11.01.2014

What An Extra $5,695 Can Do For Your Lexus GS350

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Lexus GS350 with F-Sport Package
Lexus GS350 with F-SPORT Package.
Lexus builds some fine sedans, the GS350 included, but they had until very recently been trapped by their image, one of sterile perfection.  No, there was nothing wrong with Lexus cars, they were utterly reliable, well-built and used fine quality materials, but they lacked sizzle, emotion and performance, making it difficult to attract buyers beyond those who were already Lexus fans.




Side view of 2014 Lexus GS350 with F-Sport Package
Lexus GS350 with F-SPORT Package.
Lexus' new angular design language, full of sharp creases, adds a sense of motion and menace, but to make the mid-size GS350 a true contender, you need to add the F-SPORT package.

Take a GS350 sedan, base price $49,950 (full standard equipment list here) and then add the F-SPORT package.  Actually, our test vehicle had the F-SPORT package and cold weather package bundled, so along with 19-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires, the F-SPORT tuned adaptive variable suspension, 16-way driver's seat, aluminum interior trim, a black headliner, F-SPORT exterior styling, and a rear spoiler, you also get rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, a power rear sunshade, a heated steering wheel, a windshield wiper de-icer and water-repellent front door glass.  Price $5,695.

Apart from the cold-weather gear, the real magic in all of that is the suspension, which takes the soft yet controlled handling of a stock GS350 and makes it a car that simply devours curves.  The handling is simply stellar. And the aggressive side bolsters in the F-SPORT seats keep you snugly in place through every winding inch.

Interior view of 2014 Lexus GS350 F-SPORT
Lexus GS350 F-SPORT interior.
Other options on our test vehicle were the blind spot monitor and power-folding exterior mirrors ($700), Mark Levinson premium surround sound audio system with 17 speakers and an 835-watt digital amplifier ($1,380),  navigation with a 12.3-inch screen and the Lexus Enform infotainment app suite ($1,735) and Intuitive Park Assist ($500).  With $910 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $60,870.

As Michael has pointed out before, performance really is about handling more than horsepower. We live in an age where V6 Accords and Camrys are faster than 5-liter Mustangs were 30 years ago. The Lexus GS350 with the F-SPORT package delivers an ideally-sized luxury sedan that is fairly economical (EPA estimate 19 city/26 highway) and that finds the fun in roads that are not just a straight line between two points.

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