Aging Beauty: 2018 Lexus GS350 F SPORT V-6
Technology is a funny thing, the concept of having the latest and greatest is all a façade. Like buying the next generation phone or television, it’s already outdated before its release since the manufacturer is already developing the next “big thing” to be release 10 months later. Cars are the same way, they’re constantly changing and with competition always releasing something better, it’s even more difficult to keep up. Take the Lexus GS for example, debuting in 2012, it’s starting to roll on a 6-year old platform and set of technology. But is that really that old in cars years? We don’t think so.
With a mid-cycle refresh, back in 2016, we saw several little changes to the GS that brought its stylish look and upgraded performance to the modern era. With a little nip here and a little tuck there, the GS creased out its wrinkly lines with a slightly bold new look. The new aggressive grille, headlight design, 19-inch wheels and swooping LED taillights all work together making the GS still a classy, sexy lady. Adding in the F SPORT badge steps up its dramaticness just a hint more.
In 2016 the GS also receive a new 2.0-liter engine as entry level variant – offering something for every consumer. The corporate standard 3.5-liter V-6 on the other hand received some slight retuning to put out 5 more horsepower than the previous 306-horsepower engine. Making an official 311-horsepower with power transferred to the rear wheels, the GS350 continues to provide that gutsy, confident experience we all tend to enjoy from any V-6 engine.
To be fair, while the GS350 carries more performance, it’s continues to ride in the back of line compared to its competition. Taking nearly 6-seconds to get to sixty through its quick shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, other competitors are seeing more of the 4.5 to 5-second runs. This, however, doesn’t make the GS350 any less of a sports sedan. It’s the quiet, sedated sedan that carries four passengers in ultra-comfort. Whether being a business executive or a family mover, the GS carries the right ingredients to do what it’s performed to do.
Supporting the F SPORT badge comes with a $1,365 premium over the standard $50,060 base price. Not a bad chunk of change considering the aggressive lines, host of upgraded interior options and upgraded performance including larger front brakes and sport tuned suspension. The GS350 is a fine suiter for the open road. With four adjustable drive modes (Eco, Normal, Sport, & Sport +), we can adjust the dampering of our experience to increase the flavor of our driving styling. With larger 14-inch from brakes, braking isn’t an issue with strong responsiveness and braking ability.
With the F SPORT upgrades, the GS350 becomes quite the fancy lady with its smooth moves and comfortable demeanor. The multi-way adjustable seats contour our bodies for supreme comfort, the F SPORT steering wheel is thick and grips well to our hands, and the new addition of the F SPORT instrument display cluster; it provides a nifty gimmick to its already sporty attributes. However, now, the F SPORT badge carries more than just a few fancy tricks – it comes with a new host of standard features like a rear power sunshade, power adjustable side bolsters and thigh extension on the driver seat, and blind spot monitoring.
Lexus was one of the first to offer a huge display screen in their cars. 12.3-inches to be exact. It’s a bit over bearing but it suits the car’s interior dimensions well, filling an area that otherwise could be boring. Their Lexus Enform technology is starting to show its age compared to other competitors, but seen here, it’s just fine with their controllable mouse-like platform. Lexus has also incorporated a more unique three-dimensional interior trim to mimic a carbon fiber silhouette – it’s surprisingly a very attractive pattern that feels premium and works with the overall aesthetics of the car.
Updating to the times, Lexus has started incorporating a ton of standard safety equipment. The addition of, Lexus Safety Sense – this adds in Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Warning & Autonomous Emergency Braking, Automatic High Beam Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control. All of this as a standard equip feature on all GS products, including the base GS 200t (now named GS300.) However, that hasn’t stopped Lexus from incorporating other advanced features like a limited slip differential ($500) and four-wheel steering ($1700) – all to improve the performance dynamics and handling ability.
Despite its growing age, the GS350 has aged well as the years move on. While cars like the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class, and Volvo S90 have been updated, so has their prices. With our sampled GS350 F SPORT hitting a $57,460 price tag, it’s considerably cheaper than its rivals, but still just as good.
|2018 Lexus GS350 F SPORT:||$52,060|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$57,460|
|3.5-liter V-6 – 311-Horsepower, 8-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±6.0 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 19/28/24 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 19.5 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±380 Miles|