New Car Test Drive Previews the 2013 Lexus GS 350
The latest incarnation of Lexus's GS 350 sedan was unveiled against the drizzly backdrop of Pebble Beach ahead of the 2011 Concours d'Elegance. Styling cues are reminiscent of the LFA supercar and include a redesigned front fascia with an hourglass-shaped spindle grille, flanked by twin angular chrome strips.
LED daytime running lights that run horizontally beneath the headlamps create a distinct nighttime silhouette. The new signature design will carry over into future Lexus vehicles. At a rare U.S. appearance, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the upcoming Lexus GS is one of nine new or updated Lexus models to hit the market over the course of the next year.
Under the hood, the 2013 Lexus GS 350 keeps the same 3.5-liter V6 engine but with a slight power increase to 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The same 6-speed automatic transmission also remains. Lexus claims the new GS 350 will pull off a 0-60 mph time of around 5.7 seconds and have an electronically limited top speed of 142 mph. Tough luck for fans of the V8 engine, though, as Lexus is killing that option.
The GS 350 will remain available in both rear-wheel- and four-wheel-drive variants.The 2013 GS will offer three driving modes, including an ECO mode for fuel savings, and a Sport S mode that shifts at higher revs, tightens steering and suspension, and eases up on traction control.
Later, a hybrid version of the GS is expected to follow, we're guessing with the powertrain found in the current GS450h. A high-performance F-Sport version of the GS is also expected, with
19-inch wheels, bigger brakes, sportier tires, and adaptive suspension.
The 2013 Lexus GS will be available this fall, with all variants expected to be in dealerships by early 2012.
--By Laura Burstein