SPORTY 2017 LEXUS GS350 SEDAN UPGRADES SAFETY
By Tom Crosby
Last year Lexus added an optional safety system with cutting-edge features increasingly popular in higher-end luxury vehicles. This year, that system (top cost was approximately $1,735 in 2016) is standard in the three GS models – turbo charged GS 200t, hybrid GS 450h and the GS 350 sedan, our addictive all-wheel test-drive. Traveling more than 1,300 miles, mostly on interstates, those safety features were a strong sampling of the technology needed for autonomous driving. Included were lane departure warning with steering assist, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control maintaining a set distance from the vehicle in front, and pre-collision assist if the driver doesn’t brake quickly or hard enough. Intelligent high beam dimmed or brightened as oncoming vehicles or rear-tail lights were detected. Also standard were blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Bundle those driving aids with 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped with all-season tires, sophisticated front and rear suspension and augmented with gas-pressured shock absorbers and stabilizer bars. The result: a silky smooth ride powered by a V-6 engine that jumps to 60 mph in under six seconds. Add electronic power steering for precise handling and your riving elicits pure joy. Choose among four Drive Modes: Normal, Eco to improve fuel economy, Sport S to maximize the powertrain’s capabilities and Sport S+ which activates a suspension sport setting that enhances handling.
Outside, the GS 350 shows some eye candy with clean and uncluttered sheet metal, chrome window surrounds, a level beltline and in front, a large Lexus signature spindle grille wrapped in satin chrome and flanked by Bi-LED headlights.
Inside, soft, perforated leather trim with wood accents radiates rich ambiance; there is a dashboard chrome-surrounded LED analog clock; foldout map pockets; easy to read gauges and an airflow system that uses occupant detection to focus air only where passengers are seated. A heads-up display keeps speeds legal. Rear seats do not fold; however, trunk cargo space is ample.
Improved toggle switch control provides access to the 12.3-inch dashboard screen for navigation, apps, and premium audio. The only flies in this other wise perfect vehicular ointment were 10 test drive options costing $12,275. Helping justify the price is Lexus continues to have the top brand resale value, according to Kelly Blue Book, keeping it competitive with the BMW 5-series or Mercedes Benz E-class. Nice touches include a full spare tire, first aid kit and puddle lights.
LIKES: Safety, luxury, power, handling, ride, comfort
DISLIKES: Need for options, rear seats don’t fold
BOTTOM LINE: Ride, performance top-notch. Top tier luxury, comfort, convenience comes with options.
- Base price w/destination fee $51,340 ($63,615 as tested)
- Curb weight 3,891 lbs.
- Wheelbase 112.2 inches
- Length 192.1 inches
- Width 72.4 inches
- Engine specs 3.5 liter, DOHC, 24 valves, V-6
- Horsepower 311 hp @ 6,400 rpm
- Torque 280 lbs.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm
- Transmission 6-speed automatic w/paddle shifters
- EPA Rating 19 city, 26 highway
- Range 17.4 gallons, (91 octane recommended)
- Performance 0-60 in 5.8 seconds