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Anyone else feel like this car is heavy?

Old 11-14-18, 09:44 AM
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AsianxWu
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Default Anyone else feel like this car is heavy?

One of the main reasons of why I bought this car (over an Audi) was because others have said it handled very well (and of course reliability). When I first tested it, I wasn't too impressed. It felt heavy and there was more body roll than I expected.

Having owned it for 6 months now, I guess I've gotten used to it? It didn't feel as heavy anymore and I dealt with (or got used to) the body roll. However, it never felt nimble to me.

A few weeks ago, I got to drive the new A5 sportback, I instantly felt how well it handled and how nimble it was. Yes, the steering was a little vague, but it felt like such a lighter car and had very little body roll. When I went back to my GS, the feeling of how heavy it was was again very prevalent.

I'm not trying to bash on anything here, just my honest opinion and curiosity. What am I missing that others rave about when talking about the GS's performance?

2015 AWD F-Sport btw.
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Old 11-14-18, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by AsianxWu View Post
One of the main reasons of why I bought this car (over an Audi) was because others have said it handled very well (and of course reliability). When I first tested it, I wasn't too impressed. It felt heavy and there was more body roll than I expected.

Having owned it for 6 months now, I guess I've gotten used to it? It didn't feel as heavy anymore and I dealt with (or got used to) the body roll. However, it never felt nimble to me.

A few weeks ago, I got to drive the new A5 sportback, I instantly felt how well it handled and how nimble it was. Yes, the steering was a little vague, but it felt like such a lighter car and had very little body roll. When I went back to my GS, the feeling of how heavy it was was again very prevalent.

I'm not trying to bash on anything here, just my honest opinion and curiosity. What am I missing that others rave about when talking about the GS's performance?

2015 AWD F-Sport btw.
The A5 sportback is a 3500lb car... GS is 3900lb... 400lb is a huge difference, you can't defy physics.

Sport+ on the GS does help with some of that body roll, but the weight will always be a disadvantage. When people say that this car handles well, it's relative to similar cars in it's class - 5 series, E-class, A6, TLX, etc.
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Old 11-14-18, 10:04 AM
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The GS really isn’t a light car, but compared to other midsize luxury sedans in its segments mainly the G80, the 535i, the E350, Audi A6. 30T and Jag XF, it is lighter than those cars. The GS 350 F Sport was praised by many for the way the car felt driving through sweepers and twisty back roads. I feel like the car feels connected to the road and it doesn’t understeer as much when you push it into a turn hard. The weight balance is pretty good too.

I haven’t driven a A5 fast on back roads, but I imagine it was their Quattro AWD system that you felt pushing you through the turns. Audi uses a good set of adjustable dampers too which will help with body roll some. Honestly the A5 SB doesn’t really compete with the GS350 it’s more of a Lexus IS competition. Also A5 is 219lbs lighter than GS350 according to Car and Driver.

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Old 11-14-18, 10:05 AM
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Honestly, I haven't really felt that way. It's a pretty large car and it always feels small and light to me when I toss it around. It's still on the lighter side for its class. Check out the G80 AWD at 4600lbs.
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Old 11-14-18, 10:15 AM
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Maybe it's an AWD thing? I have a 2013 non F-Sport and my brother has a 2015 F-Sport, both are RWD. Neither car feel heavy. I haven't had the chance to drive any of the new Audis, but I can tell you that both cars handle much better than the 5-series.
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Old 11-14-18, 10:19 AM
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I think it's important to keep in mind what this car is when assessing these types of things, especially when comparing to other vehicles. It's a pretty big luxury sedan and even in F-Sport trim, it will always be a Lexus first and foremost.

One of the largest contributing factors to how light and nimble a vehicle feels (not considering actual vehicle weight) is the weight and response of the inputs (steering, brakes, accelerator). Steering in the GS, even regular models - let alone F-Sport models, is heavy to begin with. You've got to put in a bit of effort to get it to do what you want it to do. It's not as "easy" and I think this is the largest contributor to this. If you're in Normal mode, this numbs the accelerator pedal quite a bit which means you're going to have to put in more pedal force and distance to get it to start doing what you want it to do. I think the combination of these add up to a vehicle that feels slow and heavy, but again, this is a Lexus first and foremost and in Normal mode, I think this was intentional. It gives the GS some heft you typically associate with larger luxury sedans and gives it the ability to glide and cruise around town for a relaxing and luxurious ride.

