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2013 Lexus GS … Less Kinder… Less Gentler

For more than a few years Lexus has been working towards creating a more exciting driving experience. The LFA and IS F are certainly worthy vehicles for those inclined to a vehicle that generates passion. But those two vehicles are certainly the Lexus exceptions. While the LFA and IS prove that Lexus can make engaging vehicles, they don’t prove that Lexus is about engaging vehicles. The 2013 Lexus GS is designed to change that. With the age of a Lexus buyer knocking on sixty’s door, it makes sense that this move could help the brand in the long run. We had the opportunity to see first hand if Lexus’ mainstream GS could move the needle towards automotive passion.


Upon first look, the 2013 GS makes you forget the outgoing model rather quickly. So much for retained value, if you just got into 2012. The new model changes everything, with a much more aggressive look, especially from the front. The interior also shows great, with lower luster materials that give the cabin a more organic feel, which the previous version lacked. The dash has a horizontal orientation that helps the interior show off its increased size. Front and center is a 12.3 inch color screen displaying navigation and a host of other features including HVAC, radio controls and Lexus’ Enform 2.0 allowing access to apps for those who are not yet convinced that a Lexus is for driving. The center console houses a remote touch controller that feels better than previous Lexus versions, and allows for easy navigation.


The powertrain is largely carryover. It’s the changes to the chassis that make the big difference for 2013. Laser welding of reinforcements results in 14 % greater torsional rigidity. Use of aluminum and thinly formed not pressed steel help to reduce overall weight. The multi-Link rear suspension has been modified to increase trunk space, and accommodate rear steering. Finally, Adaptive Variable Suspension allows for three settings to suit your mood.


Lexus setup an autocross on the tarmac at El Toro to illustrate the improvements in the New GS. With Competitors from Mercedes E350 and BMW, 535i on hand, we had a chance to see if the new Lexus measures up. Overall, we think that this vehicle is an amazing step up for Lexus. The 300 pound weight advantage that the GS has over the 535i can be felt immediately. And while the Mercedes is slightly lighter than the GS, it did not feel as agile between the cones. The GS was our preference of the three. Yep, we said it. The Lexus.

What’s Next?

We love getting the chance to push these vehicles in a closed setting. In this environment, the GS more than held it’s own. But most vehicles are not purchased after a run through the slalom. The average Luxury buyer will assume that the 5 series and E Class are superior to the Lexus in driving dynamics. The real challenge for Lexus will be getting enough prospects behind the wheel. With a target of 2,000 units per moth, this will be quite a challenge for Lexus. Production starts in December. Expect to see Super Bowl ads and cars on the road in February.

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