Torque comes on stronger from about 3,000 rpm, and the 3.5-liter V6 delivers solid acceleration, pushing the GS 350 to 60 mph in less than six seconds. This engine also delivers an incredible soundtrack when doing its 5.7-second zero-to-60 dance. The base GS 350's suspension is a Goldilocks of sorts, providing great stability in the corners but not sacrificing ride quality to do so.
The V6 is mated to a slick eight-speed transmission on rear-wheel-drive models, while a six-speed transmission is reserved for models equipped with all-wheel drive. There's a nice weight to the steering and a decent amount of feedback, while the brake pads offer a nice initial bite to a system that's easy to modulate. Road imperfections – from minor imperfections to large potholes – are absorbed with ease, the body isn't affected by crosswinds, and even grooved pavement doesn't affect handling.
The hybrid is also entertaining in its own way, teaming the V6 with a 147-kW electric motor and a 30-kW nickel-metal-hydride battery pack for strong acceleration and low-speed all-electric driving.
Bump up to the F Sport's adaptive suspension, and you get a noticeably stiffer ride, but you're rewarded with improved agility that feels more analog than you may expect.
That said, we'd pass on the F-Sport. Although fun enough, there are more entertaining vehicles in this class that are a better choice for enthusiast drivers. Furthermore, the standard eight-speed automatic is fine when left to its own devices, but it's a poor companion in manual mode, while the base 241-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is a step behind the competition.
Finally, the hybrid's overall experience feels more detached, while fuel economy suffers a bit with the V6 at just 20 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 combined. That drops to 19 mpg city, 26 highway, and 22 combined with all-wheel drive. Our own observed fuel economy in an AWD V6 was 21.9 miles per gallon in a mix of suburban and highway driving.