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3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

Here you can see the 1st spy photos of the new Lexus GS, taken today by CarPix spy photographers. These pictures surprise the car while it takes some laps around a rainy Nürburgring in Germany.

Even if the car is covered with that dense, black camouflage, we can easily see, that it look alot like the Lexus LF-Gh concept car that was shown earlier this year at the New York Car Show.

The next generation Lexus GS sedan expected to launch in time for the 2013 model year. At NY Car Show, Lexux LF-Gh showcases a number of new design elements that will proliferate across the Lexus lineup in the coming years. Most important is the spindle-shaped grille that dominates the front fascia, which is flanked by full LED headlights with L-shaped LED running lights. Except some changes (particularly its character lines, roofline, and proportions) borrows heavily from Lexus’ flagship LS range.

The brand stated (before the concept has been shown in NY) that the interior will be a meticulously designed and engineered cabin using the highest quality materials. It has “re-examined every detail of the interior, with the aim of making [it] driver-focused.”

Considering that the exterior at least is very similar with LF-Gh concept car presented in New York this year, we can suppose that it will keep the same dimensions and features as the concept. The car presented in NY was 192.5 in. long and 73.6 in. wide, the LF-Gh is roughly 2.5 in. longer and about 2 in. wider than the current 2011 GS 450h hybrid sedan.

For now we do not have the official specifications, but with roughly the same dimensions, we expected this car to use an updated version of the 292-bhp 3.5-liter V-6 engine and CVT automatic transmission found in the GS 450h.

We will keep you in touch with all the information that will appear. Until then you can watch the most recent spy pics with the new Lexus GS in the gallery below.


3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
1st Drive

Lexus has a problem. Toyota's luxury brand is -- whisper it -- not cool. The bland smoothness and silence of the current LS and ES models are increasingly appealing to a generation whose idea of a great drive is the back 9 at the country club with their retired buddies. The rumbling IS F might be an intriguing AMG-meets-Ginza sport sedan, but the rest of the IS range remains resolutely regarded as a chick car. The lux-by-numbers RX, which has become the brand's leitmotif in the U.S., is now the favored ride of modestly prosperous suburban women of a certain age. (How Toyota squandered the opportunity to define the Lexus brand with the original LS, a car so stunningly well-engineered it sent Mercedes-Benz back to the drawing board, and allowed a warmed-over Toyota SUV to take its place is a whole other story.) And sales of the HS 250h have fallen well short of expectations: Lexus anticipated selling 25,000 to 30,000 a year, but last year managed to shift fewer than 11,000 of the upscale compact hybrid.

The GS? The car that arguably should be the heart of market for Lexus in the U.S. is almost invisible against the Germans that dominate the segment -- the 3496 GS models sold last year totaled one-fifth of BMW 5 Series sales, and barely one-eighth of Mercedes-Benz E-class volume. In 2008, GS sales reached nearly 16,000 units, but still lagged well behind 5-series (nearly 46,000 units) and E-class (nearly 39,000 units). Koji Sato, deputy chief engineer of the next-gen Lexus GS program, wants to change that. The new GS is roomier inside, and more aggressively styled. But the top development priority, says Sato-san, has been to make the car more fun to drive.

To that end, the 2013 GS rolls on an all-new platform, and features all-new front and rear suspension. Compared with the current GS, the new car's wheelbase and overall length are the same (112.2 inches and 190.9 inches, respectively), though the proportions have been changed slightly, thanks to an 0.4-inch reduction in the front overhang, and a corresponding 0.4-inch increase in the length of the sheetmetal aft of the rear axle center line. Height has gone up 1.2 inches and width increased by 0.8 inch. The front seats are lower to the floor than in the current GS to get the driver's H-point closer to the center of gravity.

The front and rear track have been widened by 1.6 inches and 2.0 inches respectively, pushing the wheels right to the edge of the body envelope. The new front suspension assembly is 4.4 pounds lighter than that of the current car, while the new multi-link layout at the rear eschews the old coil-over setup, and allows for adjustable toe control.

We weren't allowed to look under the black vinyl bodysuits during our drive of Sato-san's two heavily camo'd GS prototypes -- the car will make its official debut at Pebble Beach next month -- but the sheetmetal won't be a million miles removed from that of the LF-Gh shown at the New York auto show in April, right down to the controversial, in-your-face grille and front fascia treatment. The headlight assemblies feature the bright "string-of-pearls" daylight running lights that are now apparently de rigueur for any self-respecting luxury car, and the exhaust tips are an evolution of the heavily stylized outlets of the current LS.

The new interior will feature lots of stitched leather, and the new IP boasts the largest information screen in the business: 12.3 inches, almost 2 inches bigger than the latest BMW screen. All the functions are controlled via Lexus' clever haptic mouse system, and the graphics are bright and easy to ready. It's going to be relentlessly sold as a "surprise and delight" feature on the showroom floor. Another surprise: The new GS interior won't be restricted to the formulaic black, grey, and beige palettes we've come to expect from Lexus -- one of our prototypes featured handsome dark red-brown seats with contrasting stitching.

The GS will be revealed initially with just one powertrain: Toyota's tried-and-true 3.5-liter V-6, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Why only a 6-speed, when all the GS' German rivals have already moved to 7- and 8-speeders? U.S. Lexus insiders admit they pushed back on a higher-tech tranny because they believed American consumers are more prepared to swallow the cost of bright, shiny gee-gaws like a 12.3-inch nav screen instead. They're probably right. Sigh.

There will be no mainstream V-8 engine in the next GS. Instead, Lexus will offer a performance-tuned hybrid based on the 3.5-liter V-6 that will be revealed at the Frankfurt Show in September. Will there be a GS F? If Lexus is serious about this whole "fun to drive" business, you'd think a buttoned-down, high-performance GS with the thundering 416-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 from the IS F under the hood would be a no-brainer, but Lexus insiders remain cagey on the matter, merely pointing out the IS F engine is now relatively old, and that tough new fuel economy laws on the way suggest it might not have much of a future. An F Sport version of the car will be revealed at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November, however.

The good news is the new GS will offer the discerning driver a choice of suspension tunes and wheel and tire combinations. The base wheel/tire combo features 18-inch rims and 235/45 all-season tires. Adaptive variable suspension will be available as an option. Using the new rotary controller on the center console, which allows drivers to switch the engine and transmission calibrations between Eco, Normal and Sport modes, drivers will be able to select a Sport+ mode that also stiffens the suspension.

