Car Review: 2013 Lexus GS

What's New: After seven years, the fourth-generation GS has finally been updated to compete with the driving dynamics typically found in such German automobiles as BMW and Audi. The new front-end of the GS defines the corporate grill soon to be on every Lexus.

Expected Arrival: The redesign GS is currently available in a rear-wheel drive and an all-wheel drive configuration. Soon a hybrid configuration will join the line up.

City/Hwy Mileage: 19-city/26-hwy (all-wheel drive), 19-city/28-hwy (rear-wheel drive)

Engine/Horsepower: 3.5-liter/306-horsepower (a 338-horsepower engine will be available in the hybrid)

Price Range: $47,775 to $74,090, when fully optioned

Price of Tested Vehicle: $58,369

Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles

Hybrid Battery Warranty: 8 year/100,000 miles

Standard Safety Features: front, side, knee and rear airbags; a rear back-up camera; vehicle stability control; ABS; front and rear crumple zones; and daytime running lights 

Standard Features: 17-inch wheels (rear-wheel drive); 19-inch wheels (all-wheel drive); 10 way power front seats; leather seats; electronic parking brakes with automatic and hold feature; heated auto dimming outside mirrors with reverse tilt feature; paddle shifters; push-button keyless starter; High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps; Bluetooth connectivity; and an 8-inch screen for the audio/ventilation system; power tilt/telescopic steering wheel;

Standard Audio System: a 12-speaker AM/FM/DVD with HD radio and MP3 capability. A 90-day satellite radio subscription is included with the audio system.

A Unique FeatureTo enhance the driving experience, the 2013 GS allows the driver to customize the feel and the ride with a normal mode, an Eco mode, a Sport S mode and a Sport S Plus mode, which is available when equipped with the F Sport and Luxury package.

Configurations:

rear-wheel drive

all-wheel drive

hybrid (coming soon)

Trim Levels/Features:

Premium (heated/ventilated front seats; power rear sunshade; and rain-sensing wipers)

Luxury (18-inch spoke wheels;18-way power seats; adaptive front lighting system; adaptive variable suspension; semi-aniline leather; passenger seat memory; rear a/c and audio controls; rear manual side sunshades; and a wood/leather steering wheel)

F Sport Package (16-way power seats; a sport bumper, rear lower valence, rear lip spoiler, unique mesh grille inserts and F SPORT badging; F SPORT-tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension;  rear-wheel drive models will be equipped with 19-inch wheels, Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS); and new larger front brakes with high friction pads)           

Options Available (Depending on Trim Level):

The following features maybe available depending on the trim level selected:18-inch wheels; a blind-spot lane changing system; heads up display; lane departure warning system; a huge 12.3-inch navigation screen; a 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Sound System; and a night vision system.

Pros: As you can see the new GS is available in a number of packages. With gas prices rising, Lexus has no plans for an 8-cylinder in the redesign GS. The 6-cylinder GS is extremely powerful and adequate for this vehicle. With its current bold, high-quality seamless interior, athletic styling and its retuned suspension system, which offers a variety of driving modes, it’s quite obvious that the Lexus GS is making strides in becoming a true driver-oriented, performance luxury vehicle. This is Lexus’ first vehicle that truly can compete with the likes of Audi and BMW, as it relates to the driving experience.

The 2013 GS offers more than just an uneventful luxury ride as has been the case with most of the brand’s line up, until now. So with this midsize Lexus, the engineers have been able to incorporate all of the high-tech luxury amenities we’ve come to expect from the luxury brand, while mixing it up with a near German-like ride. We especially found this to be the case, as it relates to the driving dynamics, when we put the GS hybrid on the test track in Vegas. In fact, we’ve never been behind the wheel of a hybrid -until now - that we actually considered both spirited and fun-to-drive.

Also Lexus offers a variety of ways for the driver to operate the audio, nav and climate control. The GS New Remote Touch computer-like mouse pad allows the user to operate the aforementioned features. The huge screen menu allows the user to pull-up multiple functions like the radio and nav system simultaneously. Besides using the mouse pad, the driver can utilize the standard controls to change stations or the like and the radio controls.

Yes, this Lexus does almost everything for you but drive by itself. We expect the 2013 GS to be a game changer for the brand and the midsize luxury segment, just as it was when it first hit the market in 1991 with its Italian-style design.

Cons: There’s not much to dislike about the new GS. Our quirks were minor. While a number of automakers are offering oversize sunroofs, Lexus is still offering a standard size roof. Where is the panoramic roof or dual panel roofs? Both Hyundai and Kia offer this feature in their non -premium midsize vehicles.

Also the GS with the FS Package we reviewed for the past week was loaded-up with almost every perceived high-tech safety feature. It