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My 10 Years at CL....and a Special Full-Review: Lexus GS350 AWD

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Old 10-18-13, 09:57 AM   #1
mmarshall
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Default My 10 Years at CL....and a Special Full-Review: Lexus GS350 AWD

A Review of the 2013 Lexus GS350 AWD

http://www.lexus.com/models/GS/

IN A NUTSHELL: Nicely-done inside and out.......but not as plush-riding as earlier versions.

CLOSEST AMERICAN-MARKET COMPETITORS: Audi A6, BMW 5-series, Mercedes E-Class, Cadillac CTS, Lincoln MKS, Infiniti M37, Jaguar XF.










(GS Hybrid rear end shown)













;


OVERVIEW:

This month (specifically, October 17) marks my 10th Anniversary with CL, and over 45,000 posts...mostly in CAR CHAT, DEBATE, and CLUBHOUSE, and occasionally in other CL sub-forums. And, of course, my car-reviews, covering many different models and auto-manufacturers. So, for the occasion, simple protocol and common sense would dictate a full-review of a Lexus product, in honor of the forum.

Of course, I have reviewed most of the more recent Lexus products dating back a few years, though non-mass-produced exotic models like the LF-A were obviously out of the question. But I haven't done a GS model for a number of years now, dating back to the last one I did in 2006 when the GS300 AWD model was new (that model, BTW, was one of the rare Lexus products to have a consistantly below-average reliability record in Consumer Reports). I basically liked the last-generation GS model and the way it drove, though it sold for more that what I am usually willing to pay for a new car, and its overall build-quality materials weren't quite up to the generations before it. It did offer AWD for the first time, though, which was a plus for buyers in bad-weather areas.

The original Lexus GS300, introduced into the U.S. in 1993, was based on the Japanese-market Toyota Aristo, and gave Lexus a slightly more sport-oriented vehicle than the original LS and ES series. It featured tunnel-set electroluminescent gauges, more-rounded body styling, and slightly firmer tires/suspension than earlier Lexus models. The second-generation model, in 1997, introduced the V8 powered GS400 version....essentially borrowing the engine from the LS400 and SC400. Third-generation models, introduced in 2006, added AWD and hybrid versions.....with the hybrid model featuring high performance more than ultimate fuel economy. During the model run, the V6 was upped to the present 3.5L currently used....and the designation changed to GS350. The third-generation models also were the first to be sold in the Japanese home-market. Fourth-generation models were introduced for 2012, and included, for the first time, a higher-performance F-Sport model. The 2013 and 2014 models are essentially carryovers of the fourth-generation 2012.

Since the 2014 GS models are now on Toyota's web-site, I'll go ahead and list the basic specs for them, even though there were none in stock when I actually did the review (on a 2013 model). For 2014, three basic versions are offered in the U.S......GS350, GS350 F-Sport, and GS450H (hybrid). Base GS350 models, in either RWD or AWD versions, feature the ubiquitous Toyota/Lexus 3.5L V6 with 306 HP/277 ft-lbs. of torque. F-Sport models, (surprisingly, IMO) get the same engine, and also offer RWD or AWD. Both GS350 RWD and F-Sport RWD versions get a Sport-Shift 8-speed automatic, while the AWD models (perhaps because of spacing/hardware issues?) get a Sport-Shift 6-speed. Hybrid models get a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) and a special 3.5L V6 Atkinson-Cycle V6 and two permanent-magnet electric-drive motors....one with the gas engine, and the other one with the rear differential....though the hybrid system functions as an AWD. Lexus does not publish HP/Torque figures on this drivetrain, except for 338 total system HP. Prices, for 2014, start at $47,700 for a 350 RWD and run to $59,600 for the Hybrid.

