2017 Lexus GS 350 review with video


The basics:

Base price: $58,200 + taxes
As tested: $68,500 + taxes (F-sport Series 2 package)
Average fuel economy during our road test: 12.5 L/100 kms (18.8 US MPG)
Competition: Audi A6, BMW 5 series, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti Q70, Mercedes E-class, etc

The Lexus GS has been a solid, reliable mainstay of the mid-size sedan segment since 1993. If you’re looking for the flash or flourish of a BMW or Mercedes, you may overlook this car. But it has a lot of great reasons to give it a second look. We’re still in the fourth generation of the GS, released in 2011 with a face-lift for 2015. But new for 2017 is the introduction of the Lexus Safety System on all trims and the smokey granite mica colour we had in our tester. It looks good! What’s curious about the GS though is that Lexus has decided to put two vehicles into the same mid-size sedan segment – making the ES, in many ways, a competitor within the same brand. Based on our test of the cheaper ES (starts at $43,000) a couple years back, we encountered better second row comfort and fuel economy while the GS impressed us more from a fit and finish, and performance perspective. For a full review of this car, make sure to watch the video above and then read our bullet point report card below.

Pros:
– Steady, confident power out of the 3.5-litre V6. And since this is not a turbo, there’s no lag (while you can get the GS with a smaller turbo in the US, that’s not an option in Canada)
– The engine note out of this engine is also perfect for a Lexus. Not too growly or aggressive but still subtly addictive
– All wheel drive is also standard for Canadians on the GS 350 but if you opt for the rather spendy hybrid GS 450h, it is only available with rear wheel drive
– Speaking of the hybrid, which starts at a rather steep $76,400, it’s managed to offer best in class fuel economy while still chewing through 0-100 kms/hr in an impressive 5.6 seconds
– This is a fun, inspiring car to drive. Our GS 350 with the F-sport package had adaptive variable suspension which really kept it glued to the road. This is also offered as part of the Executive package. The paddle shifters standard on all trims also help make the car feel more sporty
– The GS has great sound! A 17 speaker Mark Levinson sound system comes with both the Executive and F-sport package but the standard 12 speaker system is also excellent
– And these speakers are married to a 12.3 inch infotainment system screen that’s bigger than the TV I grew watching in our living room and leads the segment
– The trunk looks small from the outside but it’s deceptive, offering 520 litres of capacity. That’s more than enough for our standardized trunk test and is rather deep for longer items
– And this almost goes without saying, but a real Lexus advantage is its reliability and resale

Cons:
– The fuel economy is pretty poor. We averaged 12.5 L/100 kms. Lexus suggests: 9.2-12.4 L/100 kms. Either way, that’s not great. Compare this to the 400 hp twin turbo Lincoln MKZ we tested last year, and we saw 9.2 L/100 kms. That’s from a more sporty feeling vehicle, too
– The interior was also a bit noisier than expected around the door seals – I actually thought a window was open at first. We hit 61 decibels at 100 kms/hr with our regular test
– We also were getting vibration under braking – but that’s likely just a one off
– The 19 inch rims and low pro tires in the F-sport package we tested are rather rough for more of a cruising sedan. Seemed unnecessary and took away from the luxury feel of the car
– And speaking of ride comfort, the 16 way adjustable F-sport seats give excellent back support but the actual butt portion of the seat feels flat bottomed and unsupportive. 10 way adjustable front seats come on the base trim of the GS
– Lexus and Toyota are lagging way behind at this point with their infotainment systems. While I know some like it, the mouse-style control interface is widely panned in the industry. And Apple Carplay and Android Auto are still┬ánot available
– The interior is generally very well executed but the cup holder cover in the centre console isn’t flush when closed and blocks the heated/ventilated seat controls when open. Seems like a strange design oversight
– While the ES from Lexus might look smaller, we were surprised to find that it’s tighter in the second row of the GS (36.8 vs 40 inches of rear legroom)
– The middle seat in the second row is rather unusable thanks to a big hump in the floor. Even small kids would find this uncomfortable. The GS is basically a four passenger car

Family Wheels report card:

Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 3.5/5 (61 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 4/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 4/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 3/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 3.5/5

Family Wheels overall score: 36.5/50= 73%

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