A luxurious sedan designed to fight the German heavyweights such as the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class, the 2015 Lexus GS 350 represents an alternative worthy of considering, especially with the inclusion of the optional F-Sport package. Driven by a driver-focused philosophy, the package in question includes both mechanical enhancements as well as more aggressive visual cues, in an attempt to make the automobile more appealing to an audience with ever growing expectations.
The front fascia features the trademark Lexus spindle grille as its central focal point, with F-Sport specific mesh inserts. Flanking it, a pair of sharp headlamps with the signature arrow pattern LEDs oversees the aggressive front bumper. Shaped as much by aesthetics as well as by functionality, the bumper features ample air intakes that are seemingly sculpted in metal, while air ducts channel air to the front brakes, providing additional cooling and – for the connoisseurs – a pleasant visual spectacle.
The side profile is typical Lexus fare, as only the profiled side skirts stand out as being different from the stock variant. Flowing to the rear, the arched roofline emphasises the athletic character of the car, while sporty elements such as a subtle boot spoiler and an air diffuser flanked by a pair of chrome coated exhaust tips complete the image. While having an overall pleasing image, its design is rather understated and, for a model bearing the “Sport” nomenclature, we would have preferred a slightly more accentuated presence of the said element.
The interior, however, is in stark contrast with the outer lines of the car. In line with ultra high tech image that Lexus grew us accustomed to, the cabin space is ample, allowing for the seating of five adults. With a level of quality rivalling and even surpassing its rivals on some key area, the GS 350 F-Sport features surfaces that transmit a pleasant tactile sensation, expansive inserts ranging from brushed aluminium to genuine wood veneer and a massive 12.3 inch screen embedded in the dashboard. The centre console also stands out through its impressive ergonomics and excellently integrated trim inserts, while the multifunction steering wheel feels sporty and elegant.
Capable of determining the optimum steering angle for all four wheels according to an array of parameters, the Lexus Dynamic Handling system with Dynamic Rear Steering is in charge of improving the responsiveness and overall dynamics of the drivetrain, assisting the driver in demanding situations. The Adaptive Variable Suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers allows for greater flexibility in ride quality and handling, as well as sharpening the connection with the road and providing extensive feedback to the person behind the wheel. Other notable elements in the F-Sport version include a heated steering wheel, a 16 way adjustable driver’s seat, aluminium pedals, striated aluminium interior trim and 19 inch alloy wheels with a double spoke design.
Hidden under the bonnet, a 3.5 litre gas powered V6 engine, capable of producing 306 horsepower and 277 lb ft of torque is being offered. Linked to an eight speed automatic transmission, it provides an estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The powerplant is a capable unit, which will insure swift reactions even in more demanding situations, such as high speed manoeuvres. An AWD option is also available, but, unless your location dictates it as a mandatory option, we would advise against purchasing it. Although capable in more unpredictable weather situations, the AWD system adds more weight and disengages the driver even more from the spirited experience that the rear wheel drive system offers, not to mention that it comes only with a less fuel efficient six speed automatic.