For the review, I really didn't have a whole lot to choose from. The 2014 GS models (which will have few changes from 2013) apparantly haven't been released yet here. 2013 GS models don't seem to be in abundant stock at some of the local Lexus shops, and the 450H (hybrid) and 350 F-Sport models are especially hard to find. This, of course, is made even more difficult by the fact that Lexus, unlike most auto manufacturers, won't let its dealerships list new-car inventory on-line with their web-sites (or other new-car search sites), so you can't always search with the computer first. Even regular 350 RWD and AWD models aren't exactly a dime a dozen in the D.C. area right now, though one of the local Lexus shop in reasonable driving distance (the one where I bought my old IS300) had a few GS350 models in stock.......a silver AWD in the showroom, black AWD on the lot, and a white RWD on the lot. I went over the silver one in the showroom for the static part of the review and test-drove the black one on the lot for the actual road test. In actuality, it probably worked out best that way, since the 350 model, in both RWD and AWD trims, is likely to appeal to more people and outsell the substantially more expensive F-Sport and Hybrid models. In this area, for instance, the IS250 AWD sells extremely well, and easily outpaces all other IS models. I see IS250 AWDs almost everywhere I go locally. The black 350 AWD I test-drove had a matching black leather interior with superb Matte Dark Brown genuine Walnut trim, though a wide variety of interior colors and wood/metallic trims is something that the GS specializes in (as we'll get to later).


MODEL REVIEWED: 2013 Lexus GS350 AWD

BASE PRICE: $49,800


OPTIONS:

Blind Spot Monitor: $500

Cold Weather Package: $340

18" Wheels: $865

HDD NAV Package: $1735

Intuitive Parking Assist: $500

Premium Package: $1400

Trunk Accessory Package: $242


DESTINATION/FREIGHT: $910 (slightly more, IMO, than a car of this size and weight justifies)

LIST PRICE AS REVIEWED: $56,292


DRIVETRAIN: AWD, Longitudinally-mounted 3.5L VVT-i V6, 306 HP @ 6400 RPM, Torque 277 Ft-lbs. @ 4800 RPM, 6-speed Sport-Shift automatic transmission with shift-paddles.

EPA MILEAGE RATING: 19 City, 26 Highway, 21 Combined
(Certainly no econobox, but not bad considering the conventional drivetrain, power level, and AWD)


EXTERIOR COLOR: Obsidian (Black)

INTERIOR: Black Leather with Matte Dark Walnut wood trim.


PLUSSES:

Superb engine/powertrain refinement.

Torquey V6 handles AWD weight/drag quite well.

Buttery-smooth 6-speed transmission.

BMW-like power-steering feel.

Reasonably good handling/steering response.

Reasonably good road-noise level.

Good wind noise control.

Extra-firm, German-like brake pedal feel.

Reasonably good underhood layout by luxury-car standards.

Typically Lexus Class-A paint jobs.

Very nice exterior-color choice.

First-rate interior fit/finish.

Good interior trim/hardware materials (noticeably better than on the new ES and IS).

Classy, Infiniti-style analog dash clock.

Relatively simple and easy-to-read dash buttons/***** (by luxury-car standards).

Very comfortable front seats.

Clear, easy to read primary/secondary gauges.

Excellent stereo sound quality (but not a Mark Levinson).

Power-mirror controls no longer in hidden, flip-down box.

Very plush trim/carpeting in the trunk.


MINUSES:

With 18" wheels, slightly too firm-riding over bumps for my tastes.

Slightly more body lean than expected.

Relatively difficult rear entry/exit for tall persons because of the roofline.

Cramped rear seat legroom and headroom for tall persons unless the front seats are pulled forward.

No body-side mouldings for parking-lot paint protection.

Complex dash-screen readouts (but not the worst I've seen).

Awkward-operating (IMO) console mouse-controller.

Flimsy-feeling glove box lock despite the push-button release.

Awkward (IMO) zig-zag transmission shift lever.

Relatively hidden, hard to reach under-dash AUTO brake-release button.

Temporary spare tire instead of a real one.

Some GS versions hard to find as I write this.


EXTERIOR:

Walking up to the new GS, there is no mistaking it as part of the Lexus family. The spindle-shaped grille (the new Lexus trademark), stand-out side-mirrors, semi-frown headlights, lozenge-shaped taillights, and (except for the fastback roofline), relatively conservative sedan-styling all give it away as a Lexus product. I find the car reasonably good-looking, though I'm not much of a fan of the spindle-grilles, which, like Audi/Acura/Lincoln grilles, I think are gimmicks. But styling is objective, and I know opinions will vary on that.