The F Sport version will come with 19-inch wheels and Bridgestone summer tires -- the 265/35 meats at the rear will be the widest tires ever fitted to a Lexus other than the LFA. The bigger wheels will also give you bigger front brake rotors and new calipers. F Sport cars will also come standard with the Lexus Dynamic Handling System (LDHS), which means variable ratio steering and the adaptive variable suspension system. LDHS can be further enhanced with the addition of an optional rear wheel steering system that uses a computer-controlled gear arrangement to automatically alter the toe setting of the rear wheels for improved response and stability through corners.

We completed a little more than 50 miles in the two GS prototypes -- one a base car on 18-inch wheels and all-season tires, but fitted with the optional adaptive variable suspension; the other an F-Sport spec car with all the goodies -- over a route that included busy freeway, fast canyon road, and a small autocross track. Bottom line? The new GS is a big step in the right direction. Even on the standard wheel-tire combo the new car feels more limber and alert than the current GS. It turns in with more authority, and there's way more bite from the front tires. The ride quality is also much improved. Even in the F Sport model on the lower profile tires and with the suspension in the firmest setting, there's much less of the gritty agitation that blights the current car at low speeds on acned urban roads. Sato-san says the new front suspension design has allowed Lexus engineers to use softer bushings to reduce impact harshness without compromising stability. You can feel it.

The F Sport-spec prototype we drove was fitted with the trick new rear wheel steering system. The bigger, stickier tires sharpen the turn-in response noticeably, and there is less tendency for the car to rotate mid-corner. In fact, the stability and traction from the rear end is so good, it tends to induce a hint of understeer as you power past the apex of a turn. Steering feel on both cars is good, as is brake feel, though the F Sport brake package is more obedient underfoot.

The 3.5-liter V-6 is a solid performer, though it gets noisy as it nears its relatively modest 6500-rpm redline, and it's more Jersey Shore catfight than mechanical Verdi. The transmission on both cars needed final calibration to smooth some lumps in the shift sequence, but in sport mode the 6-speed will hold revs into turns, and in manual mode -- paddle shifts are standard across the range -- it blips the throttle on the downshifts.

On 1st acquaintance Koji Sato and his engineers have achieved their key development goal: The 2013 Lexus GS is indeed more fun to drive than the somewhat anodyne sedan it replaces. So can a sportier GS make Lexus cool again? Not by itself. But following in the wheeltracks of the LFA and the oddly compelling CT 200h, it's a start.


2,660 Posts
definitely edgier than the current gen. still not sure how i feel about that grille.

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

We've endured the teasers, seen the leaks and even driven a prototype, and now the wraps officially come off. This is the 2013 Lexus GS 350, the automaker's latest bid to create a driver-focused mid-sizer aimed at the hearts, minds and wallets of would-be 5 Series and E-Class buyers. It might be a tough sell, but it's a compelling case on paper, even if the styling leaves us wanting.

The chassis is all-new, the interior is more spacious and it's all powered by a 3.5-liter V6 putting out 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed sequential shift automatic gearbox. In rear-wheel-drive guise, Lexus claims a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds and a run from 30 to 50 mph in three seconds flat. An optional electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system can vary the power split between 50/50 and 30/70, but a torque-vectoring rear differential is notable in its absence.

3 driving modes span the spectrum from fuel-conscious to maximum consumption, with the now-familiar ECO mode reworking the throttle mapping, seat heaters and climate controls for improved fuel economy, while Sport S changes the instrument lighting from blue to red, delivers more aggressive shifts and throttle settings and Sport S+ tightens steering, loosens the stability control and shores up the adaptive suspension.

A 112.2-inch wheelbase works in partnership with aluminum control arms front and rear, along with a completely reworked multi-link rear suspension, beefed up bushings and four-piston aluminum calipers in front and upgraded discs at all 4 corners. Rolling stock include standard 17x7.5-inch wheels with optional 18x8 or 19x8-inch, the latter of which are fitted with 235/45 or 235/40 rubber, respectively.

Lexus managed to keep the dimensions almost exactly the same as the outgoing model and overall curb weight is down from 3,795 pounds to 3,715. The interior is more driver-centric, with all the major controls kept closely at hand, including a new Remote Touch system for the adaptive climate control system – dubbed S-Flow – which can detect how many occupants are in the GS and tailor the HVAC accordingly. Wood and leather abound, the seats appear nicely bolstered and the cabin is several steps above the outgoing model.

Bluetooth phone and audio streaming come standard, along with a 5.1 surround sound stereo and 8-inch central control display mounted high in the center of the dash. SMS text-to-speech allows drivers to have their messages read to them and respond with pre-canned texts, while the next-generation of Lexus Enform infotainment allows Bing searches, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Facebook integration, along with Sirius XM data services for traffic, weather, sports and fuel prices, voice-enabled restaurant reservations through OpenTable and movie ticket purchasing.

If the standard display and audio system is up to snuff, Lexus is offering a 835-watt, 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system and a split-view, 12.3-inch display for movies, navigation, audio and climate information.

As for the styling, Lexus calls its new fascia a "spindle grille" and it's set to infect the rest of the line-up in the coming years. It's a more subtle interpretation of the GS concept's nose, and although it's certainly toned-down, it's sure to be divisive. The rear opens up to provide 25% more luggage room and we're seeing a whole lotta Sonata in the taillight treatment and sloping trunk.

We'll have live images of the GS 350 a bit later, and we plan to grille Lexus execs on the hybrid and F Sport versions when we corner them this evening. In the meantime, check out all the details in the press release and gallery below.

Lexus Reveals All-New 2013 GS 350 at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance​

• A Sport Sedan with World-Class Luxury and Evocative Design Shows New Identity of Lexus
• Outstanding Driving Dynamics and Innovative Technology Combined
• Spacious Interior With Open, Modern Architecture

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif., August 18, 2011 – Lexus today unveiled the all-new GS 350 at a press conference in conjunction with the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The new 2013 GS combines bold, dynamic styling, precise handling, innovative technology, and a spacious interior. In addition to the GS 350, other 2013 GS models that will be launched in early 2012 include hybrid and F Sport versions, with further details to be announced later this year.

"Today, buyers in the mid-size luxury segment want a more engaging driving experience, styling that makes a statement, and a roomier interior package," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "With the all-new GS, we're giving them what they asked for, and more."

