2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD

2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD

Competent Japanese luxury.

By: Andrew Krok

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: April 16th, 2014

To be frank, this will be a quick review. That's because this car, the 2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD, is capable of being summed up in relatively short order. That doesn't mean the car is bad, and that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to talk about. What it means is that the car is very well put together. Everything about it has a purpose. In this case, that purpose is luxury. And Lexus has the luxury mid-size sedan down pat.

There are two big packages that you can get with a GS 350 AWD - Luxury and F SPORT. F SPORT focuses on the sporty side of the GS, whereas Luxury ... well, you get it. The Luxury package bestows a plethora of comfort-centric options, including heated rear seats, semi-aniline leather interior, and 18-way power front seats. If you want to keep the price low, you can forego either package - the Luxury package on our tester tacked nearly seven grand onto the price tag.

  • Interior

    Unlike the GX 460 SUV we tested recently, everything you can touch in the GS 350 is soft and welcoming. The plasticky bits are hidden away under rolling waves of stitched leather. The 18-way power seats are capable of contorting to fit any body shape, and I especially liked how tight you could position the side bolsters. There's enough space in the center console for a small handbag, and there's enough space in the rear for three adults to sit in decent comfort.

  • Exterior

    It's undeniably Lexus; that massive hourglass-shaped grill will remind everybody of that. The lines are sharp front and rear, conveying a bit of aggression to break up the softness on both sides. It's closer to the IS than it is to the ES or the LS in that respect; the latter two are softer, without any sporting pretensions (and also F SPORT trim levels). It's just as pretty as the 5-Series, possibly even more than it if you go the F SPORT route.

  • On the Road

    Our tester came with the drive-mode selector, which allowed us to switch between Eco, Normal, Sport, and Sport+. Even with the Luxury package, Sport+ firms up the steering, throttle, and transmission shift points to provide a sportier driving experience. However, that sportiness is still marred by traditional Lexus steering, which is just a bit too numb to really provide any serious feedback.

    Luxury is what this car does well, especially as tested. Throw it in Normal or Eco, get on the highway, and relax. It's smooth and steady, and with the optional Mark Levinson surround-sound system, you can move the seat back a little bit and burn the miles away without wanting to move one inch.

    We've extoled the 12.3-inch split-screen infotainment system in other reviews, and that praise still stands with the GS 350. It's intuitive and quick to respond, unless you try shuffling through seven or eight songs on your iPod in short order. Then it needs a few seconds to catch up to you.

  • Final Thoughts

    Lexus knows how to make a comfortable mid-size luxury car. This one is no exception. It's not as sporty as it could be, although our real-world fuel economy had us wondering whether or not we were, in fact, driving a sports car. In a class dominated by exceptional products, the Lexus GS 350 is capable of standing on its own, although it doesn't really stand out.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: 3.5-liter, naturally-aspirated direct-injection V-6

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Power Output: 306 hp / 277 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy: 19 city / 26 highway

    Base Price: $49,950

    As Tested: $62,700 (incl. $910 destination)

    Optional Features: Mark Levinson premium 17-speaker sound system, navigation with 12.3-inch split-screen infotainment and apps, rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, power rear sunshade, blind-spot monitor, parking sensors, heated steering wheels, high-capacity interior heater, headlight washers, windshield-wiper deicer, water-repellent front door glass, adaptive variable suspension, drive-mode selector, heated rear seats, rear-door manual sunshades, three-zone climate control, 18-way power front seats, adaptive headlights, remote start.

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