“2017 Lexus GS350 F-SPORT”
A Modern Classic Luxury Sedan With Choices
Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division launched their all-new, fourth generation lineup four years ago in 2013 GS. It consisted of four model offerings – a base GS 350; a Luxury GS 350; and a Lexus GS 350 F-Sport ; and the GS 450H Hybrid model. They all came with new suspension, a Drive Mode Select feature with advanced technology in a package that blended luxury with Lexus’ new design philosophy.
All GS models offered an F-Sport Package which provided an engaging and enhanced visual character, while the GS 450h introduced the next generation D-4S fuel injection system and Atkinson Cycle V6 with an estimated 30 percent improvement in fuel economy. That new GS displayed bold new styling cues and enhanced interior accommodations. Now for the 2017 model year, three levels of performance will be offered with added enhancements and advanced safety technology as standard fare. There will be the GS 200t, GS 350 and GS 450h with an F-SPORT package available, along with the Lexus Safety System+ provided as standard for all.
The Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam and Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. 2017 GS models also include as standard Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
A Limited-Slip Differential is now Available for GS 350 RWD F SPORT; the GS 200t will offer a complimentary Navigation System; the GS 350 RWD and AWD models come with a 311-Horsepower V6; and the GS 450h Hybrid delivers up to 31-MPG EPA combined fuel economy.
The visual appeal of the GS series leads off with Lexus’ aggressive signature inverted trapezoidal-shaped upper and bottom-wide lower grille displaying what Lexus refers to as the “spindle grille”, arrowhead shaped LED Daytime Running Lamps, Bi-Xenon-High-Intensity Discharge headlamps; color-keyed exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals; LED rear combination lamps; lower bumper with integrated dual exhaust outlets with lateral fins (exhaust hidden on Hybrid models); a shark-fin antenna for Sirius/XM Satellite radio; Ultraviolet and infrared ray-reducing tinted glass for all windows; pronounced wheel flares and bumper corners; and slanted shape, “slingshot” windows and rear door trailing edges that project strength and stability.
Moving into the cabin, aluminum alloy “Lexus” stamped scuff plates appear on all doorsills, contrast stitching is executed on the soft vinyl-wrapped upper IP, seats, door panels and shift boot. LED ambient lighting is integrated into door trim and Remote Touch Interface surround area. Headrests are height adjustable for all seating positions, with 10-way power driver and front passenger seats and a fold-down center armrest. An analog clock appears, as well as a multitude of steering wheel control functions.
Power for the 2017 Lexus GS 350 is provided by a longitudinally front -mounted
3.5-liter DOHC, 24-valve V6 engine with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing, direct and sequential port fuel injection that makes 311 horsepower at 6,400 rpm while developing 289 pound feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Motive energy is transferred to the driving wheels – either RWD or AWD through an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and four power modes: Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport +.
The Lexus GS 350 offers an optionally available all-weather drive system featuring an electronically controlled center differential which provides a normal 30:70 torque split, with the rear-wheel bias favoring handling agility. The system reacts instantaneously to alter the split to as much as 50:50, depending on driving conditions, to help optimize traction.
Suspension componentry consists of a Double wishbone setup with high-mount upper arms, coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers and stabilizer bar up front, and a Multi-link unit with coil springs, gas-filled shocks and stabilizer bar. An Adaptive Variable Suspension with driver selectable shock absorber damping – standard on available F SPORT and Luxury packages.
My test 2017 Lexus GS350 F-SPORT wore an exterior coat of Matador Red Mica and featured a Black interior with textured Graphite-toned faux carbon fiber trim elements. The base price was set at 54,810., while optional equipment and features elevated the final total to $60,035. Options included: the Limited Slip Differential; Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System; Black brake calipers; Intuitive Park Assist; Cargo and Trunk mats and Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee.
SUMMARY: The F-Sport Package adds bolder visual cues featuring bolder and more aggressively designed lower front and rear fascias, pronounced rockers, a rear decklid spoiler, a uniquely specific grille texture treatment and staggered 19-inch wheels as standard fare.
The Lexus GS350 F-SPORT competes in a highly competitive market segment with the likes of Audi’s A6, BMW’s 5-Series and the E-Class of Mercedes-Benz. Many consumers will likely embrace it – others will not. It is certainly the best-looking GS to come from the Lexus design team. It is an exceptionally good-looking vehicle, but the profile fails to produce what would be considered an emotional stirring within for many.
The ride quality is exceptionally comfortable and the handling is indeed sporty, with crisp, precise responses. Acceleration from the 3.5-liter V6 is surprisingly rewarding for a relatively heavy luxury sport sedan. A unique Intake Sound
Creator provides a healthy and menacing growl when prodded with gusto. The GS 350 F-Sport rides on 19-inch staggered width wheels front to rear – with 235/40/19×8” front and 265/35/19×9” rear summer compound tires for a slightly more planted feel.
The interior ambience is most inviting and is particularly appealing. The 12.3-inch multi-info display allows for a 3-way split screen for information. A remote touch central controller is mouse-like in its operation for ease of function selection. Lexus Enform Safety Connect is standard on all 2017 Lexus vehicles, with access to Lexus Enform response centers 24/7/365. With Lexus Enform Service Connect, the vehicle can also send alerts for specific factory recommended maintenance, simultaneously alerting a preferred Lexus retailer. Use the MyLexusandBeyond mobile app (for iOS devices) or LexusDrivers.com website to set push-reminders and alerts for maintenance and service issues.
With Lexus Enform Remote (one-year trial subscription included), the customer can remotely view and control certain aspects of the GS using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Functions include remote door lock/unlock; remote start/stop for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor and more.
Bottom line, this latest iteration of the Lexus GS 350 F-SPORT seems to have finally gotten pretty much everything right – it is loaded with luxury and the performance is certainly more than adequate. Option Packages are available for enhanced personalization.
The 2017 Lexus GS350 F-SPORT comes with: a 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles; a 72 month/70,000 mile powertrain and restraint system coverage; and 72 months of corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.
Is the GS 350 a top contender in the Luxury Sport Sedan market? That can only be addressed by the individual consumer. It is definitely a contender, but the ranking must be determined by personal choice and preferences.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Lexus GS 350 F-Sport RWD
Base Price: $54,810.
Price as Tested: $60,035.
Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter DOHC, 24-valve V6 with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing, direct and sequential port fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 311 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 280 @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with wheel-mounted paddle shifters and Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport + modes.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – Double wishbone with high-mount upper arms, coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multi-link, coil springs, gas-filled shocks and stabilizer bar.
Adaptive Variable Suspension with driver selectable shock absorber damping – standard on available F SPORT and Luxury packages.
Brakes: Power-assisted four wheel vented discs with ABS, EBD, BA and VDIM.
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza REO 50 – 235/40 R19 front / 265/35 R19 rear summer tires mounted on 5-“V”-spoke alloy wheels painted in teo tone – Graphite and Silver alternate spokes.
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length Overall: 192.1 inches
Width: 72.4 inches – mirrors folded.
Height: 57.3 inches
Curb Weight: 3,726 lbs. – 4,830 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 17.4 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.27
0 – 60 mph: 5.7 seconds – Top track speed 143 mph
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.