Susan Frissell

Redesigned for 2013, the Lexus GS 350 feels more like an ‘upscale’ sedan, rather than a sport sedan. Traditionally, Lexus produces what is known as the comfortable car, although the design folks of late at the automaker have  produced cars with sharper performance and lines.

Entering a little bit different territory, Lexus has reshaped past perceptions of their 2013 GS 350 . Slightly wider and taller, much stiffer and with vastly improved steering feel, the GS 350 may at long last be a real competitor to those German sport-luxury sedans. Our test vehicle in Meteor Blue Mica didn’t hurt any either.

Not very different than its third-generation predecessor, the 2013 GS 350 however, wears a little bit more aggressive skin. Length and wheelbase remain the same, but the chassis is about 2 inches wider. And while the suspension in the GS gs350-2350 is basically the same, the sedan’s new rear design allows for about 25 percent more trunk space. The engine in the GS 350 is Lexus’ same 3.5-liter V6, but with a little bit better fuel economy and slightly more power.

The 2013 GS 350 gets a revised suspension, a stiffer body structure and a quicker steering system, all helping to make the GS 350 the best-handling Lexus to date. The sedan’s interior is plush, and functional at the same time. What has been shed is replaced by new features such as touchpad-operated infotainment system, and comfortable, form-fitting sport seats.

Make no mistake, the 2013 GS 350 is a large vehicle. A great road car, the 350 GS is easy to maneuver despite its size, and has added sporty equipment making a worthy contender.

Better equipped than previous GS 350’s the 2013 model is available in one trim level: luxury. Well-appointed the GS includes such amenities as 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic Bi-xenon headlamps, moonroof, auto-dimming mirrors, leather, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with controls, 10-way power seats, foglights, keyless ignition. And of course, the latest in electronics is standard, with Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, 12-speaker surround sound audio system with CD, Satellite, HD radio and USB/iPod capability. An 8-inch display with touchpad is also standard.

Our test GS 350 came equipped with several dollars worth of options, including a $6,090 Luxury Package which includes rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats and power rear sunshade, 18-inch alloy wheels w/all-season tires, adaptive variable suspension, sport S and drive mode, wood and leather trim, 18-way power seats, Lexus passenger seat memory system, three-zone automatic climate control, rear-door manual sunshades, heated steering wheel, windshield wiper deicer, water-repellant front door, high intensity interior heater.

Our test 350 also came equipped with the HDD navigation package with 12.3-inch high-resolution split screen multimedia display and Lexus Enform w/Destination, eDestination, App Suite, SiriusXM NavWeather NavTraffic sports/stocks (1-yr. trial): $1,735. Trunk mat ($105), and Rear Lip Spoiler ($395).

One might be able to forego some of the above options, saving some dough. With a MSRP of $48,800, the GS 350 is fairly competitive. When you add all the goodies, you’re in a different ballgame.gs350

We have to admit, foregoing Lexus’ optional Mark Levinson audio system would be difficult. The sound is like few others. This writer found herself wanting to stay inside the sedan; looking for excuses to go somewhere.

Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine 306 horsepower engine, the GS has plenty of get up-and-go. Mated with Lexus’ six-speed automatic with manual shift paddle control and is the only available transmission. Consumers, though can opt for a GS 350 with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Our test vehicle was all-wheel-drive. Estimated fuel economy is somewhere around 19/28 mpg. with rear-wheel-drive. Gas mileage suffers some when opting for  AWD, and comes in at 19/26/21.

As expected, standard safety equipment is top-of-the-line and includes ABS, traction and stability control, front and rear side-impact airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and a rearview camera. Also standard is the Safety Connect system, a traditional telematics service with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and emergency assistance button.

Also included on our GS 350 was vehicle dynamics integrated management, Safety Connect (automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist button), white LED interior illumination, Lexus personalized settings.

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.

A beauty in Meteor Blue

A beauty in Meteor Blue

The GS 350 gets a little more interior space for 2013; additional head and shoulder room. Rear seat passengers get almost three more inches of hip room for 2013.compared to the previous model.The Remote Touch multimedia controller is fairly easy to use. At first, this writer had forgotten using it in other Lexus models, but then became familiar rather quickly. It features a mouselike device adjacent to the gear selector. In its second iteration, the RemoteTouch assists the driver in navigating the menus and apps of the generous infotainment system.

The 2013 Lexus GS 350 is quick off the line, with a breezy, gentle power. Ride comfort is a given in Lexus models and is no exception in the GS 350. No longer the soft ride it delivered in past models, the 2013 GS offers improved steering and suspension design making for a more engaged sedan. We haven’t driven the F Sport package equipped GS but can only imagine a much more engaged ride.

Although hard to find fault with a Lexus vehicle, it still appeals to a certain driver. However, with this new GS, there may be some converts coming over from the likes of BMW and Audi. We’ll see.



MSRP: 49,800; total vehicle price $59,020; destination $895.

Engine: 3.5-liter V6, Direct injection

Transmission: 6-speed sequential shift electronically controlled w/intelligence (ECT-I), paddle shifters, drive moldel select


Height: 57.3 in.

Length: 190.7 in.

Width: 72.4 in.

Gas tank capacity: 17.4 gal.

Wheels: 17-inch alloy spoke

Tires: 225/50R17 BSW all season

Weight: 3,795 lbs.

Warranty: 48 mths/50,000-miles Basic; 72 mths./70,000-miles powertrain; 72 mths./unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 48 mths./unlimited roadside assistance; 12 mths./10,000-miles maintenance.