The Lexus GS has never exactly lit a fire in the imaginations of mid-size luxury sedan buyers - until now. Completely redesigned for the current model year, the 2013 Lexus GS has been given a new lease on life thanks to a renewed focus on bringing together the elements of performance, luxury and style that shoppers in this ultra-competitive segment expect.
Lexus is pushing the new GS as a game changer for the brand, and they have certainly invested significant resources into positioning the sedan for success. Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Lexus GS.
01. The 2013 Lexus GS Is All New
The generation of sedan that preceded the 2013 Lexus GS had been on the road for close to seven years, which meant that it was time for completely new platform that could incorporate cutting edge technology and offer better interior room and overall refinement. The 2013 Lexus GS succeeds in each of these areas, with a wider chassis, a much larger trunk and a revised suspension setup that provides more confident cornering as well as a calm and composed ride while cruising. The GS platform also manages to weigh nearly exactly the same as the departed model, which is a rare achievement in this age of increasingly bloated luxury sedans.
02. The 2013 Lexus GS Displays Radically Revamped Styling
One of the key changes that has been made to the 2013 Lexus GS has been a dramatic rethinking of the vehicle's styling. The GS is still instantly recognizable as a Lexus - and bears strong ties to its previous incarnation - but the vehicle's creases have been tightened, its angles have been sharpened and the entire design has been given a new sense of urgency that was completely lacking for 2012. The most visually striking aspect of the redesigned GS is its sinister, jutting front fascia that frames the grille and arches down over the bumper in order to beam an aggressive, menacing glare at the road ahead.
03. The 2013 Lexus GS Features V-6 Power
The 2013 Lexus GS is no longer offered in both six and eight-cylinder editions. Instead, a revised version of the older generation's 3.5-liter V-6 becomes the standard power plant for the luxury sedan. The unit features dual variable valve timing and makes use of port and direct injection technology in order to produce 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque - numbers that are slightly higher than they were in 2012 - along with more efficient fuel economy figures of 19-mpg in stop and go driving and 28-mpg on the highway. Lexus claims that the 3.5-liter V-6 found in the Lexus GS 350 provides enough grunt to launch the automobile to 60-mph from a standing start in just 5.7 seconds.
It also features a six-speed automatic transmission that benefits from the incorporation of several features that were previously only available with the Lexus IS F compact sport sedan. The GS tranny offers paddle shifters for manual control over gear changes, with auto throttle-blipping on downshifts as well increased speed when moving from one ratio to another. Four different modes are available to either sharpen the gearbox for improved performance (SPORT S and SPORT S+) or introduce better fuel economy (ECO). Normal mode is also available for cruising around town or down the highway in maximum comfort.
04. The 2013 Lexus GS Is More Fun To Drive
The wider track of the 2013 Lexus GS helps to give the sedan more mechanical grip, which translates into additional confidence when moving through a corner. The GS also gains a completely new suspension system, with a multi-link rear setup that significantly improves rear wheel traction in a wide range of driving situations. Combined with the stiffened yet still reasonably light GS platform the overall effect is to give drivers a level of precision that is a cut above what was available on older editions of the car.
The 2013 Lexus GS SPORT S and SPORT S+ modes mentioned in the previous section also do more than just affect the vehicle's transmission response. SPORT S alters throttle mapping in order to satisfy the right foot, while SPORT S+ backs off the electronic nannies and can tighten the vehicle's steering and adaptive suspension system on certain models of the car. Those seeking the ultimate in fair and foul weather traction can order the Lexus GS 350 with optional all-wheel drive, which features up to a 30/70 torque split depending on road conditions.
05. The 2013 Lexus GS Offers F Sport Performance
Another intriguing option for 2013 Lexus GS buyers is the availability of the F Sport trim. The Lexus GS 350 F Sport dials up the attitude with 19-inch alloy wheels, an aero package that includes front and rear bumper upgrades as well as a mesh grille. Underneath the vehicle's skin drivers will find an adaptive suspension system, bigger brakes up front and a variable steering ratio. The GS 350 F Sport's swaybars are also thicker than those of the standard model in order to improve cornering capability, and the interior of the F Sport is kitted out in red leather with front sport seats that hug the body and keep occupants firmly in place while the sedan is put through its paces.
06. The 2013 Lexus GS Comes In A Hybrid Model
The 2013 Lexus GS 450h is a unique high end hybrid sedan that actually outperforms the gas-only edition of the car. The GS 450h comes with a 3.5-liter V-6 that teams up with an electric motor to grind out 338 horsepower - 32 ponies more than are found in the GS 350. That extra bit of oomph knocks a tenth of a second off of the Lexus's sprint to 60-mph while delivering fuel economy that is roughly 30 percent better than the regular six-cylinder GS (29-mpg city and 34-mpg on the highway). The GS 450h also gains an EV driving mode that allows it to move forward exclusively under battery power, and selecting either SPORT S or SPORT S+ modes adds even more e-motor boost while accelerating.
07. The 2013 Lexus GS Offers Extensive Standard Equipment
The 2013 Lexus GS is quite generous in terms of the items that it bundles in as standard equipment. All versions of the GS come with HID headlights, a sunroof, keyless entry, dual automatic climate control, power leather seats and Bluetooth connectivity with a surround sound audio system. Fog lamps, an eight-inch LCD screen and satellite radio are also provided with car, as is an automatic close feature for the trunk. The GS 450h hybrid ups the ante with the inclusion of a heated steering wheel and unique bamboo trim.
08. The 2013 Lexus GS Gains New High Tech Features
The 2013 Lexus GS certainly impresses when it comes to the technology that infuses the luxury sedan's platform. The GS can be equipped with a dynamic cruise control system that uses radar in order to maintain a safe distance between the vehicle and any automobiles it detects riding on the road ahead, and it also offers a blind spot monitoring system and a lane keep assist system. The latter activates with the cruise control feature and can automatically steer the GS so that it remains within the lane markers should driver attention drift. A night vision system (that makes use of infrared light in order to detect pedestrians, animals or other obstacles lurking in the darkness) provides a visual warning on the sedan's navigation screen in order to prep occupants for a possible emergency stop.
09. The 2013 Lexus GS Can Be Customized Via Several Options and Packages
Like most Lexus vehicles, a number of options packages for the 2013 Lexus GS are on hand to enhance the coddling of all vehicle occupants. The Luxury package installs nicer leather upholstery, wood trim, adaptive shock absorbers and 18-inch wheels, while the Cold Weather package throws in a heated steering wheel and washers to keep the headlights clean. The Premium package offers automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers as well as heated and ventilated seats. A la carte options for the Lexus GS are listed as a rear steering feature, a more impressive surround sound system, a voice-controlled navigation system and parking assistance.
10. The 2013 Lexus GS Is Aimed Squarely At The German Competition
The 2013 Lexus GS has been strategically positioned to erase the GS's previous also-ran status in the mid-size luxury segment. While older editions of the GS were certainly competent cars, they lacked the panache offered by vehicles like the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the model had to rely on its reputation for reliability and a comfortable yet unexciting ride. The 2013 Lexus GS is not only much more impressive from a visual standpoint, but it also features the kind of handling, acceleration and equipment availability that should make Teutonic car owners sit up and take notice.