I think AWD models are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to the performance side of things that most don't realize when getting into them. AWD models have an increased ride height which in turn translates to more body roll. They also lose VGRS (Variable Gear Ratio Steering) which makes a pretty big difference in steering response. As an example, in an AWD model, when you switch into Sport+, you're getting even heavier steering feel but without the increased steering response which means you're putting in even more effort for the same response which would likely increase the feelings of heft.

I'm pretty sure Eco mode uses the slowest steering ratio available combined with the lightest weight available and you can really notice a difference with what feels like standard, non-variable steering. Driving around town, in parking garages or making U-turns with the Eco settings makes it feel like a huge barge whereas the other modes make it respond and feel so much nimbler. I tend to enjoy the steering most in the regular Sport S mode. It's just a hair heavier in weight than Normal (but much lighter than Sport +) and uses a quicker ratio/response which makes the car feel much smaller to drive.

Lastly, I think the cherry on top from a handling standpoint is the rear-wheel steering option. My 2018 doesn't have it but our 2015 does and it does wonders for the way the GS drives and maneuvers about whether you're driving slowly and calmly or like your pants are on fire.

Last edited by signdetres; 11-14-18 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 11-14-18, 11:40 AM
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My '11 IS350 definitely felt more nimble than my '13 GS, but its not really a fair comparison - just like comparing the GS to the smaller A5 sportback. Maybe driving an IS350 AWD vs the A5 sportback would be the right comparison here.
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Old 11-14-18, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by AsianxWu View Post
One of the main reasons of why I bought this car (over an Audi) was because others have said it handled very well (and of course reliability). When I first tested it, I wasn't too impressed. It felt heavy and there was more body roll than I expected.
I have a 2016 GS 200T (RWD, non-F-Sport, 241 hp) and I feel the same way as you do. I have expressed this in my earlier posts in this forum.

Compared to my earlier car (2009 Maxima, FWD, CVT, 290 hp, without sport-tuned suspension), my GS sends more vibrations due to road imperfections to the driver and its steering wheel is lighter. The Maxima was around 3500 lbs while my GS is around 3800 lbs. Interior space was comparable. The Maxima felt more nimble with less body roll.

I drove a 2009 Altima (FWD, CVT, 175 hp, 4 cyl, without sport-tuned suspension) last weekend in the streets I drive almost everyday. Compared to my GS, the Altima accelerated faster with the same amount of force on the gas pedal and also braked more effectively coming to a stop at a shorter distance. Also, it sent less vibrations due to road imperfections to the driver and even its steering wheel felt heavier than my GS's. The Altima is around 3200 lbs while my GS is around 3800 lbs. However, the Altima swayed significantly more than my GS due to crosswinds in the highway.

Weight makes a big difference to handling (and mpg). Tesla did a smart thing in its model S by placing the heavy battery in a position so as to lower the center of gravity which helps in handling. So even though it weights 4600+ lbs, it handles better than the GS (3700+ lbs). Lexus should not have included a moonroof at least in the base GS which would have saved about a 100 lbs or more.

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Old 11-14-18, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bb700092 View Post
I have a 2016 GS 200T (RWD, non-F-Sport, 241 hp) and I feel the same way as you do. I have expressed this in my earlier posts in this forum.

Compared to my earlier car (2009 Maxima, FWD, CVT, 290 hp, without sport-tuned suspension), my GS sends more vibrations due to road imperfections to the driver and its steering wheel is lighter. The Maxima was around 3500 lbs while my GS is around 3800 lbs. Interior space was comparable. The Maxima felt more nimble with less body roll.