The sheet metal body panels and doors don't feel, to me, quite as solid as on the previous GS, but, nevertheless, still close and seal with a precise and solid sound anyway. The paint colors offered, IMO, are very nice....a refreshing change from the usual funeral-home array of colors, and includes two nice shades of blue, a Riviera Red, and the classic Fire Agate Pearl. I'd like to see the Matador Red offered, though, which it isn't...........the Matador Red, IMO, is arguably Lexus's best paint color, and, when cleaned and detailed, will absolutely knock your socks off. (And I wind up with a black one to actually review...such is life).

The exterior hardware, though also not quite as solid-feeling as on previous GS models, also felt reasonably well-attached, and the twin side-mirrors hand-glide through their swivel/lock cycle like butter (which is separate from their power-adjusters). They also include integrated turn-signal indicators for convenience and safety. Unfortunately, the droop-rear-roofline requires some compromises...more on that later. And, as with many new cars, there are no body side mouldings to protect that nice Lexus paint-job from careless door-whackers in the parking lot. If I owned a car like this, I'd put aftermarket mouldings on myself.....as I did with my own Verano.


UNDERHOOD:

Open up the hood (which, like the doors, doesn't feel particularly solid but opens and shuts precisely), and nice gas struts hold it up for you....no fumbling with a manual prop-rod, which would have grossly out of place in a car of this class. A nice insulation pad lines the hood underneath to quiet things down.....and Boy, does it work (more on that later). The basic underhood layout is at least halfway sensible by the usual hide-everything luxury-car standards. The ubiquitous 3.5L V6, longitudinally-mounted, fits in pretty well, and there is some space down the front of the block (a little less on the two sides) to service or replace components. A big plastic engine-cover hides almost all of the top-engine components, but the battery, though back to the left almost on the firewall, is at least accessible and uncovered. The fluid reservoirs, dipsticks, and filler-caps, of course, are generally accessed easily.


INTERIOR:

The new GS's interior, overall, is a pretty nice place. The general styling theme of the dash and console more or less mimics that of the new ES, IS, and LS, but, IMO with noticeably better materials than on the ES and IS. I only had a few significant complaints with it, besides the usual video-screen complexity. I'll get those complaints out of the way now.....the awkward zig-zag transmission lever that Lexus still persists with after all these years, the droop-down rear roofline (even worse with the rear sunroof housing) that bumps the head of tall people getting in and out and restricts headroom, the relative lack of rear-seat legroom unless the front seats are pushed forward, and the (IMO) awkward-to-use mouse-control for the video screen. But just about everything else inside seems well-done. The sun-visors and headliner are a nice soft fabric that feels nice to the touch. The front seats have nice-looking and nice-feeling genuine leather, and are very comfortable to sit on. The typical Lexus white electro-luminescent gauges are easily readible, even in direct sunlight. Most of the *****/controls/buttons, except for the mouse-controller, by luxury-car standards, were relatively easy to read and use. The jeweled, analog, Infiniti-style dash clock (which Lexus seems to have adopted for a number of its new models) adds a nice touch. The stereo, though not the optional Mark Levinson unit, still had excellent sound-quality (though you could tell it wasn't a Levinson). The fit/finish was well above average....everything seemed to fit and operate smoothly except for the flimsy-feeling glove-box lock when you shut the lid. The interior trim materials/hardware were mostly above average, and the superbly-done wood-trim rivals that on some Audis. Five different interior leather colors/patterns are offered (depending on the model), three different wood patterns (including the light Matte bamboo on the Hybrid), and a brushed-Aluminum metallic for the F-Sport. All looked great, at least in the pictures (I didn't get to sample all of them in person because only a few are were in stock). But, from the pictures, I'd like to see the Matte Bamboo offered in regular GS models too, not just the Hybrid....I think the Matte Bamboo is stunning, sort of like the light Nordic-Wood used in some upscale Volvos.


CARGO COMPARTMENT/TRUNK:

In the rear, the fastback droop-down design of the roofline (which is common on many sedans today) impacts the size of the trunk-lid slightly, but not enough to complain.....there is still adequate room in the opening to get reasonable-sized boxes/packages in and out. There is also a reasonable amount of total room in the trunk itself for cargo, and the cargo area is fairly well-shaped for space-efficiency. Once open, the GS designers apparantly wanted the luggage and packages in the trunk to ride as plushly as the passengers do in the cabin. The floor is covered in a soft, plush, expensive-feeling smoke-gray carpet, with the two side-walls covered in a slightly darker gray carpet almost as plush-feeling. A matching-color cargo net helps hold the bags upright. Over on the right side wall, in a small net-compartment, lies the ubiquitous and traditional Lexus First-Aid Kit, though it's unclear from the spec-list if the kit is still standard (as in the past) or is now part of the optional Trunk Accessory Package ($242). Under the trunk floor is (what else?) a temporary spare tire instead of a real one......on a 50K+ car.


ON THE ROAD:

Start up the 3.5L V6 with a proper (for this class) engine ignition-button. Did I say actually START it?.......this engine is one of the quietest-idling conventional gas powerplants I have ever experienced, with close to a total silence at idle. One sits there, even with the tach showing idle-RPM numbers, like a hybrid gas-engine shutdown at idle. I think that, for idle and low-RPM refinement, it equals the LS460's 4.6L V8 I've sampled. As RPMs and power builds, it remains butter-smooth and quiet, with only a small amount of exhaust-chuffle noise penetrating the cabin. The 306 HP and 277 ft-lbs. of torque (which may be somewhat underrated) easily handles even the extra weight and drag of the AWD system....Lexus quotes a 5.8 second 0-60 time even with AWD. The torque is not immediate at low RPMs, but builds quickly as the tach needle swings towards the middle of the dial, and you get a healthy push in the back. The ECO/NORMAL/SPORT S drive-mode **** (F Sport models get an additional S+ mode) maps the engine's output/throttle response, steering-feel, and, in full-sport mode, the suspension stiffness. The engine, as expected, feels strongest in Sport S. The 6-speed Sport-shift transmission, though, in the Lexus tradition, feels buttery-smooth most of the time unless you really push it (RWD models, of course, get the 8-speed automatic). The steering wheel-mounted shift paddles look and feel nice, and fall readily to hand as needed.

While still competent, outside of the superb steering, I wasn't quite as impressed, overall, with the chassis as I was with the refined, smooth powertrain. Ride comfort was generally a little stiffer than I prefer, even when not in the Sport S mode, and body roll/steering response was not quite as quick or sport-oriented as I had expected. But the engineers have done a superb job of tuning the electric power steering unit, especially in Sport/+ mode, to give a hefty feel and the older BMW-type tactileness to it. This is easily the best Lexus-designed power steering I've ever experienced, especially in Sport S mode. But, IMO, the ride/handling combinations on this version of the GS still need a little more work and finesse......look to Mercedes for a graduate-level demonstration on how to do ride/handling. Wind noise was well-controlled, but road noise, though reasonably low, was clearly not in the same league as its LS big brother. The GS, however, did seem a little more refined and quiet on the road than its ES and IS brothers, both of which I have found the latest versions of disappointing compared to their predecessors. The brake pedal was another excellent feature on the new GS. Not only did it give enough room for my big size 15 clod-hopper shoe to easily reach it from the gas pedal without getting hung-up, but its ultra-firm feel responded almost immediately without any sign of sponginess or free-play.


THE VERDICT:

While there were admittedly some features about the new GS I didn't particularly like (primarily in the suspension/tires and rear-headroom), overall, I was significantly more impressed with it than with the new ES and IS models, both of which I think suffer from too much cost-cutting, lightweight materials, and/or a loss of driving refnement. The new GS has a lot going for it. The engine starts and runs with turbine-smoothness/quietness....ditto for the transmission. The power steering feel, especially in Sport mode, is now better than on some competing BMW units, especially since BMW went to electric units that don't have that old magic-tactileness any more. The brake-pedal also rivals German sport-sedans. The general fit/finish level, especially inside, is still high, and the wood-trims used rival some Audi interiors for their impessiveness.