Along with a new Lexus signature spindle grille, the GS is a car that conveys a tangible sense of driver confidence, with a redesigned chassis and a wide, strong stance that inspires and rewards driver participation with crisp and precise handling.

GS engineers challenged themselves to develop a more spacious interior environment. While leaving exterior dimensions virtually unchanged, they dramatically increased cabin and trunk space to create an interior that can easily transport passengers and their luggage in luxury and style regardless of distance.

Richly endowed with world-class features and premium details, the new GS is supported by advanced, performance-enhancing technology that makes it more than just a luxury car. The driver and front passenger will enjoy the clean appearance of the new high-resolution central control display.

A New Personality and An Invitation To Drive
Designing the new GS 350 to be both strong and agile was a key focus of the engineering team. They looked to the Lexus LFA supercar for inspiration and carried over some key elements to provide a more engaging driving experience, including a new aerodynamic body; a completely new platform with a wider stance and stiffer structure; a transmission with quicker shifts; distinctive engine sound and exhaust notes; and better seat support.

The new platform is more rigid compared to the current model. Engineers conducted extensive platform testing, ultimately increasing the number of spot welds and adding laser welds in very specific locations. The track, wider by almost two inches, works in combination with a revised suspension design to assure a more solid stance and superior cornering performance.

The new suspension system is designed to help guide the 2013 GS through corners with precision. In the front, upper and lower control arms are made from aluminum and employ larger bushings. The rear subframe has been completely redesigned to accommodate an all-new multi-link rear suspension, using improved suspension geometry that retains tire cornering force and enhances rear control. With the stiffer platform and lighter components, the shocks can use lighter-viscosity oil, so they move easily and respond to small inputs more quickly.

The use of front and rear aluminum control arms helps reduce unsprung weight and results in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision. Overall, the suspension is lighter and stronger, allowing it to react to driver input readily, and ride quietly without harshness. Ventilated disc brakes featuring four-piston aluminum front calipers are endowed with the latest electronic enhancements to help provide braking balance and control.

Customized Driving Experience
The new GS is powered by an advanced 3.5-liter V6, four cams, and four valves per cylinder with dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i). At 306 horsepower, it is one of the most powerful base engines in the segment, as well as the only one with both port and direct injection. It propels the GS from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and at the same time, fuel economy has been improved.

Acceleration from 30 to 50 mph can take just 3.0 seconds, and improved engine sound characteristics complement the bolder, more energetic personality of the new GS. The 6-speed sequential shift automatic transmission has paddle shifters and sport driving functions as standard equipment.

The transmission incorporates many features adopted from the Lexus IS F high-performance sedan - including faster shifts, earlier torque converter lockup and downshift throttle blips - to support four driving modes that can be operated by toggling the new Lexus Drive Mode selector. In addition to the Normal mode, the following settings let the driver customize the driving experience:

• ECO mode revises throttle mapping, seat heating, and climate control systems for better fuel economy. In ECO mode, meter lighting changes to blue.
• SPORT S mode revises throttle mapping and transmission shifting priorities to fully exploit the capabilities of the powertrain. In SPORT S mode, meter lighting changes to red.
• SPORT S+ mode (available on some models) engages handling enhancements via a sport setting of the adaptive variable suspension, steering system, and vehicle stability control (VSC) together with the powertrain enhancements of SPORT S mode.

An optional electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system is designed to enhance traction in a variety of driving conditions. The system can vary front-to-rear torque balance from 50/50 to as much as 30/70, depending on driving conditions, for exceptional control.

Innovative Lexus Design
The 2013 GS expresses a new generation of Lexus' design philosophy with its precisely
sculpted exterior and will lead the rest of the lineup in an entirely new direction. When designers shaped the GS they visualized the flow of air around it and, like the LFA supercar, maximized aerodynamic efficiency for class-leading coefficient of drag.

The GS fuses distinctive style with engineering functionality. Fins incorporated into the side of the tail lamps and the design of the trunk area all help direct air over and past the car. The rear bumper underbody area was designed for reduced wind resistance to help keep the car firmly planted on the ground. Finally, air inlets located on the outer edges of the lower grille serve as cooling ducts.

The signature spindle grille with its trapezoidal contours evolved from current Lexus styling and fully integrates into the aggressive front bumper allowing for efficient airflow. This distinctive Lexus design feature combined with the deep-set, high-tech headlamps and L-shaped LED daytime running lamps further express the vehicle's confident and dynamic character. The headlamps use a projector beam design, adding a strong, chiseled appearance and excellent illumination.

From the side, the GS projects the image of a spacious sport sedan with a road-hugging wider stance. The tapered lower rocker panel and the short front overhang give the vehicle a sense of motion. Width-enhancing front and rear wheel arches adds an athletic stance enhancing the vehicle's dynamic presence.

The rear bumper features a distinctive exhaust diffuser and centered aero fins to help control underbody airflow. Combined with the L-shaped LED tail lamps, a Lexus design cue, these rear bumper features lend a high-performance appearance. Overall, the new GS sheet metal represents a significant extension of the Lexus L-finesse philosophy that is the core of all Lexus product design.

The GS 350 will feature three colors that are new to the Lexus color palette: Riviera Red, Meteor Blue Metallic and Liquid Platinum. Vehicles in Riviera Red will benefit from glass flakes incorporated into the coating that adds a high level of brilliance to the paint. Lexus engineers developed a new advanced coating process for Liquid Platinum exteriors. The GS 350 will be the first Lexus to adopt this new coating technology. Vehicles with the Liquid Platinum exterior will appear more radiant as an additional metallic texture gives both strong shading and defined, sharp highlights. This metallic effect makes subtle and defined bodylines more noticeable and the surface appear finely polished.

Spacious Interior with Premium Upgrades
The GS provides more overall space for all occupants. With these changes, the new GS offers comfortable space for front and rear passengers.

Upgraded accommodations start with the driver. The entire cabin was created around the driver and the driving experience. A horizontal-themed instrument panel emphasizes the spaciousness through its wide layout. A redesigned seat frame and changes to steering column architecture enable an improved driver seating position for increased comfort, better forward visibility and overall command of the road. Equal attention has been paid to maximizing space for rear passengers, adding headroom, legroom, knee room and improved foot space compared to the current generation GS.

Door openings have also been revised for easier ingress and egress. Trunk space has been increased by almost 25%, and trunk access is improved with a wider, deeper opening.

