Lexus GS350 F Sport Review
Quantum leap

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
18 May 2012
 

With the new GS, Lexus finally has an executive saloon that can be competitive next to the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Raymond Lai explains why.

Introduction, styling

With supremely competent executive saloon models like the E-Class, 5 Series and the A6, the boffins at Lexus knew they had to dig deep on how they can convincingly challenge Mercedes and BMW as well as Audi in their own game when developing and conceiving its new GS. They took four and a half years and 1.6 million kilometres of testing and the result is the car you see in these pictures here – the new fourth generation GS. Now that the new GS is here, we’re eager to find out if it’s a credible challenger to the cream of the crop in the executive class - the abovementioned E-Class, 5 Series and the A6.

The new model is currently offered in two engine variants – an entry-level GS250 and a GS350 while a third, the hybrid model, the GS450h will join the line-up later on. Both the GS250 and GS350 can be had in F sport trim, like the car tested here. The F Sport variants are basically models that have been kitted with F Sport sporty bits inside and out as well as mechanical changes for those who prefer their GS to drive sportier and look more purposeful. 

Outwardly, the new model shares little resemblance to its predecessor thanks to the latest iteration of Lexus’s L-finesse design philosophy. While the old car features more curves and softer lines, the latest GS features tauter and crisper lines and angular forms for a more assertive and even sportier look. At 4850mm in length, the new GS is no longer than its predecessor but when compared to the 5 Series and the A6, is slightly shorter overall. The new car though, is a full 20mm wider than the model it replaces – the added width and the tauter lines give the new GS a more muscular feel when compared to the old one.

The new model looks best from up front where its ‘hourglass’ radiator grille (a design feature that is set to appear in future Lexus models) gives the GS its own distinctive face. The more aggressive bumper treatment of the F Sport variant further accentuates the profile of the grille while the headlamps look no less distinctive thanks to design features like the LED daytime running lights in their distinctive L-shaped pattern. There’s a bit of the IS along the flanks and the rear but when viewed from the rear three-quarters, the GS’s styling can look a bit heavy and awkward, especially in the way the C-pillar meets the boot line. Other than the trapezoidal exhaust tips and under body diffuser, the rear also looks a tad unremarkable and nondescript at the same time.

While the F Sport aero kit certainly gives the GS an even sportier look, the model can do with lowered suspension to further improve its stance. Overall, the new GS offers a sportier look than not only its predecessor but also the E-Class and 5 Series. Its overall styling though, somehow still doesn’t look as resolved as the well-proportioned Audi A6.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 3456cc
Engine Type V 6
Compression Ratio 11.8:1
Bore x Stroke (94.0 x 83.0)mm
Power 316bhp @ 6400rpm
Torque 378Nm @ 4800rpm
Power to Weight 191.5 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 6s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 235 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 10.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FR

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4850 x 1590 x 1455) mm
Wheelbase 2850 mm
Kerb Weight 1650 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 66 L

Brakes