But, IMO, some improvements could still be made. The suspension could use at least a small dose of Mercedes engineering. The rear roofline is an insult to taller people. Taller people should be able to ride in front without restricting back-seat legroom to Munchkins. And the well-rounded array of paint/interior trim/colors should not be restricted as much to certain models as they are. And, perhaps of most concern, previous GS 300/350AWD models, unlike most lexus products, did not impress Consumer Reports with their reliability, though that does not mean that this new model will follow suit.

So......is this car worth 50K? To me, personally, as a l car buyer myself, probably not. 50-60K (or more for some versions) is more than I care to fork out for virtually any new car, even though I could afford to if I wanted. But I have to remember that I'm doing this review for CL, which includes many Lexus enthusiasts....some of which have the cash for a triple-digit purchase. For them, I'd say, if you want to fork out this much, yes, this car , in some ways, offers some real driving pleasure and a nicely-trimmed coddling interior, and competes very well against its rivals. If you can afford it, be my guest.

And, as always......Happy car-shopping.

And, yes, I've really enjoyed being at CL for ten years now. I look forward to more good years and more posts.

MM

Last edited by mmarshall; 10-18-13 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 10-18-13, 11:07 AM   #2
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excellent anniversary (congrats) review!

i think it's very fair, and recognizes where lexus excels and how the GS has stepped up the game and changed in other ways.

the awd car would be much more of a home run to me though if the wheel gap looked like the pic.

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Old 10-18-13, 11:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bitkahuna View Post
excellent anniversary (congrats) review!
Thanks.

Quote:
I think it's very fair, and recognizes where lexus excels and how the GS has stepped up the game and changed in other ways.
The new GS, to me at least, seemed noticeably better-done than the less-expensive new IS and ES, both of which I thought were somewhat of a dissapointment compared to their predecessors.

Quote:
the awd car would be much more of a home run to me though if the wheel gap looked like the pic
Consider, though, that the typical AWD car, if driven in snow/slush (which AWD, of course, is more likely to do than RWD/FWD), has to have at least some room in the wheel wells for that snow/ice and gunk to build up without unduly interfering with the rolling or turning-action of the wheels. My Outback, for example, had all kinds of room in the wells (and a special inner-lining that protected the sheet metal/paint in the wells), and I still had to stop on snowy/slushy roads occasionally to manually clear out the worst of it.
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Old 10-18-13, 11:40 AM   #5
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Congrats on 10 years Mike!!

The GS is probably my favorite Lexus. A surely well rounded vehicle. The powertrain while aged is still competitive (2014 RWDs gain 8-Speed), drive and handling are more sound too. While not as soft as the first and second gen, it's not as tense as the 3GS was. More safety, tech and more usable space from the same dimensions. Lexus nailed the GS in my book.

Yes I've noticed the lack of the patented Lexus "door thud" on a number of new vehicles including the 13GS, 14IS, 13ES, CT. More road noise, poorer insulation, lower grade materials, though assembly itself is improved over original L-Finesse models.

Is the GS worth $50-60K? To me absolutley. Is the ES worth $40-50K? not at all. Is the GS450h worth $70K? No.

Lately Ive been wanting a 550i simiply because I want a V8. With the news and sightings of the GS-F, Personally I'm holding off until it hits our showroom. Hoping to have my Lexus Masters certification by then for a master lease. Fingers crossed
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Old 10-18-13, 11:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Blueprint View Post
Congrats on 10 years Mike!
Thanks. This CAR CHAT forum is great. I really enjoy it.

Quote:
I was at the track with our F-sport Wednesday and as much as I'll never forget my experience with my GS 400 this is by far the best GS.
I would probably have reviewed an F-Sport if they were available. GS models, right now, don't seem to be in readily available stock here...and most of the 2014's haven't been released yet locally.

Quote:
FYI, the brake has an auto setting so you don't have to engage or disengage it. You put it in park and it turns on automatically and you put it in drive and it disengages automatically.
Yep...Found that out on the test-drive. Still is in a relatively awkward place, though, for the few times you actually have to find it and press it. Not as bad, though, as in the older GS models where you had to pull out a little flip-down box (that would bang your left knee) just to get to the power-mirror buttons.

Quote:
While not LS big we have had no issues with space with 4-5 adults in the car. Its clearly roomier than the previous model.
You probably didn't have to ride in back. At 6' 2" (and a baseball cap) I banged my head several times getting in and out of both sides of the rear seat and on the sunroof housing.....it was hard to avoid it. And, to get adequate rear-legroom, I had to push the front-seats up further than they would normally be for my height. I know you are even taller than I am....6' 4", right?

But, I agree, the rear legroom is not as cramped as what you find in the typical IS.

Quote:
Is it worth 50k? Our sticker was 62k and we think it is a bargain so its all relative I guess.
Yes, it is relative. Especially in the area I live in (NoVA/D.C. suburbs) 100K+ cars are relatively commonplace, especially among higher-paid professionals. I myself could afford more car than I usually drive.....but just personally prefer not to spend huge amounts on a new car.

Quote:
Personally I drive tons of cars weekly
Yes...that is why your 1SICKREVIEW/blueprint reviews are so good. It reflects your experience.

Quote:
Thanks for the review.
Anytime. More coming.....but I'm getting older now, and don't do quite as many as in the past.
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Old 10-18-13, 11:51 AM   #7
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Congrats on 10 years,Mike.
Great review.
I love my GS even with it's few flaws.It's such a great car.
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Old 10-18-13, 11:57 AM   #8
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Very cool !! Congrats on the 10 yr mark Mike. We are all very lucky to have to on the forum and we all enjoy the amazing reviews. I really appreciate the time and effort it must take to do the quality write ups you do. I did one a long time ago that wasnt that great on the Camaro SS when I had it for a week in Hawaii and that seemed to take forever. I can imagine how long it takes for you to do these
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Old 10-18-13, 12:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hoovey2411 View Post
Congrats on 10 years Mike!!
Thanks. Couldn't be with a better bunch of car-guys.

Quote:
The powertrain while aged is still competitive (2014 RWDs gain 8-Speed), drive and handling are more sound too.
I guess two extra gears don't hurt, but the 6-speed on my test car was so refined and buttery that I personally didn't see the need for the 8-speed.

Quote:
While not as soft as the first and second gen, it's not as tense as the 3GS was.
Depends on where you have the Drive-Mode selector **** set. My car also had the optional (for base GS models) 18" wheels.


Quote:
Yes I've noticed the lack of the patented Lexus "door thud" on a number of new vehicles including the 13GS, 14IS, 13ES, CT. More road noise, poorer insulation, lower grade materials, though assembly itself is improved over original L-Finesse models.
True, the doors on the new GS aren't tank-grade, but they still shut with a precise and at least semi-solid sound. Perhaps because of the GS's price, the designers seemed to have put more insulation into it than either the new ES or IS.

Quote:
Lately Ive been wanting a 550i simiply because I want a V8. With the news and sightings of the GS-F, Personally I'm holding off until it hits our showroom. Hoping to have my Lexus Masters certification by then for a master lease. Fingers crossed
Outside of some trucks, large SUVs, and high-performance sports cars, I don't see a particularly great future for V8s. For a number of reasons (lighter weight, CAFE laws, underhood spacing, better handling, lower emissions, and perhaps just cost-cutting, more and more manufacturers are turning to turbo or twin-turbo V6s instead.
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Old 10-18-13, 12:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Joeb427 View Post
Congrats on 10 years,Mike.
Great review.
I love my GS even with it's few flaws.It's such a great car.
Thanks.

Which GS model do you own? Even with only three basic models, the base350/F-sport/Hybrid models cover a fair amount of territory.
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Old 10-18-13, 12:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Thanks.

Which GS model do you own? Even with only three basic models, the base350/F-sport/Hybrid models cover a fair amount of territory.