Painstaking attention to detail was applied to the GS cabin as well to create a balance of luxurious and technological amenities and emotional design. The new layout of the long, sculpted dash gives the driver and front passenger a sense of roominess through its clean center stack and new, large high-resolution center control display placed deep near the front windshield. Most of the comfort and convenience controls such as audio and climate were relocated to provide a cleaner and more sophisticated dash layout.

The interior includes a number of embedded premium upgrades as standard equipment. A new energy-saving auto climate control system called S-Flow uses the occupant-detection system to focus airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seated, a first-in-class technology. A next-generation Remote Touch with one-push confirmation is standard on all models and enables smooth, intuitive operations control.

The Remote Touch allows the user to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, optional navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with the controller, eliminating the need to reach out. Remote touch also reduces eye movement and helps users operate functions with reduced effort and distraction. A standard rear back-up camera helps add security and convenience.

The finely crafted cabin detail is complemented further by ambient lighting that unobtrusively welcomes and guides the user into the vehicle, providing a carefully designed experience. New white LED lights are sequentially lit to illuminate the areas around the doors, center console and footwells. A new analog clock with LED indicators, carved from an ingot, adds a unique touch, at once both modern and traditional.

Cabin materials include three types of wood specially chosen to highlight the unique flavors of the model variations. Meticulously detailed contrast stitching is used as a visual accent on the instrument panel, door trim, center console, shift knob and steering wheel to create a rich, tailored interior space.

Seamless Connectivity
Next-generation Lexus multimedia brings a host of standard entertainment and connectivity enhancements, including enhanced Bluetooth® capability with automatic phonebook download and streaming audio.

GS buyers will get DVD audio and video compatibility, MP3 sound enhancement, 5.1 Surround Sound, and a high-resolution 8-inch central control display centrally located high up in the instrument panel. An SMS text-to-speech feature allows the driver to be read text messages and send preset responses with a compatible smart phone. HD RadioTM with iTunes tagging and a 3-month trial subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio are standard. The Gracenote Media management system creates dynamic music playlists and a voice recognition solution recognizes nicknames for music artists and even some mispronunciations.

By adding the optional navigation system, GS owners can get an industry-first 12.3-inch, split-screen, high-resolution multi-media display. The split-screen ultra-large display enhances visibility through the use of advanced, high-definition graphics that are easy to read and easy to use. The 12.3-inch screen is large enough to support simultaneous, split-screen viewing of a large map display, plus audio, climate or other vehicle information.

GS buyers will also have access to next-generation Lexus Enform®, the system that leverages mobile phone technology to provide a new level of connectivity and information management. Local searches can be conducted through Bing, or use voice-enabled apps to make restaurant reservations through OpenTable, get movie tickets via or tap into internet radio, including Pandora® or iHeartRadio.

They will also appreciate the ability to check-in on Facebook, and search for restaurant reviews on Yelp. SiriusXM data services offer information on stocks, traffic, weather, sports and fuel prices. The system is updatable and upgradeable through over-the-air downloads, so new apps and content can be readily added.

For audiophiles who insist on the ultimate in audio performance, an 835-watt, 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system is available. The system provides 7.1 Surround Sound through 10 channels using a new class D Digital amplifier and luxury-first Green EdgeTM speakers that are lighter, more energy-efficient and have less distortion. The new system produces almost three times as many watts per channel over the previous generation.

Integrated Safety Systems
In addition to enhanced braking systems and an impact-absorbing body structure, the new GS offers significant advances in both passive and active safety systems as standard equipment.

There are a class-leading 10 airbags in the new GS, including a knee airbag for both front driver and passenger. Rear seat occupants have seat-mounted side airbags, and all four outboard occupants are equipped with side curtain airbags.

New Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seats increases the likelihood that occupants will be in optimum position at the moment of impact, enhancing the protective effect of the seatbelt system. Standard seatbelts with pretensioners with force limiters used for front and outboard rear seats further assist occupant protection.

Available options to help further enhance occupant safety include a pre-collision system, which uses the dynamic radar cruise control system to provide early warning of upcoming objects that might result in a collision. The system also uses a 1st-in-class infrared camera to monitor the driver's eyes to check on driver status. In the event that the driver does not appear to be looking forward when a collision appears imminent, the system will initiate the warning at an earlier threshold. If the driver still does not respond and make the appropriate maneuver, the system will initiate braking intervention up to two seconds prior to impact, helping to lessen the severity of the collision.

Other available safety systems include a Night Vision System that enhances driver visibility at night; Heads Up Display (HUD); a Blind Spot Monitor that helps detect vehicles in rear/side blind spots; and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). GS is the 1st in its segment to offer LKA with active steering torque to provide a small amount to assist in maintaining course, while the LDW feature alerts the driver if the system detects that the vehicle is beginning to drift out of the lane.

"The new GS 350 combines luxury, outstanding driving dynamics and world-class technology features in a new and bold design," said Templin. "We expect this car to occupy a key position both at the core of the Lexus brand and at the heart of the mid-luxury sedan segment."


3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #7

A Last Chance for the Lexus GS

The wheelbase and overall length of the 2013 GS are the same as the 2011 GS 350, but the car is taller, the front track is 1.6 inches wider and the rear track is 2 inches wider.

LOS ANGELES -- Brilliance comes from desperation.

Since the mid-'90s, Lexus has tried to create a sport sedan with the cachet of the Mercedes E class and the performance of the BMW 5 series. In 3 generations, it has accomplished neither.

Past Lexus GS efforts have done so poorly in sales and critical comparison tests that Toyota's board was ready to kill the upcoming generation of the car before launch.

This is the last chance for the GS. It is also, by far, the best effort.

The basics: Previous GS attempts were plagued with numb steering, floppy handling and choppy brakes. Yes, they were fast, but not much else. Add in bland exterior styling and vanilla interiors, and it's no wonder the car fared poorly against the Germans.

The new GS 350 has a much tighter feel dynamically, though the electric power steering is still a touch vague. Through an autocross comparison test, the GS seemed more connected to the driver than the Mercedes E350, though it still couldn't touch the accuracy and response of a BMW 535i.

As for the GS 350's looks, the aggressive "spindle grille" fascia will be polarizing, but at least it has some personality. The interior layout is more horizontal than is typical of most center stacks. An analog clock makes a return.

The wheelbase and overall length are the same as the 2011 GS 350, but the car is taller, the front track is 1.6 inches wider and the rear track is 2 inches wider. The base sedan is rear-wheel drive, and there is an all-wheel-drive edition. This platform also will be the underpinning for the next-generation IS sedans that will come late next year.

