This is an exciting time in the age of the automobile. Fuel economy, technology and horsepower have worked out their differences, and are finally living in ubiquitous harmony.
After years of playing second fiddle to Germany’s well-established competition, Lexus has emerged with the 2013 GS 350, which is not only a leader, but a killer.
There’s a sense of dexterity when tossing the 2013 GS350 F SPORT AWD around a curve. Grace, agility, and poise are translated via the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and Electronic Power Steering (EPS) systems’ motions. The feeling is more E39 (2000-2003) BMW M5, providing an unmistakable connection that can be felt right at your fingertips.
The handling is so stable, in fact, that even the least experienced driver can feel totally in control at all times. The car begs you to drive it at 9/10, 90% of the time, just to see how hard you can push.
Revving the familiar 2GR-FSE all-aluminum V6 summons a cacophony of induction noise and exhaust growl. 306 HP and 277 lb.-ft of torque are produced courtesy of an 11.8:1 compression ratio and a direct and port fuel injection system.
Routing the 2GR-FSE’s power to the ground is a six-speed A760H automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The 1-2 shift, which calls upon 3.520/2.043 gear ratios, respectively, is far too wide. The engine builds gobs of power by its 6,600 RPM redline in first gear, but falls flat on its face when shifted to second. Even in sport mode, the ratios do not shorten enough for our liking.
When it comes to braking, the F-SPORT’s massive 13.1” front/12.2” rear disc brakes and high friction pads bring the 3,980-lb car to a halt with excellent authority.
The F-SPORT model’s exterior is sharply chiseled and masculine, save for the front end, which looks a bit too contrived. The curves pay off in a 0.26Cd coefficient of drag, and a remarkably quiet highway ride.
Inside, the GS350 pays homage to its German competition by way of excellent build and materials quality. The stereo’s volume and tuning knobs, for example, are reminiscent of those from an all-metal, mid-1970s stereo receiver, possessing a heavy and substantial feel.
Rumor has it that Lexus was about to pull the plug on the GS model range. We are glad they didn’t, as our $58,997 as-tested GS 350 F-SPORT AWD has immaculately adopted modern technology while maintaining the truest essences of a sports car.
Daniel Buxbaum has had a life-long passion for all things automotive. Dan’s passion for automotive journalism recently secured him a position as customer service director and contributing writer for Parts & People, a multi-region automotive trade publication. Dan also writes for Examiner.com, maintains his own blog (straightlineconcepts.wordpress.com), and is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP).