New Car Test Drive Previews the 2013 Lexus GS 350

Lexus has always been about exceeding expectations. Two decades ago, the LS 400 proved a Japanese company could craft a world-beating luxury car--and now the 2013 GS 350 is poised to take its place in the company's inspired history. That's good news for Lexus fans, because the stakes have never been higher.

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.

2013-Lexus-GS-350---Rear-Angle-685x513.jpgUnder 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.

2013 Lexus GS 350 Interior (3).jpgThe interior of the upcoming 2013 GS 350 reflects a shift in Lexus thinking from passenger-oriented design to a driver-centric focus with a lowered steering wheel and more supportive seat design for enhanced comfort. The GS will be chock-full of techno-goodies, including standard Bluetooth and audio streaming capabilities, in addition to a text-to-speech function that reads text messages to drivers and allows them to respond with pre-programmed responses. An upgraded, 835-watt, 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system will be available, along with a huge split-view, 12.3-inch high-definition display. Rear cargo space is respectable for the segment at 18.7 cubic feet.

The 2013 Lexus GS will be available this fall, with all variants expected to be in dealerships by early 2012.

--By Laura Burstein

James Kelly (Wed, 08 Feb 2012 09:43:17 -0800): I test drove this car already. FANTASTIC! I so want one! My salesman helped me very much. Thank you Moses Arden!
Stanley Harley (Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:43:46 -0800): bought mine on the 4th of feb. will receive it on thursday the 16th. can not wait.
Toya Johnson (Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:52:44 -0800): Oh please
Jc Fennell (Sat, 11 Feb 2012 21:55:30 -0800): Nice re-design as well as the power.
Equan Harley (Sat, 11 Feb 2012 23:29:20 -0800): We gotta race! Lol
Stanley Harley (Sun, 12 Feb 2012 17:50:24 -0800): Equan Harley name the time and place cuzzo.
Renwick Jiles (Tue, 14 Feb 2012 09:52:56 -0800): Placed my order today Black on black.
Kyle Anthony Kardash (Sat, 18 Feb 2012 20:08:36 -0800): Love this car! it drives like a champ!
Hai Ho (Sat, 17 Mar 2012 10:02:51 -0700): the best looking car ever. got to love the japanese cars.
Nguyễn Thái Linh (Sun, 13 Jan 2013 10:19:32 -0800): I so want one.