For those who miss the thunder of a V-8 engine, the V-6 comes with an intake baffle that delivers a bit more rumble to the cockpit. Not that the engine lacks grunt: The GS 350 goes from 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds.

The double-wishbone front suspension has new geometry and a greater use of aluminum. The changed rear suspension design has moved the spring from a coil-over shock to a more inboard location, which helps with trunk space. An adaptive variable suspension is optional, allowing for stiffer suspension settings. An optional 4-wheel steering system uses variable gear ratios to help the GS through tough corners.

Notable features: The GS 450h hybrid generates thrust equivalent to a V-8 engine and gets a real-world 31 mpg. The hybrid's engine has changed from an Otto to an Atkinson cycle for better fuel efficiency, while the electric motor makes up for the Atkinson's flat spot in the torque curve.

Manufacturing advancements include both laser and spot welds in crucial areas such as wheel arches and suspension-mounting points. For certain structural pieces, Lexus developed a type of ultrahigh-strength steel that can only be formed when it is glowing hot.

Weight reduction was a key objective, whether it was the thickness of radiator hoses or the clamps that hold them. Still, all the added technology means the car is heavier.

A new generation of Lexus seats debuts with the 2013 GS, including an optional seat that adjusts to articulate through the entire curvature of the spine. Another neat touch: The cross-section of the steering wheel changes its radius, making rapid rotations of the wheel easier.

Standard features include moonroof, 17-inch wheels, paddle shifters, LED interior running lights, bi-xenon headlamps, 10-way power seats, rear air conditioning vents and Bluetooth connectivity.

The 10 airbags include front knee airbags and rear-occupant torso bags mounted into the seats, in addition to window curtains. When the navigation option is chosen, the 12.3-inch information screen is wider than that of an iPad.

A new generation of Lexus seats debuts with this vehicle, including an optional seat that adjusts to articulate through the entire curvature of the spine. Another neat touch: The cross-section of the steering wheel changes its radius, making rapid rotations of the wheel easier. And, finally, there is a Japanese car that has lane-change turn indicators that blink three times when the signal stalk is lightly toggled.

The GS also comes in F-Sport trim, which is a factory-built performance pack that includes 19-inch wheels, larger brakes, stiffer suspension, variable gear ratio steering and bolder design cues.

What Lexus says: "The GS plays a much more important role for Lexus," Mark Templin, Lexus Division general manager, said at the press introduction here. "It's a bolder, more confident direction for the brand. There is no going back."

Compromises and shortcomings: There's no V-8 version; Lexus says the take rate was low, and more people were willing to pay a premium for a hybrid. Also, while other luxury brands are going to 7- and 8-speed automatics, the GS sticks with a 6-speed -- although the shift timing has been improved.

The market: The GS 350 goes on sale in February; the hybrid shortly thereafter. Lexus hopes to sell 20,000-25,000 units annually. The current generation peaked at 15,759 units in 2008, although the GS series sold 33,457 units in 2005. The Lexus brand has a 40% conquest rate for sales, due to its high owner loyalty, but it wants the GS to conquest at a 60% rate. Lexus will kick off the GS marketing with a Super Bowl commercial, the 1st time the brand has been involved in the game.

The skinny: Lexus bosses persuaded Toyota President Akio Toyoda not to kill the GS. But can Lexus convince Americans that the GS is better than the E class or 5 series? That may be a tougher pitch.


3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Gs 250

When the 2013 Lexus GS goes on sale in the United States in early 2012, it will be available in 2 trim-levels including the GS 350 and the GS 450h. However, in other parts of the world Lexus will offer the GS 250, which is making its debut this week at the Guang Zhou Motor Show in China.

The Lexus GS 250 is powered by a 2.5 liter V6 dual VVT-i engine making 206-hp at 6,400 rpm with a maximum torque of 186 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm. Mated to a 6-speed ECT-i automatic transmission with sequential manual shift function and selectable drive modes That allows 0 to 62 mph to come in 8.6 seconds with a top speed of 142 mph. Combined fuel-economy comes in at 31.7mpg and CO2 emissions are 207g/km on the UK cycle.

Lexus has no plans to offer the GS 250 in the United States but the model will go on sale in China and the UK alongside the GS 450h Hybrid in June 2012.

Further details, including price, will be announced nearer the time of launch.

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #9

So Lexus wants to be taken seriously now. Certainly the brand is a heavyweight – and has been since the moment it launched 22 years ago, changing the luxury market almost overnight. It's just had trouble garnering the respect of the cognoscenti, the car enthusiast types, the sorts of people who can see a pair of taillights flash by and identify year, make and model.

Lexus representatives are not shy about the issue, in part because it's hard to ignore years of critics calling your cars bland and soulless, while smirking, self-avowed "car guys" trade their BMW sedans in on new BMW sedans, even as they grumble about electronic nannies, iDrive and Chris Bangle.

That's why Lexus built the LFA supercar, say the company's flacks, who seem unnaturally willing to admit that previous models were lacking a certain something, having settled upon the word "emotion" as the politically correct way to describe what was wrong with this last generation of Lexus products. But the real reason behind such refreshing, if specious hindsight, is that the Lexus braintrust thinks it has the solution to winning over its detractors in the 2013 Lexus GS 350.

The redesigned midsize luxury sedan goes on sale in February 2012, so Lexus saw fit to invite us out to Orange County, California, to spend a few hours behind the wheel. But first it wanted to emphasize just how important the GS is to the brand, as it will be introducing the new face of Lexus to the world – in a Super Bowl spot, no less.

Yes, that pinched, hollow stare you see from the so-called "spindle grille" of the GS is, indeed, it. Serious? Yes. Aggressive? Check. Mean? Pretty much.

If the Lexus GS doesn't look like the sort of car that slows down to let you merge, that's because the self-important drivers of the competition's products probably wouldn't either. While the Lexus folks might blush at putting such a fine point on it, they describe their prototypical customer as someone who wants it all, without compromises. In other words, not the sort of guy you'd want to work for, but exactly the kind you might choose to perform surgery – or represent you in court if you want to sue the doctor afterwards.

Even if we're not sold on the new grille, the rest of its lines are smooth and elegant.

