PRO’s: Great brakes, superb interior, handling and a media center that is one of the best in the business.
CON’s: High price, could use a bit more grunt.
FINAL THOUGHT: A fantastic automobile that proves Lexus is committed to building one of the best premium sports sedans money can buy.
If you were to open my garage you’d end up with two old muscle cars, a new pony car and a 20-year old station wagon that I use as a daily driver. None of these machines contain leather interiors, sunroofs, air conditioned seats or navigation, as they were all bought (and built) to serve a specific purpose. I tell you this because all my vehicles are bare bones and no frills, which is somewhat similar to how I live my life.
Well that may soon have to change. You see last week Lexus dropped off a 2013 GS350 F Sport and truth be told, I REALLY like this car. It’s got more electronics than I’d ever want to deal with, an interior that took a bunch of dead cows to create and features that personally, are a little extravagant for my taste. So why is it then that I want one?
The 2013 GS350 F Sport is Lexus’s answer to the BMW 5-Series. It’s got loads of interior room both front and rear, sport suspension, good power and thanks to things like air conditioned seats, power everything and a Mark Levinson 17-speaker stereo (that kicks ASS), it will make any driver feel as though they’re driving in the lap of sport-tuned luxury.
If you haven’t guessed, I’m not a luxury car type of guy. I like cars with big honkin’ V8′s that belch tire smoke and C02, not foofy high-brow luxo-barges. However this GS350 F Sport seems to have found the perfect balance between the two.
*Covered it looks great…
The F Sport is powered by a 3.5 liter V6 that makes 306 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Not huge numbers by today’s standards. However it’s the way the engineers have mapped out the power delivery that makes this car so good. Push the go-pedal to the floor and you’ll run to 60 mph in a tick under six seconds.
*Uncovered it looks like my lower intestine.
Keep the pedal down and 100 mph will come soon thereafter. This car comes alive between 60-100 mph and will cruise happily all day long at those speeds. The power is progressive all the way through the rev-range and will deliver you a big old smile as long as you keep your foot in it.
Power is put down by way of a 6-speed automatic transmission that, when the mood strikes, can be shifted manually through steering wheel mounted paddles. Shifts while using the paddles are crisp and concise but it would’ve been nice if Lexus had incorporated a rev-matching feature for high rpm downshifts.
Handling on the GS350 F Sport is also great and comes in three flavors. Normal, Sport and Sport + all of which can be had by a quick tune of the dial that sits on the center console. “Normal”, as you may have surmised is the softest setting and quells out all road imperfections while still delivering a sporty ride. “Sport” firms up the transmissions shift points under power, and Sport + stiffens up the suspension and steering. Active rear wheel steering also comes as part of the F Sport package and is one of the other reasons this car handles so well.
Braking is another high point as the car features 14-inch, two-piece front rotors with four-piston calipers. Never once while pushing the car through repeated hard stops did I get any fade through the pedal. In fact the brakes on the F Sport are some of the best I’ve tested in quite some time.
Climb inside and the GS350 greets you with not only a wonderful interior, but with more bells and whistles than most people can handle. The drivers seat for instance is 16-way power adjustable, with integrated A/C and heat and covered in beautifully stitched leather. They’re also comfortable as hell, which if your a big guy like me, makes life a whole lot more enjoyable. Rear seat room is also ample enough and even with the drivers seat adjusted to my position, they still provided enough room to fit my large frame.
While poking around inside I also noticed that the fit, finish and materials used are all top quality and give the interior a very high-dollar feel. The upper dash meanwhile offers a heads-up display (should be standard on all cars) above the gauges and the center stack is home to one of the nicest (and most intuitive) media centers I’ve seen in any car at any price.
As mentioned, I’m not really one for electronics, but scrolling through the climate controls, media options and car settings while using the GS’s console mounted control mouse was actually quite entertaining. Most media centers on today’s cars come with somewhat clunky interfaces. However the system was very easy to use and never once did I find myself wishing it wasn’t an option. Combine that with the fact that the graphics used are better than those found in most video games and well, Lexus has a win-win on their hands.
This car was equipped with the F Sport package with additional options that added $9,805.00 to the cars already stout $46,900.00 base price, bringing our total, with destination to just under $58,000.00. That’s a big nut no doubt, but in that nut you’re getting what is one of the nicest, most well-rounded sport sedans on the market.
The problem with driving the 2013 Lexus GS350 with the F Sport package is that now I don’t think I could recommend at base GS350, as this car is just so much better in so many ways. That’s not to say the base is bad, it’s not. At days end though it’s just not this.
*Buy the GS350, but make sure it’s got this badge attached!
This car was a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. You see Lexus’s of the past were always somewhat stodgy. They were the grown-up car that was trying to stay cool by hanging out with the younger crowd and in turn, they never really fit in. This new car though, the F Sport in particular, not only fits in, but may in fact be setting the trends for cars in this segment moving forward.
Job well done Lexus.