By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
A complete recasting takes the 2013 Lexus GS into a new and impressively elevated plane of existence. Now available in GS 350 or GS 450h hybrid guise, the fourth-generation of this midsize luxury-sport sedan boasts far bolder styling, a more luxurious interior, enhanced driving dynamics and a significantly upgraded powertrain. Those fundamental improvements are complemented by notable new options that strengthen the GS's overall desirability while imparting a more driver-focused character, whether in standard rear-drive (RWD) or available all-wheel drive (AWD) configuration. With this comprehensive redesign, the new Lexus GS series appears ready to mount a serious challenge for the hearts, minds and wallets of sport sedan buyers who might otherwise be considering prime rivals like an Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Infiniti M or Jaguar XF.
The new look and more sharply honed character finally makes the 2013 GS the kind of first-rate luxury-sport sedan that it could – and should – have been from day one.
Those not sold on the appeal of its L-finesse styling or who still feel that a sport sedan in this segment must have a V8 engine under hood will likely find their happiness lies with GS alternatives like a BMW 5 Series, Infiniti M, Jaguar XF, or Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
A full restyle, inside and out, gives the 2013 Lexus GS sedans an edgier appearance an adds new levels of luxury, while extensive re-engineering efforts yield a car that's both more economical and more fun to drive, particularly when fitted with the optional F Sport Package.
Driving Impressions An inside-out redesign expands the total performance envelope of every variation in the 2013 GS lineup. A stiffer, stronger unit body, lighter-weight suspension components, and wider track dimensions impart a...more confident feel, while the driver-selectable, 3-way (ECO/Normal/Sport) Lexus Drive Mode controller contours the throttle, transmission and power steering maps to make it all the more engaging. Luxury Package/F Sport Package variants feature model-specific variable adaptive suspension tuning with a dedicated "Sport+" setting that increases steering effort and recalibrates limit levels on their respective Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management systems. Adding the optional Lexus Dynamic Handling system that includes both Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Dynamic Rear Steering to a rear-drive F Sport positively transforms the car, making it stunningly agile in transitions. Interestingly enough, the new GS 450h is quicker in a straight line than any GS 350 iteration.
Lexus Drive Mode
Offering ECO, Normal and Sport settings, this user-selectable electronic assist can fine-tune the throttle and transmission response in all GS sedans to accommodate owner preferences. The Luxury and F Sport Packages add a Sport+ setting that also modifies the adaptive variable suspension and Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management systems.
F Sport Package
Beyond adding visual punch to the GS 350, the chassis/suspension upgrades included in the F Sport Package impart an exhilarating new dimension of dynamic capability to the car – particularly on rear-drive models paired with the Lexus Dynamic Handling system that brings Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Dynamic Rear Steering.
The GS remake brings improved people packaging and an even more impressively appointed, better-isolated cabin. Richer-looking wood and leather, and a more sophisticated dash design, convey excellence to the interior. That dash features clear Optitron main gauges and an 8.0-inch multifunction LCD screen accessed by the latest iteration of the Remote Touch Interface controller. Even the base GS 350 boasts things like 10-way power front seats, a power tilt/telescoping steering column and LED ambient lighting as part of its luxury-oriented roster of standard features, while the GS 450h adds its own special touches, including bamboo wood trim on the steering wheel and dash to denote a greater emphasis on sustainability.
Lexus' latest take on the L-Finesse design philosophy brings new visual intensity to the 2013 GS sedans keyed off of its dramatic Spindle Grille treatment that's destined to become the signature "face" of the division. Complementing that unique cue, the GS series gets edgier, model-specific front and rear styling that brings distinctive bi-xenon headlights and LED taillights. On a practical level, revisions to the roof and A-pillar configurations improve driver sightlines while larger door openings ease entry and exit for all. Both the GS 350 and GS 450h come with 225/50 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, while the GS 350 with F Sport Package rides on staggered-width 19-inch upgrades wrapped in 235/40 (front) and 265/35 (rear) performance rubber.
An expanded feature set in all GS models is headed by leather upholstery, wood/metallic accent trim, a full range of power assists, power moonroof, multifunction steering wheel, and energy-saving S-flow auto climate control. Your entertainment needs are covered by a 12-speaker Lexus 5.1 Surround Sound Audio System with AUX/USB/iPod inputs, SiriusXM satellite radio (90-day free subscription), 8.0-inch high-resolution center-console screen, and Bluetooth connectivity. Meanwhile, standard cruise control, keyless remote/push-button start, Lexus Drive Mode and a backup camera enhance the ease of owning a GS. Safety elements include the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system with integrated traction/stability control and antilock brakes, Safety Connect with Automatic Collision Notification and 10 air bags. The GS 450h adds adaptive variable suspension and electronically controlled regenerative braking.