But before we get too caught up in the idea that Lexus is embracing an edgier look, let's be honest: It's not like they've gone Juggalo here. Indeed, the GS now wears a sharp and scowling face, but there's little about the rest of the GS's styling that's shocking or screams for attention. In fact, while tooling around the OC, we were ruthlessly ignored, just one more in a seemingly endless succession of midsize luxury cars.

Even if we're not sold on the new grille, the rest of its lines are smooth and elegant. You can see plenty of traces of the old GS in the new one, especially in the greenhouse and the curved forward edge of the C-pillar, which carries over since the original. But Lexus has lengthened the rear deck a bit, while sloping its sides down to meet the character line that extends forward from the front fender along the side of the car. This, combined with a 2-inch increase in width, makes the new GS look lower to the ground and better visually balanced than the old model, despite being over an inch taller. The rear fascia of the GS looks more like its baby brother now, and the family resemblance will only increase once the IS acquires its own spindle grille. In total, the GS is an attractive car, and similar enough to the BMW 5 Series that nobody will mistake it for a Toyota Avalon.

Inside the GS, it becomes even clearer that Lexus has been studying the Bavarians. The instrument panel – hell, the whole interior – not only resembles the 5 Series, it feels like it when you're behind the wheel. Except it's better. Everything in the Lexus is pretty much in the same place as in the BMW, from the LCD screen that dominates the center of the dashboard, to the HVAC vents and controls, to the Lexus Remote Touch Interface right where BMW's iDrive knob would be. Even the GS steering wheel seems like a Bimmer knock-off. But the cowl height in the GS is low, which allows for a seating position high enough that the driver doesn't feel buried in the cockpit and visibility is excellent as a result. We also like that the instrument panel lacks all the strange contours of the 5er.

The materials in the GS are much improved, with lots of stitched leather upholstery and new mood lighting. That said, some of the metal-look plastic in the GS is, indeed, plastic – likely a price that engineers felt was worth paying to achieve an overall 10% reduction in the weight of the interior trim. You won't notice any skimping elsewhere, however, as the car is as quiet and comfortable as you'd expect of a Lexus. Optional 16- or 18-way adjustable seats seem like overkill, until you climb out of them and sit in the standard 10-way seats. Yes, we really have become that spoiled. We expect an on-board chiropractor next.

Lexus says the new GS tips the scales at exactly the same 3,795 pounds as the outgoing model, and while the length and wheelbase of the GS have not changed, the new model does have a 1.6-inch wider front track and a 2-inch increase in the rear. Lexus claims the torsional rigidity of the GS has been improved by 14% thanks to the use of high strength steel and new welding processes. We'll take all this – and a redesigned multilink rear suspension that enables 4-wheel-steering – as a down payment on further evaluation.

During our day with the GS we were mostly stuck puttering around So. Cal., without much opportunity to test the dynamics. To complicate matters, Lexus will be selling four different trim levels that carry some radically different equipment, not to mention an all-wheel-drive option and the GS450h hybrid. We're going to write up the hybrid separately, as it's truly a different car altogether – although we could almost say that about the F Sport model.

Positioned as the halo of the range, the F Sport carries quite a bit of equipment not offered on the other models, including 19-inch wheels, 14-inch front brake rotors, a firmer suspension with a special calibration for its adaptive system and a variable gear ratio steering system. It's also the only way you can put your hands on the optional Lexus Dynamic Handling System, which is how you get the rear steering actuator, capable of turning the wheels up to 2 degrees to improve turn in and handling.

The base GS, Premium and Luxury trims are more similar than they are different, with the Luxury package getting the adaptive part of the F Sport's trick suspension, but not the rest. A whole host of safety equipment is available, including a collision mitigation system with an infrared camera mounted behind the steering wheel to scan the driver's eyes. Lexus has also seen fit to introduce a head-up display that's functionally identical to the system General Motors has been using for years in such vehicles as the Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac CTS. The company's Enform telematics system is also offered alongside an optional navigation system with a massive 12.3-inch screen.

Certainly, Lexus has loaded up the GS with a whole bag of new tricks, but its core is largely carryover. The optional V8 engine is gone – nobody bought them, apparently. So the 3.5-liter V6 remains, improved to make it a bit more powerful. It's now rated at 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, an increase of just 3 horses and 3 lb-ft. However, Lexus estimates a fuel economy improvement of 2 miles per gallon on the highway and one combined when compared to the 2011 GS. The new car's 0-60 mile-per-hour time remains at 5.7 seconds. The 2013 GS uses the same 6-speed, sequential-shift automatic, but with paddle shifters in addition to a standard shift lever. Shifting with the paddles is fast and satisfying, and we like that they are small and well positioned unobtrusively behind the wheel.

Complementing the paddle shifters is a new 3- or 4-position Drive Mode, selected by a knob that sits below the shifter on the center console. This allows the driver to select either Eco or Sport S mode, in addition to the default normal mode. Eco mode attempts to save fuel by decreasing throttle response, while Sport mode does pretty much the opposite. The 4th setting, Sport S+, is tied to the adaptive suspension system that's standard on the Luxury and F Sport models, and optional on other trim levels.

Driving even the base car in normal mode feels more engaging than past Lexus models, with good road feel and feedback through the steering wheel. We'll mention that Lexus seemed to have all the cars on hand equipped with at least 18-inch wheels, despite spec-ing undersized 17-inchers as standard. The brakes slow the car with authority and the pedal feels nice and firm. Throttle response is great, and the sound under full-bore acceleration is sonorous. A new Helmholtz resonator in the engine compartment and a revamped muffler produce some pretty nice music, and it is refreshing to see Lexus embrace the idea that its cars can be quiet and loud at the same time – just as long as the noises are the right ones. Really, Lexus has hit on all the right notes (ahem) with its redesign of the GS.

Introducing a new design direction for the brand on the GS is pretty gutsy on the surface, because if there's 1 market segment where the pursuit of perfection has caught nothing but scorn, it would be this 1. In 2009 and 2010, the GS was the worst selling sedan in the Lexus lineup, with sales of just over 7,000 per year. By comparison, the 1-size-smaller IS sells about 5 times that number. Yet Lexus thinks it can move about 24,000 units of the new GS each annum, gung-ho on wooing buyers from other luxury marques. Lexus officials are claiming they expect about half of GS sales to come from the competition, which to hear them tell it means Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Trebling sales would seem to require a historic European emigration, even if the segment grows some 5 to 7% next year, as Lexus predicts. The good news is that there are plenty of customers out there: Mercedes and BMW combined to sell over 100,000 E-Classes and 5-Series last year. By that measure, perhaps this bold new Lexus is actually vintage Toyota – in other words, pursuing a conservative strategy designed to test the waters on a lower volume vehicle before applying the face paint to the more lucrative parts of the lineup, like the ES sedan and RX sport utility.

