June 25, 2014
2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD F Sport. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
I reviewed Lexus’ GS 350 AWD a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. So I was looking forward to getting into one again – only this time it arrived with the F Sport package.
The GS has long been an exercise in flowing lines, but this generation saw a substantial change, with a design that flows more smoothly. Up front, you’ll find Lexus’s new corporate face, the love-it-or-hate-it spindle grille. I like it, but in this trim, it gets a significant change – an enlarged F Sport grille and some angry-looking intake openings that Lexus claims is LFA-inspired. The whole connection with the LFA is a bit rich, but there is no denying the front end’s aggressive changes. Note that the F Sport’s aggressive new front end deletes the GS’s fog lights.
The long, sculpted hood is delightful and rich-looking headlight clusters get signature LED driving lights that look mean as the car is coming toward you. Nicely integrated rear taillight assemblies look good as do the integrated exhaust finishers. I found them handsome, but not everyone liked how showy they are.
I really liked the 10-spoke 19-inch F Sport wheels – they are spicy and can be shod with staggered-width rubber: 235/40s in the front and 265/35s in the rear. BOOM! Those are some serious tires!
The GS interior is simply one of the best in the industry, in my opinion. Luxurious, laden with technology, stunning use of materials and absolutely first-rate fit and finish. Nearly every surface has a soft, tactile, textured feel to it. There is stitching everywhere. The woodgrain is lovely. And the reddish leather trim in this GS was gorgeous! I was smitten. The seats are good. Really good. Exceptionally comfortable, heated and power-adjustable. And enough bolstering and support to live up to the F Sport package’s sportiness claims. The GS cabin isn’t small, but the headroom is less than I expected. It’s enough for me, at 5’10″ but taller drivers might be surprised.
A wonderful F Sport–specific steering wheel greets you. Look through it and you’ll find Lexus trademark crystal clear gauges and a driver information screen. The dash design is interesting and flows smoothly, much like the outside of the car. Front and centre is a stunningly large 12.3-inch screen – the biggest in the industry. It handles the car’s media, phone, navigation and climate control functions as well as the back-up camera feed. Unfortunately, the screen is controlled by Lexus’s Remote Touch interface, a sad mouse-like thing on the console that acts more as an irritant than a user-friendly input device. The center console is home to the gear selector and the drive-mode selector, as well as a big armrest.
2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD F Sport engine bay & dashboard. Click image to enlarge
Luxurious touches such as headlight washers, a powered rear window sunshade and powered trunk opener/closer are nice and the sound system was absolutely wonderful.
You’ll find plenty of spaces to drop your stuff throughout the cabin and the trunk is easily accessible, thanks to that power opener. It’s quite large at 530 L, though the rear wheel wells are surprisingly intrusive here and result in a strangely shaped cargo space.
The rear has three seats, three seatbelts and three headrests. The two outboard seats are awesome, deep buckets and they even offer a decent amount of bolstering, which is quite rare for rear seats. Unfortunately, the middle seating position is narrow, raised and perched over a massive drive shaft tunnel making it difficult for any adult to use. Headroom in the back is reasonable, as is the legroom. There was less of each than I expected, but it is adequate.
2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD F Sport seating & trunk. Click image to enlarge
Our three kids were happy in the back, width-wise, but the centre tunnel really caused issues with legroom. There are two sets of LATCH anchors for kid’s seats if you need them.
While F Sport makes people think increased performance all around, there are actually no changes in the engine bay. It is the same 3.5L V6 putting out 306 hp at 6,400 rpm and 277 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 pm. The GS’s power makes its way through a six-speed automatic transmission and to the road via an all-wheel-drive system. The car is no flyweight at 1,800 kg (3,970 lb).