Base 350 with Luxury/Cold Weather pkgs.
I definitely rather have the luxury items than sport.
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Old 10-18-13, 12:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Thanks. Couldn't be with a better bunch of car-guys.
Agreed

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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
I guess two extra gears don't hurt, but the 6-speed on my test car was so refined and buttery that I personally didn't see the need for the 8-speed.
In terms of fuel efficiency It should help an mpg or two, just because the 3.5 trails its competitors by a bit

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Depends on where you have the Drive-Mode selector **** set. My car also had the optional (for base GS models) 18" wheels.
Honestly I'm not sure why the Luxury package which is available with the S+ doesn't offer a Comfort setting. An older generation ES, GX, LX and LS all offer a COMFOT mode to the suspension.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
True, the doors on the new GS aren't tank-grade, but they still shut with a precise and at least semi-solid sound. Perhaps because of the GS's price, the designers seemed to have put more insulation into it than either the new ES or IS.
I personally blame the bean counters, but not just the thud, but the doors don't shut like they used to. You have to push harder. Working at the dealer I see nearly every generation of Lexus a day. Some shut much better than others.

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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Outside of some trucks, large SUVs, and high-performance sports cars, I don't see a particularly great future for V8s. For a number of reasons (lighter weight, CAFE laws, underhood spacing, better handling, lower emissions, and perhaps just cost-cutting, more and more manufacturers are turning to turbo or twin-turbo V6s instead.
Which is exactly why I want to get one now before they're gone

I've never owned a V8, though every car I've owned has always offered a V8 option, I just always got the V6 versions. My Mustang was a V6, my Explorer a V6, and my IS a V6.
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Old 10-18-13, 12:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by I8ABMR View Post
Very cool !! Congrats on the 10 yr mark Mike. We are all very lucky to have to on the forum and we all enjoy the amazing reviews. I really appreciate the time and effort it must take to do the quality write ups you do.
Thanks.

On the average, it takes about 8-9 hours of work (not counting the driving time to and from the review-site) to do and post a review. Large vans and SUVs, in general, take the most time to write up, since they have so many features on them, three or more individual rows of seating, and things to check out.


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I did one a long time ago that wasnt that great on the Camaro SS when I had it for a week in Hawaii and that seemed to take forever. I can imagine how long it takes for you to do these
When the new Camaro SS was first released here in the D.C. area here several years ago, it was a nightmare. Unlike competing Mustang GTs, they were limited-production (GM only planned 5000 for the first year), extremely hard to find review-ready samples of which were unsold or not already promised to a customer, and (as expected) simply outrageous mark-ups at the dealership. One Chevy dealership I was at, for example, wanted 62K for a 38K black-on-black SS sitting in the showroom. My first review of the new Camaro (a bright red RS sitting on the lot) was a purely static write-up...the dealership would not allow a test-drive at all, even for me. Fortunately, at the same dealership, several weeks later, I just happened to be driving by, and spied a black SS being unloaded off the transporter. It still had the shrink-wraps on. I stopped, parked, went over to look at it, and helped the PDI guys pull off the tape/wraps. It had the 6-speed manual, which were harder to find than automatics. Unbelievably (when the sales-manager checked), it was NOT pre-sold or promised to anyone else. Technically, in the state of VA, a new car has to have a safety-inspection decal on the windshield before it can be test-driven, but, because that car was unlikely to last even one day on the lot, they gave me the keys, looked the other way, told me to keep the mileage down, and allowed me at least a minimally-adequate test-drive for an on-the-road review.

Last edited by mmarshall; 10-18-13 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 10-18-13, 12:36 PM   #14
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I love my 2013 GS350 F Sport AWD... Some things like iPod integration, navigation and voice command needs improvement still. As far as comfy and sportiness, it's just as good as the Germans if not better. Is it worth the MSRP of almost $60K? Not really. But I tend to think all luxury cars are way overpriced.
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Old 10-18-13, 06:33 PM   #15
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I love my 2013 GS350 F Sport AWD...
Congratulations on your purchase.


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But I tend to think all luxury cars are way overpriced.
There are some truly outstanding low-to-moderate priced vehicles today that, IMO, are more pleasant and satisfying to drive than some so-called "luxury" vehicles. Two superb examples I recently reviewed are the 2014 Kia Sorento and the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala V6 (although top-level Sorentos can run 40K or more). The all-new Impala, for 2014, was vastly improved over the rental-grade model of 2013. IMO, it drives nicer and more pleasantly than the far more expensive Cadillac XTS (which I've also reviewed), which is done on the same platform.
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