I drove a 2009 Altima (FWD, CVT, 175 hp, 4 cyl, without sport-tuned suspension) last weekend in the streets I drive almost everyday. Compared to my GS, the Altima accelerated faster with the same amount of force on the gas pedal and also braked more effectively coming to a stop at a shorter distance. Also, it sent less vibrations due to road imperfections to the driver and even its steering wheel felt heavier than my GS's. The Altima is around 3200 lbs while my GS is around 3800 lbs. However, the Altima swayed significantly more than my GS due to crosswinds in the highway.

Weight makes a big difference to handling (and mpg). Tesla did a smart thing in its model S by placing the heavy battery in a position so as to lower the center of gravity which helps in handling. So even though it weights 4600+ lbs, it handles better than the GS (3700+ lbs). Lexus should not have included a moonroof at least in the base GS which would have saved about a 100 lbs or more.
I cant speak Apples to Apples as I never driven a GS200t. But from experience the things you described about your GS sending more vibrations into your steering wheel I think many of us might refer to it as “communicative steering feel”.
I would imagine the Maxima would be significantly faster than the GS200t due to its power to weight ratio being better.

Im surprised you felt even the Altima pulls harder than your GS200t which is reported to accelerate to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds range while your Altima is reported by several car magazines as accelerating to 60 in around 7.4 - 7.7 secs. The Altima 2.5l, although lighter is not particularly known for being quick in a straight line. I suppose your stock suspension on your GS200t is tuned very soft for you to say it exhibited more body roll then two different stock FWD Nissan sedans.

Also the brakes may not be stock on that Altima you drove, when Car and Driver tested it new they only were able to achieve 70-0 brake test results in 189ft vs when they tested your GS200t they achieved 131ft for the same distance.

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Old 11-14-18, 01:12 PM
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I added weight to my stock 4190lb 2013 GSh, probably about 100lb in sound deadening/mlv. My car probably weighs 4290 lb.

Still gets 36mpg highway, plenty of pep for street use in Sport mode, but I drive in eco 90% of the time.
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Old 11-14-18, 01:38 PM
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Yes, that's what I thought as soon as I test drove my car a year ago. It even feels heavier compared to my '14 RX350, and the RX is about 200 lbs heavier.

My car is in the shop for repairs, and I have an Impala as a rental and damn...it feels 10 times lighter and peppier than my GS. When I press even lightly on the gas, it goes as opposed to the GS. That being said, I don't regret my purchase at all, and would do it again.
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Old 11-14-18, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ph0bolus View Post
Yes, that's what I thought as soon as I test drove my car a year ago. It even feels heavier compared to my '14 RX350, and the RX is about 200 lbs heavier.

My car is in the shop for repairs, and I have an Impala as a rental and damn...it feels 10 times lighter and peppier than my GS. When I press even lightly on the gas, it goes as opposed to the GS. That being said, I don't regret my purchase at all, and would do it again.
‘I assume you may have a GS200t or GS300 as well? Because according to several magazines test results the GS350 has always been faster in acceleration test than a Chevrolet Impala with a V6.
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Old 11-14-18, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by highrev6 View Post


‘I assume you may have a GS200t or GS300 as well? Because according to several magazines test results the GS350 has always been faster in acceleration test than a Chevrolet Impala with a V6.
No, I don't. I don't push any of the cars past 4000 RPM's, so just describing the difference in low end torque between my GS and the Impala. It's night and day between the two.
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Old 11-14-18, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ph0bolus View Post
No, I don't. I don't push any of the cars past 4000 RPM's, so just describing the difference in low end torque between my GS and the Impala. It's night and day between the two.

hmmm... that’s interesting because the 4GS 2GR-FSE produces quite a bit more torque and hp at 4000 rpm than the Chevy Impala’s LFX high feature V6 engine, maybe you had a retired press car. The two cars are also similar in weight.

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Old 11-14-18, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ph0bolus View Post
No, I don't. I don't push any of the cars past 4000 RPM's, so just describing the difference in low end torque between my GS and the Impala. It's night and day between the two.
No big deal, but I think you may be missing out on about 2800RPM's of fun out of this car. 3500 RPM is right around when this engine actually wakes up.

If you ever get a chance to try going past 4000RPM though, hold on to your dear life
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