While we can say with some certainty that the GS has the right aesthetics and a pleasant enough cabin to compete with its European adversaries, the hardware is what's really going to make or break the new model. From our initial impressions, Lexus is right there, offering a compelling package with enough serious go-fast bits to warrant consideration from all but the most slavish fans of Teutonic motoring. Now we just need to find the right roads.
Vital Stats
3.5L V6
306 HP / 277 LB-FT
6-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
5.7 Seconds (est.)
Top Speed:
142 MPH (limited)
Rear- or AWD
Curb Weight:
3,795 LBS
14.3 CU-FT
19 City / 28 HWY

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #10

What is it?

The new Lexus GS range is the 4th generation of the company's luxury sport sedan that competes against cars such as the BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz's E-class. In this iteration, the GS previews new design language that eventually will carry over to the rest of the Lexus range. Reactions to the new look have diverged, but it's clearly not bland.

The model will be available with available premium, luxury and F-Sport packages, powered by a revised version of the 3.5-liter V6 that now combines direct and port fuel injection. The V6 produces 306 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, 3 more of each than before, while also improving fuel consumption to 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

All-wheel-drive versions of the GS 350 are available, as is the standard rear-drive format. While the GS loses a V8 variant for 2013, it gains an F-Sport model, which is equipped with firmer springs, a three-level variable-damping suspension, thicker antiroll bars, variable-speed steering and a rear-wheel-steer mechanism for optimal handling characteristics. The F-Sport car also has front and rear styling revisions, larger brakes and 19-inch wheels with summer tires.

As before, the GS will feature a hybrid variant, the GS 450h, which employs an Atkinson-cycle version of the V6 in combination with an electric motor to produce a combined maximum of 338 hp with 29/34mpg fuel consumption. The electric motor is mounted at the rear axle, and drives the rear wheels, so GS 450h models are rear-drive only.

The use of extra spot welds, increased use of high-strength steel and the adoption of a bolted-in triangular engine-box brace in the new GS body shell increases torsional rigidity by 14%. But weight has not increased beyond the previous car's mass, despite a full complement of technologies and luxury equipment, because of an intensive exercise to pare weight in every area--right down to hose-clamp widths!

What is it like to drive?

Because of the aforementioned advances in design and materials, the new GS is as solid, quiet and refined as one might hope. Intensive aerodynamic simulations and the adoption of a flat underbody and numerous surface tweaks reduce wind noise significantly, adding to the car's admirable road-going refinement.

So, to add some sporting flavor to the new GS, Lexus fitted a Helmholtz-type resonator that pipes the engine's induction noises into the cabin. The contrast to an older GS 350 that we had on hand was startling. While not really noisy, the new GS 350 provides a fantastic aural accompaniment to performance driving while retaining the hushed atmosphere of a luxury car when operated at modest speeds.

Of all the new models in the range, the F-Sport is one to make Lexus's rivals take serious note. The combination of ride and handling technologies provides the new GS with fast turn-in, brilliant roll control, amazing stability and a scintillating turn of speed. Its extraordinary range was perfectly showcased by a long autocross course laid out on the old air base at El Toro in Orange County, Calif. Since the rear wheels can steer in either direction, they can be used to speed turn-in by steering in the opposite direction to the fronts, then to stabilize the car by steering in the same direction.

The variable-steering gear massively speeds response in slaloms and chicanes, and none of the motion is lost to wayward body roll. Meanwhile, forces felt inside the car are easily contained by the excellent new seats. If chassis tuning was the way that rival companies' sport sedans built their reputations in the past, then technology is what might knock them off the perch today.

All of this clever technology hugely broadens the GS's bandwidth. Even the sport-optimized F-Sport version will tour suburbia with suave serenity, catering to its occupants' every need with the latest telematics package, connecting them to Internet radio or allowing them to make a reservation at a restaurant, then directing them to that location.

Everything one expects of a luxury car is available. High-end stereo? There's an 835-watt Mark Levinson system so tight and clean it is hard to describe in words. The navigation display is a 12.3-inch monster. There's a night-vision system and a precollision system. The seats are heated and ventilated. There is a blind-spot monitor and a heads-up display.

Not all of these things are standard, but all of them are available. Short of power doors, it's hard to think of anything not offered in one or another of the optional packages. Lexus always had the luxury part down. Now the company wants to inject some sporting essence into the experience. Some of the technology that makes the cars work so well is like that used by recognized sport superstars such as Ferrari.

With the LF-A proudly stationed on the Lexus stand at auto shows these days, maybe the 2 brand names aren't as far apart as they once were.

Do I want it?

It's hard to knock the idea of a refined ride for everyday activities, particularly if it comes courtesy of a beautifully made product. When Lexus first appeared, hard-nosed auto writers complained of too much isolation and not enough involvement. Now all of the rival luxury brands are more like Lexus than they were like themselves in the old days.

So, when you add performance bandwidth to a polished product such as the GS 350, allowing it to strafe a canyon road like a sports car as well as glide serenely to the office, it makes a fine argument for what the company has done here. All that's left to debate is the controversial new styling.

2013 Lexus GS 350

On Sale: February 2012

Base Price: $50,000

Drivetrain: 3.5-liter, 306-hp, 277-lb-ft V6; RWD or AWD, six-speed automatic

Curb Weight: 3,800-4,000 lb (est)

0-60 MPH: 5.7 sec (mfr)
Fuel Economy (EPA): 19/28 mpg


3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

The 1st-generation Lexus GS 450h didn't make sense to a lot of people.

Lexus promised V8 performance with V6 fuel economy. But hybrid geeks were thrown off by a combined mileage rating of only 23 mpg, while driving enthusiasts were put off by its lifeless steering, portly curb weight and intrusive stability control system.

It didn't help that the GS hybrid cost some $3,000 more than the V8-powered GS 460. Yeah, we woulda had a V8 for sure.

With the 2013 Lexus GS 450h, Toyota's luxury brand is taking a different approach. This time the emphasis is on fuel mileage, as in an estimated 35% improvement over the 2011 model. And this time around the GS hybrid is taking the place of the V8 model, so it's hybrid or nothing. Bold move.