Beyond all-wheel drive, the 2013 Lexus GS line can be ordered with a Premium Package (GS 350) and a Luxury Package that adds Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), semi-aniline leather upholstery, 18-way power front driver/passenger seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and more. The F Sport Package brings unique exterior/interior styling items, a 16-way driver's sport seat, custom-tuned AVS, bigger wheels/tires/brakes plus variable gear ratio steering (rear-drive only). Rear-drive F Sports can be further enhanced with the Lexus Dynamic Handling system with Dynamic Rear Steering. Prime single options include an HDD Navigation system with 12.3-inch screen, 835-watt Mark Levinson premium audio, Head-up display, Night Vision, Blind Spot Monitor, Intuitive Park Assist and Pre-Collision.
The 2013 Lexus GS series offers two distinct powertrain variations. The GS 350 is fitted with a 306-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that features Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and the Lexus D4-S direct+port fuel-injection system. The GS 350 is matched with a 6-speed, paddle-shiftable sequential automatic transmission that now delivers quicker upshifts and performs rev-matching throttle blips on down changes. The new GS 450h pairs a modified version of the 3.5-liter with efficiency-enhancing Atkinson-cycle timing technology and the latest iteration of Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive in a combo that cranks out 339 horsepower. Backed by a continuously variable automatic transmission, the GS hybrid earns projected EPA numbers of 29 city/34 highway mpg versus 19/28 mpg (RWD) and 19/26 mpg (AWD) for the GS 350. And at 5.6 seconds, it's also 0.1 tick quicker to 60 mph.
306 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
277 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy (est): 19/28 mpg (RWD), 19/26 mpg (AWD)
3.5-liter V6 plus electric motor and battery pack
286 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm/180 hp - 338 net system horsepower
254 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy (est): 29/34 mpg
By MT on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Renovated Radio system, overall look"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Test drove it and I was immediately sold. Tried to remove any doubt by test driving the Acura TL and the new Infinity Q50, absolutely no comparison. If you to want mix sport luxury with value for you money, this is the way to go."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Mike on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"First, let me say, I've owned Mercedes, BMW, and Volvo ranging from sport versions to S-Classes. Of all the cars I've owned this is absolutely the most fun to drive. The fit and finish is flawless. It is a shockingly quiet car even at full speed :) It's looks are personal but definitely attention grabbing. Everyone that I have had as a passenger has commented on how beautiful the car is. I have the F-Sport, so performance is better than most, so much so that I very very rarely have to push the car to its limit to get what I need out of it. It's so nice to always know you have reserve. It is stable at high speed and it's turning radius is just unbelieveable. The steering could/should be a bit tighter but he feel and reaction time is good. Did I mention it's very reliable? I drive ALOT and with 55,000 miles on the car, I have not had a single issue, inside or out. I expect to drive it another 55,000 miles before I think about it. I cannot recommend this car more! It is definitely the best value for the money! I upgraded the radio and interior when i purchased it in 2012 and it has become my second home."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Kaddy71 on Monday, September 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"It is a sports car. Actually it is a bit of a rocket! Gas...30.5 mpg. Ave. over the entire time I have owned it. I have the sports car mentality....but, alas I have stuff to haul. Large stuff....back seat is not as big as I need...sometime. But while I have the privilege of owning and driving it ...I love it. My navigation is fine and rather than setting destinations myself, I just call lexus Enform and they do all that for me. We just bought a place in the mountains in New Mexico. My husband and I both like "straightening" the curves out! This is main reason I have more miles on my GS. We drive mine and not his LS460 L. We do have fun driving it."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By markb280 on Friday, September 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "amazing MPG"
Cons: "iPod interface could be little more integrated"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The MPG is incredible, 35 MPG! The ride is amazing and the interior quality is above the rest. The optional 12.5" navi screen is the best on the market. You don't have to battle between radio info and a clear uncluttered map! Even the HOLD feature allows you to take your foot off the brake and it automatically holds the car for you, amazing! This is a true drivers car, if you are on the road all day this is the car for you. Take it for a test drive you will not be disappointed."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Rick on Wednesday, March 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Expensive...probably best 2013 Lexus available."
Cons: "Tech for sake of tech"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Very good vehicle, but needs more performance. Not a performance car or a true luxury car. The gee wizz techno stuff is hard to operate...must look away from driving too much...would not buy again."
14 people out of 33 found this review helpful
By BL on Monday, February 24, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Why does Lexus still use galvanized exhausts? I had to have the system replaced after five years. ($ 3,600)Halogen head lights are the standard on luxury cars. I had to replace both front headlights after 5 years at over $500. I used to replace my own bulbs for around $10. I don't see a 500% improvement in lighting. Rear struts were replaced after four years, not cheap; we have never had anyone in the back seat and the car had less than 50,000 miles. Lexus maintenance is very expensive as are the parts. A letter of dealer dissatisfaction was never responded to by the dealer, nor Lexus in the US or Japan. I was much happier with my 2000 Pontiac SSEI. Got over 130,000 miles on it and only did oil changes and a battery. I have had to spend much less on my Tahoe with over 175,000 miles, battery, tires and oil changes. This is my last Lexus."
5 people out of 15 found this review helpful