A longtime member of the Lexus family, the GS blends the convenience of a midsize four-door sedan with sporty handling. As a result, the Japanese-brand luxury car builder has a worthy competitor to the BMW 5 Series and Cadillac CTS. After its 2013 redesign, the GS had the looks to compete with the higher-class models from German and American brands in its segment. Four versions are available: GS 350, GS 450h hybrid, new GS 200t turbo, and super-performance GS F. The addition of an optional F Sport package makes the GS 350 even more enjoyable.
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2016 Lexus GS 350 Overview
What's New for 2016
Some substantial changes have occurred for the 2016 model year, led by mildly increased power for the V6 engine. Front fascias have been revised, and rocker panels are new, while bi-LED headlights and running lights have been added. Machine-finished, five-spoke 18-inch wheels are new.
Navigation now is standard on the GS 350. Multimedia features have been enhanced, including an available 12.3-inch screen. A revised Remote Touch Interface should make it easier to control primary functions, and Siri Eyes Free integration can provide Apple users with turn-by-turn directions. A new Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 body color is offered exclusively on F Sport models. New Lexus Safety System Plus includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert is standard.
Choosing Your Lexus GS 350
Lexus has a refreshingly simple selection process for its GS 350, with no traditional trim levels to choose from. Instead, there’s a single trim level plus available option packages.
Under the hood of each GS 350, a 3.5-liter V6 produces 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque (up from 306 hp and 277 pound-feet). The sedan comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but an all-wheel-drive system is available. Rear-drive models use an eight-speed automatic transmission, while AWD sedans get a six-speed unit. Paddle shifters are included.
Acceleration to 60 mph takes 5.6 seconds, according to Lexus.
In rear-wheel drive guise, the GS 350 starts out at $50,940 (including destination charge); its all-wheel drive variant starts at $51,410. Yes, all-wheel drive adds just $470 to the price.
In standard form, the GS 350 comes well-equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-LED headlights and running lights, wood interior trim, leather seat upholstery and interior trim, 10-way power front seats, Bluetooth, pushbutton start, Siri Eyes Free, and a 12-speaker audio system. A sunroof and rearview camera also are standard.
Options for the GS include a head-up display, Intuitive Parking Assist, a power trunk lid, and a Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system with 15 Green Edge speakers and 835-watt output.
In addition to standalone options, the GS 350 is available with four optional packages:
Even in base form, starting at $50,940, the GS 350 is amply luxurious, and priced well below a BMW 535i. Opting for the Luxury Package still keeps the total under the base 535i's MSRP, while providing all the goodies that most discerning buyers seem to desire. Going to F Sport might enhance handling, but it doesn’t affect performance.
2016 Lexus GS 350 Review
With a bold new exterior design and refined interior, the 2016 Lexus GS 350 offers luxury and performance in a sporty four-door five-passenger midsize sedan from a premium brand with a reputation for long-term reliability and quality.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2016 Lexus GS 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine. Rear-wheel drive variants receive an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive models make gear changes with a six-speed automatic transmission. An enthusiast-oriented F Sport model adds aggressive styling touches inside and out, nineteen-inch wheels, and enhances the GS 350’s stock suspension, braking and steering depending on trim level.
Base pricing ranges from $50,000 for the GS 350 to $55,860 for the GS 350 AWD F Sport.
Standard features include:
- Eighteen-inch alloy wheels
- 12.3-inch touchscreen navigation
- Twelve-speaker audio
- Wireless Bluetooth and USB Connectivity
- Leather seating
- Ten-way power adjustable front seats
- Blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert
The Lexus GS 350 is equipped with a 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The GS 350 AWD (all-wheel drive) receives a six-speed automatic transmission.
- Acceleration is excellent, especially considering the luxurious nature of the GS 350 and the fuel efficiency. Zero to sixty takes 5.7 to 5.8 seconds depending on the trim level.
- The base 2016 GS 350 is a comfortable highway cruiser and exhibits excellent driving dynamics. When equipped with the optional all-wheel drive system, the GS 350 uses an advanced system that directs up to seventy-percent of the V6’s power to the rear wheels for enhanced agility when sport handling is required, and a perfect fifty-fifty split to help the GS 350 stay planted and compliant in poor weather conditions.
- F Sport models up the ante by adding a sport-tuned suspension. Rear-wheel drive vehicles gain staggered wheels and an available Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) system with Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS).
Fuel economy ranges from 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway in the rear-wheel drive model to 19/27 mpg with all-wheel drive.
- The GS 350 uses a normally aspirated engine, which means that it does not have a turbo- or supercharger, but still requires premium fuel.
- While acceleration is adequate, driving enthusiasts will likely favor the larger engine Lexus GS F.
Lexus is known for attractive, high-quality, long-wearing interiors and the spacious GS 350 does not disappoint. The driver-centric cabin provides excellent access to the GS 350’s controls and features. The leather seating is highly-adjustable and quite comfortable. Rear seat passengers will find the legroom more than adequate and even spacious.
- While use of the rear bench's middle seat may be somewhat limited depending on the size of the occupant, the GS 350 is truly a five-passenger vehicle.
- New for 2016, the GS 350 is equipped with a standard 12.3-inch touchscreen navigation system. The Lexus infotainment system is easy to use and provides real button redundancy for most features. The base 12-speaker 5.1 surround audio system provides loud, crystal clear audio and features USB and wireless Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity.
- The trunk's 16.3 cubic feet of cargo space provide plenty of room for extended family vacations. As a matter of fact, it is hard to imagine that the GS 350 wasn’t designed especially for road trips.
While the GS 350’s abundant technology is excellent once you’ve spent some time with the vehicle, the learning curve can be a bit overwhelming at first.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Adults with not-so-great backs will appreciate the comfort and support provided by the GS 350’s seats. I’m not ready to admit I’m old yet, but I am willing to say that I appreciate a seat that doesn’t punish me for extended drives.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
While I really love the GS F Sport's suspension when I'm looking to carve up some back roads on a lazy weekend afternoon, its ride can be overly harsh in normal day-to-day driving, somewhat diluting the dual-nature appeal of the sportier variant.
The Bottom Line
The 2016 Lexus GS 350 is an impressive luxury sedan that offers excellent performance and driving dynamics while still returning excellent fuel economy. Owners who appreciate excellent road manners but still want a vehicle that can be compliantly pushed around corners will find a great deal to like about the 2016 GS 350, especially if they opt for the F Sport package. With plenty of room for average-size families, the 2016 GS 350 warrants a trip to the Lexus dealer for anyone shopping for a car in this segment.