Version 2
The GS 450h continues as a series-parallel hybrid, which means it's capable of operating in electric-only, gas-only, or a combination of the 2 modes. Its 286-horsepower 3.5-liter gasoline V6 now uses the Atkinson cycle for greater fuel efficiency.

There's also an increased compression ratio (13.1:1, up from 11.8), a new mid-port intake tumble generator and Lexus' combo of direct and port injection, which Lexus calls D-4S. Although the Atkinson cycle is more efficient, the downside is that it has a narrower power band. No problem when you have a 2nd power source on-board.

In the GS 450h the extra power comes from a water-cooled 30kW (41-hp) permanent electric motor powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. In Sport mode, the system voltage is bumped up, which raises the battery power to 52 hp (39 kW) for a total combined hp of 338. The gas engine and electric motor drive the rear wheels independently or in tandem, depending on what's needed.

Also helping to reduce fuel consumption is better cooling of the hybrid's power control unit. The GS's Eco mode takes it a step further by limiting the electric motor to a maximum of 500 volts. And lastly, the regenerative braking operation range has been expanded.

The result? An estimated 29 city, 34 highway and 31 combined mpg, a colossal improvement over the previous GS hybrid's numbers (22 city/25 highway/23 combined mpg). Even more impressive is the fact that Lexus claims that the new 2013 Lexus GS 450h will hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and carry on to a top speed of 131 mph. It may be more efficient, but it's certainly not any slower.

Stiffer and Lighter
Just like the 2013 GS 350, the new GS 450h carries over an identical wheelbase and overall length, but is 2 inches wider and 1.2 inches taller in an effort to gain some interior space. It worked, as head-, knee and foot room are all reasonable now for slightly above average-size adults. That goes for the backseat as well. Lexus engineers also created more trunk room by vertically stacking the battery pack, so cargo room is up by nearly 3 cubic feet.

The 2013 Lexus GS 450h has more than just all-new sheet metal. The body is also 14% stiffer due to an increased number of spot and laser welds. Meanwhile, the interior was put on a strict diet, with the engineers told to lighten every material possible to make up for the car being slightly larger and stuffed with more features.

We were told at the car's press launch that the 2013 model is in fact 14 kilograms (31 pounds) lighter than the 2011 model, but a quick check of Lexus' own specs lists the 2011 model's curb weight as 4,134 pounds versus the 2013 car's 4,190 pounds. Maybe it's new math.

New Digs
The interior of the previous GS 450h was hardly its weak point, but Lexus sought to improve it for 2013 anyway with an all-new design and a higher grade of materials.

A couple of things stand out: First, Lexus lowered the comfortable driver seat a small amount so that you sit more in the GS, not on it. 2nd, the GS 450h comes with a bamboo steering wheel and trim pieces, which Lexus says "reinforce the sustainability of the GS 450h." Whatever, it's cool, especially because it's left au naturel, without the usual wood clearcoat.

The materials generally are a step up from the previous GS, although a few of the plastic buttons (particularly for the HVAC controls on the center stack) feel a little cheap and don't quite match the tactility of the rest of the cabin.

Order the optional navigation system and you'll get a gigantic 12.3-inch display screen, controlled via a second generation of Lexus' Remote Touch controller, a device that looks and acts like a computer mouse. You'll also have the handiness of the Lexus Enform App Suite, which lets you access your mobile phone apps through the display screen, for searches with Bing, OpenTable (restaurant reservations),, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Yelp (restaurant/business reviews) and of course Facebook.

Adaptive Suspension
The 2013 Lexus GS 450h shares its updated chassis with the standard GS 350. That means a wider track, increased use of aluminum for the front double wishbones and a multilink setup in back that uses a new rear subframe and more aggressive geometry.

But the big news is that Lexus' Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system comes standard on the hybrid model. It's a softer setup than on the GS 350 F Sport, but the principle is the same: The shocks are constantly adapting to road and driving conditions and they're driver-adjustable.

Toggling the Drive Mode selector lets you choose among Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. The first three mostly deal with throttle calibration, but Sport Plus dials back steering boost and firms up the shocks, while raising the stability control's intervention point (a Lexus official told us it could be fully defeated, but no amount of button pushing/holding did the trick).

On a fast and twisty back road, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h felt heavy and a bit ponderous through turns in the Sport setting. There's a definite feeling of some major weight being thrown over to one side as you enter high-speed bends. But cue up Sport Plus and there's a big difference in terms of body roll, precision and confidence, and the weighting of the steering is heavier and more precise.

V8 Substitute?
Driving around town, the first thing you notice is that, well, it simply doesn't have the smooth, supple feel and sound of a V8. In other words, it's not a great replacement, at least if you're more than an A-to-B type of person.

The electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT) still rubberbands a bit and there's still some steady-state throttle surge. The brakes are far from linear, too, as they have an abrupt initial tip-in, then become difficult to modulate for a smooth stop.

Drive it casually, though, and the GS 450h is reasonably quiet and seamless. Floor the throttle and, although the CVT hangs the revs up high, it surprises you with how deceptively it gets up to speed, and the force with which it keeps pushing forward.

The Bottom Line
The 2013 Lexus GS 450h will begin production at the Tahara, Japan, plant in late April/early May of next year. Pricing is a long ways off from being set, but a reasonable guess is around $60,000 (the current model begins at $58,950).

This is an improved GS hybrid for sure, if not in pure drivability then in terms of interior quality, design and definitely handling due to the standard-issue adaptive suspension. Lexus isn't expecting the GS 450h to set the world on fire with sales numbers. It's guessing that the GS 450h will account for less than 10% of the total GS mix.

Sales expectations aside, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h at least makes sense this time around. It's still got the sauce to back up its rep as a performance hybrid, but now it gets the kind of fuel economy for which owners could actually be smug about. And isn't that the point of hybrids anyway?

3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #14

Lexus has a redesigned GS that it truly believes can compete with the likes of the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. So it's going where the eyeballs are with its marketing, ponying up for the brand's first-ever Super Bowl ad. Lexus' commercial is just a 30-second spot, joining the likes of Acura, Audi, Cadillac and other brands buying time during the big game.

Lexus is calling its ad, "The Beast," which calls to mind both President Obama's limo and the 2009 documentary by Eric Bana. The actual spot, however, has a rather hackneyed sci-fi theme: A GS350 is locked up in a shipping container sized cage in a lab, and uses its new "Lexus spindle grille" to break free in a destructive orgy of CGI.

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