Northern Exposure: Lexus GS 350 F Sport vs ‘Icepocalypse’ winter driving car test drives luxury cars lexus
2013 Lexus GS 350 F-Sport. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s Website
Lexus Canada

Review and photos by Justin Pritchard
2013 Lexus GS F-Sport

Another week, another bout of nasty weather. Sudbury hasn’t yet been spared a shred of Mother Nature’s frigid fury this winter, and on the last Wednesday in January, Facebook was rife with messages from the fretting masses about the weather forecast.

Heavy rain was imminent, and would be followed with a massive temperature drop, and then a generous dumping of snow.

Since the roads were going to be a crusty, slippery mess, schools had been preemptively shut down for the next day. City transit and garbage collection? Cancelled. Travel plans? Up in flames faster than a Fisker Karma.

As the weather began to turn, sheets of ice began colonizing the roadways, and fine, powdery snow was starting to fall. I went to Canadian Tire to browse the power drills and stud finders, because I had a shelf to hang. I arrived at 6 pm to find it closed, 3 hours early.
Oh, the panic. Damn you Facebook, for reducing drivers in my Northern Ontario community to a bunch of chickens because of a bit of rain and ice.

Our forefathers went to Canadian Tire in ice-storms with their three-inch-wide bias-ply tires, rear-wheel drive, and 87-percent front weight bias. They’d shake their heads and canes at us.

Northern Exposure: Lexus GS 350 F Sport vs ‘Icepocalypse’ winter driving car test drives luxury cars lexus
2013 Lexus GS 350 F-Sport. Click image to enlarge

Since I wouldn’t be able to hang my new shelf, I decided to take a spin, er, drive.

The vehicle for this week’s lousy weather gallivanting was one 2013 Lexus GS350 F-Sport—namely one with rear-wheel drive. In the interests of preserving it in my custody, Lexus staff installed a set of Pirelli Sottozeros, which are on my top-five list of favorite winter tires. A few interesting things about driving the GS in nasty winter weather came to light over the next few hours.

Built-in Relaxation: The GS sets the stage for successful bad-weather travels by way of its very character. This is a luxury sedan—and one honed from years of experience building machines designed to relax their drivers.

It’s laid back. Quiet. Comfortable. Everything is automatic—right down to the lights and wipers. Steering wheel controls and voice command mean you don’t even need to take your hands off of the wheel to do just about anything.

More than just features, the GS’ sense of tranquility comes from careful attention to blocking unpleasant sensations and noises from the cabin. For instance, when you hit a slush-rut in some cars, the steering goes wonkier than a shopping cart with a gimp wheel. In the GS, the heavyset steering doesn’t argue with you or deviate from its line. It rarely puts up a fuss.

When the tires spin on snow and then suddenly find traction, they do so gracefully. You don’t feel the differential binding up, the car lurching forward or the tires spinning. No clunking or harshness. Hit some heavy slush or a deep puddle, and even the sound of the splash beneath the car seems faint and distant.

So, the first thing you notice driving the new GS in lousy weather is how easy it is to be at ease. And being at ease is important if you don’t want to have a meeting with a snow-filled ditch and a tow-truck driver named Al.

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