2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD
2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD. Click image to enlarge

First Drive: 2013 Lexus GS
Used Vehicle Review: Lexus GS, 2006-2012

Manufacturer’s web site
Lexus Canada

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Photo Gallery:
2013 Lexus GS

Sometimes you just get lucky. For the second time in the past six months, I had my Range Rover Evoque booking cancelled. Bummer, right? So on a long shot, I fire off an email to our Toyota/Lexus PR Rep asking if the GS 350 I have booked for July is free, thinking, “What the hell, it can’t hurt to ask…” Well, the gods were smiling on me that day and my “hail Mary” was answered with a “You’re in luck.” And as a bonus, I was first in line to Test Drive the GS 350 on home soil.

If you’re wondering why I was so excited to drive this executive sedan, well, first just look at it… I’m not afraid to call it gorgeous (from most angles), although not everyone agreed with me. However, one of the things that impressed me most was how Lexus designer turned the corner from the two previous generations, which I found downright clunky and awkward. The coup de grâce is the $4,800 F-Sport package that finishes the look perfectly with just the right amount of aggression to stake a claim in sport sedan territory.

2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD
2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD
2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD
2013 Lexus GS 350 AWD. Click image to enlarge

The spindle grille and wide lower air dam with sharply creased mandibles look ready to chew up asphalt and spit out speed. The headlights are sharp and yet simply tasteful. Lexus doesn’t bother with any claim to coupe-like styling, but they put just the right amount of flow into the D pillar stretching into the trunk lid and borrowed the famed Hofmeister kink (bending the rear window line forward just before it hits the beltline) from their German rivals, and to great effect with a subtle reflection of the chromed spindle grill. Finishing things off are a set of gunmetal F-Sport 19-inch alloys, taillights that pinch into the chrome strip highlighting the trunk, deck-lid spoiler, and tailpipe tips integrated into the rear valance.

The interior also gets a fair amount of kit, but more impressive than the equipment was the execution. This interior is easily the nicest interior I’ve ever seen in a Lexus from a design perspective — in particular, the slightly industrial housing for the central vents and analog clock and the retro, metal-look, smooth spinning stereo knobs. Very cool.

Beyond that design stroke, the dash surrounded the massive 12.3-inch screen with similar sharpness to the exterior, the gauges are bright and clear, and the dash-top leather met the soft-touch plastics with immaculate contrasting stitching. The entire cabin was a paragon of luxury and craftsmanship, with the exception of the patterned, embossed plastic accent strips across the dash and door panels. Visually they break the space nicely, but they felt a bit cheap in an otherwise rich cabin; real aluminum with the F-Sport or real wood trim in more luxury-oriented models would have been a perfect complement to the striking design. At least they didn’t use imitation wood or, even worse, real wood trim that looks cheap and fake, as some luxury marques do.

Other notable base equipment includes dual zone climate control, 12-speaker Lexus premium audio system (with all the sound quality I’d ever need) with satellite radio, Bluetooth phone and audio, auxiliary and USB inputs, and leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise control, phone, and audio controls.

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