't see why these hypothetical buyers wouldn't be better suited in an ES instead (once it is updated to the current Camry platform).

/me does not want an ES or a GS (or a 5 series, for that matter) but can see how others might.
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