Review: 2013 Lexus GS350 and GS450h, Part One

Posted on 02. Dec, 2011 by in Auto News

When it rains, it pours. Both Alex Dykes and I were fortunate to have a slot in the West Coast get media launch for the 2013 Lexus GS350, GS350 F-Sport and GS450h. Instead of another "Take One" and "Take Two", we decided to handle it the way OutKast would. Alex, as the OutKast bigboi are providing a robust, well-rounded album, uh, criticism, fully. Of on-road impressions and wide-angle interior shots I play the role Andre3000 (of course) And share with you The Love Below: performance-based impressions of driving four different GS variants together with the Mercedes E350 and BMW 535i, by short Las Vegas Motor Speedway road course.

Put the needle on the record and the pedal to the metal: It's time to meet the new Lexus.

The GS is the lone loser in the Lexus lineup since it was introduced. Quick history lesson: Once created ItalDesign Giugiaro design company initiative for a future Jaguar, called it the Jaguar Kensington Concept. Here it is:

Jaguar did not buy, but Toyota was, and they used the basic design for a home-market Aristo Crown in 1991. The car ended up being with all kinds of bad-assed machines available including a turbocharged inline six-cylinder and all-wheel drive, but in the North American market in 1993 as it received the rather quiet, normally aspirated, RWD Lexus GS300. The next generation was in-house styled with quasi-Benz four-eye headlamps, a (still) after that was a generic "L-Finesse" blandwagon. You have never sold worth Chanterelle, perhaps because they have never offered much of a value alternative to the German competition. Go price of one S550 and an LS460, then repeat the comparison with the E350 and GS350. Whoa, is not it?

Lexus can not change what they charged for the car. The content, the yen, the blah blah blah. So instead they have decided that the new GS will compete in traditionally German attributes. There will be more aggressively styled, contain more crazy features and better than the BMW, Benz and Audi to drive. Any mention of Infiniti is carefully avoided. They are second stage, dontcha know.

Alex discuss the styling, my opinion is that it is yet another Japanese on the long shadow of Chris Bangle, the flame-surface take ideas. With a nice tribute to the 1984 Celica Coupe Tail Let's get to the comparison with the E350 and 535i, shall we?

Start with the interior: it is significantly more closely comfortable than the Germans. Bangle is with us here in the horizontal wood and polished metal layout, but Lexus has this idea with a traditional center console, complete with married J-pattern shifter. It is harder to get in and out of than the Benz or Bimmer.

Around the short course LVMs impressed the base GS immediately. Rather than split the difference between the E350 and the 535i control efforts Lexus has chosen to go hardcore. Through the first slalom, the Lexus carries more speed than the others. Unfortunately, the engine does Split the difference, and it's closer to the poky Benz as the torquey BMW. Thanks to a stupid "engine sound generator" at the reception, you will get many are not-we-sporty growl, but the E350 delivers similar boost in a more dignified manner. The BMW? Far ahead. If the GS was a "ghost car" on our test track, in such Gran Turismo, we would see to beat the BMW to the last gate handily on power, while the Mercedes requires a small stroke before this last goal that the other is not easy.

The achievement of long, curved rear corner, the BMW is in front, but the Lexus clawed back much of the gap! How? Simple: it has more front-end grip. The Benz is proving now to be considered a trustworthy companion, delivering exactly the traction situation despite light direction. Light means not bad, you know. All three vehicles are surprisingly neutral due to their size and weight.

In addition, all reasonable brakes for this short, low-speed have (well below 90 mph tops) course, as well as the journo-hacks tirelessly corner-brake again and again over the course of the hour. The second half of our test track consists of two high speed corners and other tax target. Again shows the beauty of the BMW engine, while the GS shows his ability to choose and maintain a line in the curve. It's funny, really. A Lexus, provide a neutral balance than a BMW. What we could really use here is a combination of all the best assets. A turbo-GS, or a big-engine GS.

What we get instead is a hybrid. Of course, the logical volumes on the GS450h is useless. It handles very well, but the type of event does not let the battery charge. The result: instead of a GS with more power (338hp combined, while the standard GS 306), it is a GS with more weight. Make no mistake, but that's not a Prius. It's probably just as fast. Around the course as E350, even with a dead battery

The star of the event was the GS350 F-Sport, the 19-inch wheels and optional supplements to the mix with steered trailing axle. Rear-steer? Oh, yeah. The Japanese love to draw back, like they love 'success cats "and Toyota has developed a nice, compact electronic system. The F-Sport could be driven flat-out from the start line to the output of the slalom / gate system shuts down the first straight. In my hands, the F-Sport was very, very quickly in direction changes as you would expect. It's as easy as turning the console suspension knob to "S +" (a relationship with BMW "Sport + setting is strictly intentional) slowly indicating the F-Sport, precise steering, and allows the rear wheels simply complete the movement the pointer cones. more agility with less steering. I love it.

Riding right seat with another journo, I saw the system work very differently. This guy was looking at the wheel, which react to the trailing axle with very large movements on the back. After a moment or so lurid slide, the stability control would intervene and calm at all. My colleague hateful The trailing axle. The lesson: It's a finesse tool. Use them accordingly. Alex Dykes, by the way, was pretty fast around the course in the F-Sport and easily surpassed many of the people who are "fast" claimed to be. The key? He has a slow, controlled steering. If Lexus wanted my business, they made me the crazy mouse controller on the armrest to dial in my preferred degree of on the fly with steered trailing axle. Speed highway run? Turn it OFF. Local autocross? Set phasers to kill.

Speaking autocrossing … Lexus set up a 35-second cone layout for all of us to try the GS350 AWD model, which does not of course in the street. No competitive vehicle was available. I fast time of the day (at least until I catch my flight left), but could not bring myself to love the car at all. It was the slowest and least pleasant piggiest GS. Save the driven front axle for your grandmother or the hopelessly inept. Give me the F-Sport.

Actually not Give me the F-Sport. While it was the car of choice on LVM, on the street, I found the GS450h really came into its own, especially with his dirt cheap, Chinese-grown-and-harvested environmentally friendly bamboo trim package. Here's the problem. The F-Sport whipped the (Lexus included) BMW and Benz on the road course, no sweat. Unfortunately for Lexus, the sales race is decided in showrooms, not conical-up circuits, and when you get to the showroom, you'll probably find that it actually cheaper a neighbor-impressive German mid-sizer lease. Why choose the GS on cars that have more street cred and do everything just as well? Only the hybrid has the answer. Combined with an expected 30mpg mileage (confirmed to me for the 30.8 "h" in my street drives reported), a unique style interior, and all anti-conspicuous-consumption emotional baggage you might be able to pack into a $ 60,000 car it is simply the most satisfying model available, and it is the only Lexus that says everything anyone – other than "I just saved $ 2000 on my luxury car."

Try in a segment of 40-something practical social climbers to eke the most bling is defined possible from a limited budget Lexus playing a losing hand. If I had to keep up with one of these cars for 200,000 miles, of course I took the GS. Does anyone really do this? Rate should not. When You However feel free to buy the Lexus, with my blessing … and I never, never, ever thought I would write it, but consider the hybrid, right?