‘NEW HIGHER LEVELS OF STYLING, PERFORMANCE AND LUXURY’
I just finished testing the all-new 2013 Lexus GS 350 and have to say that it is a giant leap forward for the model with its redesigned chassis, wider and stronger stance, a more spacious interior that is richly endowed with world-class features and premium details. The new advanced performance enhancing technology makes it more than just a luxury car. The all-new GS 350 is available in RWD, AWD and can be equipped with the available premium, luxury or F Sport packages for greater personalization. I tested the GS 350 with the luxury package.
The new GS 3.5 liter engine has been enhanced to provide better fuel economy and more responsive performance. The four-cam, four-valves per cylinder, all-alloy V6 engine also comes with dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence. At 306 hp, it is one of the most powerful base engines in the segment, as well as the only one with both port and direct injection. It propels the GS 350 from 0-60 mph in just 5.7 sec. and at the same time, boosts it fuel economy to EPA-estimated 19mpg/city and 28mpg/highway. Acceleration from 30-50- mph can take just 3 sec. and improved intake and exhaust sound characteristics via an intake sound generator and optimized muffler chamber complement the bolder, more energetic dynamics of the new GS 350. The RWD six-speed sequential shift automatic transmission comes with paddle shifters and sport driving functions for enhanced driving pleasure. The transmission incorporates many features adopted from the Lexus IS F high-performance sedan-including faster shifts, earlier torque converter lockup and downshift blips-to support four driving modes that can be operated by toggling the new Lexus Drive Mode selector located on the center console. In addition to Normal mode, the following settings let you customized your driving experience: ECO mod-revises throttle mapping, seat heating, and climate control settings for better fuel economy. In ECO mode, meter lighting changes to blue; SPORT S model-revises throttle mapping and transmission shifting priorities to fully exploit the capabilities of the powertrain. In SPORT S mode, meter lighting changes to red; SPORT S+-is available with the F-SPORT package and Luxury Package-engages handling enhancements via a sport setting of the adaptive variable suspension, steering system, and Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM) together with the powertrain enhancements of SPORT S mode. I really felt the changing dynamics of the suspension when I pushed the Sport S and Sport S+ modes. Damping forces were increased and the steering became even more responsive to my inputs. You can now change the setting to suit how you want the GS 350 to drive when you are in a spirited mind or conventional easy going mind set.
Designing the new GS to be both strong and agile was a key focus of the engineering team. They looked to the Lexus LFA supercar for design and dynamic inspiration. The new platform is more rigid. Engineers conducted extensive testing, ultimately increasing the number of spot welds and adding laser welds in very specific locations. The track, wider by almost two inches, works in combination with a revised suspension design to help ensure a more solid stance and superior cornering performance. In the front is a double-wishbone setup with upper and lower control arms now made from aluminum and employing larger bushings. The rear subframe has been completely redesigned to accommodate an all-new multi-link rear suspension, using improved suspension geometry that helps retain tire cornering force and enhances rear control. With the stiffer platform and lighter components, the shocks can use lighter-viscosity oil, so they move easily and respond to small inputs more quickly. The use of front and rear aluminum control arms helps reduce unsprung weight and results in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision. Overall, the suspension is lighter and stronger, allowing it to react to your inputs readily, and ride quietly without harshness.
Larger and stronger fully ventilated disc brakes help you stop more quickly and safety. Up front are 13 in. discs clamped with four-piston calipers and 12.2 in. rear discs are clamped with single-piston calipers. Standard ABS, EBD, BA and VDIM (Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management) all work together to help keep your in control of your direction during severe braking on slick or wet pavement.
My test GS 350 with the Luxury Package came equipped with the larger 18X8 in. alloy wheels wrapped with 235/45R18 in. all-season radial tires for excellent grip and a smooth, quiet ride.
The GS 350 fuses distinctive style with engineering functionality. The signature spindle grille with its trapezoidal contours fully integrates into the aggressive front bumper allowing for efficient airflow. Air inlets located on the outer edges of the lower grille serve as cooling ducts. Next to these are chrome wrapped foglamps. The distinctive Lexus design also feature combined with deep-set, high-tech HID headlamps with a projector beam design and L-shaped LED daytime running lights to further express the vehicle’s dynamic character. On the side you’ll see a low front end, aero-styled heated/self-dimming sideview mirrors, steeply raked windshield A-pillars, full-perimeter chrome strip, flared fenders and deep side extensions. The rear bumper features a distinctive integrated exhaust diffuser and centered aero fins to help control underbody airflow. The LED rear lamp clusters wraparound and are joined by a thick chrome strip. A lip spoiler at the end of the trunk lid helps enhance downforce at high speeds. The total look is fresh and very contemporary.
Ah the interior, it makes driving the new GS 350 even more enjoyable that what lies under the skin. Designers created an interior that can easily transport passengers and their luggage in comfort, luxury and style regardless of distance; it is just so non-fatiguing. The entire cabin was created around the driver and the driving experience. A horizontal-themed instrument panel emphasizes the spaciousness through it wide layout. Attention to details such as changing the steering column angle from 23 to 21-degrees and redesigning the seat frame, enabled engineers to improve the driver’s position for increased comfort, better forward visibility and overall command of the road. Designers also modified the roof shape by employing techniques on the front pillars to help increase the driver’s field of vision. These changes allow the driver to concentrate more on driving while reducing stress and fatigue. Equal attention has been paid to maximizing space for rear passengers. The new GS 350 has more headroom, knee-room, legroom and foot space than the current generation GS. Front and rear door openings have also been revised for easier entry and exit. Trunk space has been increased by almost 25% and can easily accommodate four golf bags, and trunk access is improved with a 61/2 in. wider opening.
Standard equipment includes a new energy-saving auto climate control system called S-Flow that uses the occupant-detection system to focus airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seated, a first-in-class technology. A next-generation Remote Touch with one-push confirmation is standard on all models and enables smooth, intuitive operations control. The Remote Touch allows you to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, optional navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with a controller conveniently located within easy reach on the center console. Remote Touch also reduces eye movement and helps you operate functions with reduced effort and distraction. A standard rear backup camera helps add security and convenience. I felt it easier to use than other luxury car systems.
The finely crafted cabin detail is complemented further by ambient lighting that unobtrusively welcomes and guides you into the vehicle, providing a carefully designed experience. New white LED lights are sequentially lit to illuminate the areas around the doors, center console and footwells. You and your front passenger will enjoy the clean appearance of the new high-resolution central control display. A new analog clock with LED indicators, carved from a single ingot of aluminum for a smooth consistent look, adds a unique luxury touch, at once both modern and traditional. Cabin materials include three types of wood specially chosen to highlight the unique flavors of the model variations. Meticulous detailed contrast stitching is used as a visual accent on the instrument panel, door trim, center console, shift knob and steering wheel to create a rich, tailored interior space.
Next-generation Lexus multimedia brings a host of standard entertainment and connectivity advancements including enhanced Bluetooth capability with automatic phonebook download and streaming audio. GS 350 owners will enjoy DVD audio and video compatibility, MP3 sound enhancement, 5.1 simulated surround-sound from normal two channel sources such as MP3 files and CDs, and a high-resolution 8 in. central control display centrally located high up in the instrument panel. An SMS text-to-speech feature allows you to be read text messages and send preset responses with a compatible smart phone. HD radio with i-Tunes tagging and Sirius satellite radio are standard. The Gracenote Media management system creates dynamic music playlists and a voice recognition solution recognizes nicknames for music artists and even some mispronunciations.
The optional Lexus Luxury package also features the above plus rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats and power rear sunshade, Adaptive Variable Suspension, Adaptive Front HID Lighting System, unique high gloss espresso wood ornamentation, semi-aniline leather, 18-way power front and driver’s seats with articulated back, side bolster and thigh support control, four-way lumbar, butterfly headrests, driver/passenger seat memory, rear HVAC and audio controls, rear manual side sunshades and a delightful to hold wood and leather wrapped power tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
By adding the optional navigation system, GS 350 owners can enjoy an industry-first 12.3 in. split-screen, high-resolution multi-media display. The split-screen ultra-large display enhances visibility through the use of advanced, high-definition graphics that are easy to read and easy to use. The 12.3 in. screen is large enough to support simultaneous, split-screen viewing of a large map display plus audio, climate or other vehicle information. With the optional navigation system you will also be able to have access to the next-generation Lexus Enform Application Suite, the system that leverages the customers’ mobile phone technology to provide a new level of connectivity and information management. Users can conduct local searches through Bing, or utilize voice-enabled apps to make restaurant reservations through OpenTable, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com or tap into internet radio, including Pandora or iHeartRadio. You can also check into Facebook, and search for various business reviews including restaurants on Yelp. Sirius XM data services offer information on stocks, traffic, weather, sports and fuel prices. Enform is supported on iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
To make the ride even more pleasurable is the ultimate in music performance. My test GS 350 came equipped with the optional 17-speaker Mark Levinson world-class surround-sound system. The system provides 7.1 channel surround-sound through 10 channels using a new class D Digital amplifier with a clean 835-watts from 20-20,000 hz at only 0.01% total harmonic distortion. Lexus-first Green Edge speakers are lighter, more energy-efficient and have less distortion. This system really increase you pleasure driving the all-new GS 350 with the windows closed and your favorite music coming from the speakers.
Standard features not mentioned above include auto-dimming rearview mirror/outside mirrors, electric sunroof, dual zone climate control with smog sensor and air filter, map pockets behind each front seatback, power windows all express up/down, power door locks, Homelink universal transceiver, carpeted floor mats, rear pull-down dual cupholders, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, grab handles above each door,
Standard safety features include dual front airbags, side impact front airbags, front/rear side curtain airbags, 5-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, front manual height-adjustable anchors, whiplash injury lessening front seats, safety connect automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist button (SOS), tire pressure monitoring system, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door.
The all-new 2013 Lexus GS 350 is a ‘tour‘d force’ for a midsize luxury sport sedan. It is so much fun to drive, aggressively and luxury styling on the outside, multi-personality dynamic performance capabilities, super comfortable and sumptuous cabin with the latest in connectivity and safety features. Lexus goes high-performance with higher levels of luxury in a mid-size sedan.
COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