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Written by David Germain   
Thursday, 25 October 2012 03:10
The new GS is the same length as before, but two inches wider at the rear and an inch wider at the front. Pricing starts at $47,775.

The 2013 Lexus GS is an effi-cient and powerful messenger. This full-size sport sedan debuted the new (styling) face of the brand and Lexus says it is attracting new buyers to the brand.

The new design is defined by the "spindle" grille and the (Audi-esque) arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lights.

It is an easy car to enjoy, mov-ing with a lithe fitness. And the Lexus luxury is contemporary and accommodating. It com-petes mainly with the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The new GS is the same length as before, but two inches wider at the rear and an inch wider at the front. It has a very low aerodynamic drag coeffi-cient of 0.26, which compares to 0.25 for the Toyota Prius.

Interior craftsmanship has been enhanced (as if Lexus was ever short on posh) and there are some new, simple and use-ful conveniences, such as a three-blink to pass signal fea-ture and guidance lines in the standard rearview mirror. I appreciated the electric parking brake, which has an auto mode to engage when shifting into Park and disengage when shift-ing into Drive. Combine that little time saver with the prox-imity key, which unlocks/locks doors with the driver's touch to the door handle and push-but-ton start, and getting underway is much streamlined.

Sightlines are good in all directions and front-seat entry and exit is gracious and com-fortable. The standard moon-roof trims front headroom to 38 inches. Back-seat legroom is good at 36.3 inches, but foot space for getting into the back is tight. Safety features include 10 air bags.

The five-seat sedan is sold in three trim levels — Luxury, F Sport and Hybrid — in rear or optional all-wheel drive with V-6 engines. There is no V-8 offered, but the Hybrid has V-8 acceleration.

Pricing for the rear-drive sedan starts at $47,775; AWD models start at $50,325. The GS 450h starts at $59,825 and has a 338-hp, Atkinson-cycle version of the 3.5-liter V-6 and is rated 29/34 mpg. Trunk space was increased over the previous model by stacking the batteries. With 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, the Hybrid's rich performance is (nearly) guilt free.

The F Sport test car was $57,322, handsomely dressed in red leather and metal-trimmed pedals. Options include night vision, head-up display, blind-spot monitor and lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning.

An astounding element in the F Sport package ($5,690) is the rear steering assist. At low speeds, it counter steers to chop the turning circle in half to 17.4 feet. At high speeds, the rear wheels turn with the front direction to tuck back into the lane. This rear steering gear is an excellent around town fea-ture that should be available as a stand-alone option.

The F-sport suspension and ride quality is quite humane. The package also includes (staggered) 19-inch rear sum-mer tires that are wider on the rear than the front and hefty 14-inch front disc brakes with four-piston calipers. The work-ing relationship between steer-ing, braking and throttle is responsive, but not competition grade.

The standard GS 350 power-train is a 306-hp, 3.5-liter, direct-injection V-6 and six-speed automatic. And the engine has an intake sound generator for that husky tone 'o power. EPA fuel economy rat-ings are 19 mpg city, 28 high-way and 23 combined. Curb weight is light at 3,795 pounds and acceleration to 60 mph takes just 5.7 seconds. The six-speed automatic may seem short a few gears compared to the competition's seven and eight speeds, but the perform-ance is harmonious.

The GS 350 also features an ECO mode that blunts throttle response and revises seat heat-ing and climate control systems to reduce draw on the engine and maximize mileage. My pre-ferred drive mode was "nor-mal." The Sport setting would be appropriate when tearing up a back road, but it seemed too agitated and sudden around town.

The styling will become rec-ognizable, just as is the face of Audi or BMW. And under the skin is an array of advanced technologies in a value-rich package.

Mark Maynard is driving in cyberspace at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Find photo galleries and more news at

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2012 06:05