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.
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.