The Lexus GS mid-size sedan gets one update of note for 2017, that being the addition of the Lexus Safety System + as standard kit across the line; this package of pre-collision system, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams and radar cruise control was added as an option in 2016.
Entry to the GS lineup is through this model, the GS 350 AWD. Where German competitors like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class start out as base models with four-cylinder power, Lexus takes the GS straight into V6 territory with a car powered by a 3.5L engine that makes 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and comes matched with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Note that Lexus also makes a hybrid version of this car, called the GS 450h, covered in its own, separate buyer's guide entry.
We will tell you that six-speed does a fine job of getting the GS' power to the road, but nevertheless this mid-range Lexus is at a disadvantage in some consumers' minds as many of its competitors -- those Germans included -- use eight-speed transmissions. Some drivers might also miss the torque evident in, say, the turbocharged six-cylinder used in the BMW 535i.
As much as this car's Toyota-built V6 is an excellent performer, the GS is less of a driver's machine than we're used to from Germany. There's not a lot of steering feel on offer, and though handling is agile there's little mechanical reward for pushing the GS through a quick corner. This car is better at long-distance cruising; ironically, we feel like it would feel right at home on non speed-restricted sections of Germany's Autobahn.
Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption estimates are 12.4/9.2 L/100 km (city/highway).
For a starting price of $57,900, the GS 350 AWD comes in a single trim that can be augmented with a number of option packages. Standard kit includes a leather-trimmed heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch wheels, 12-speaker stereo, navigation with 12.3-inch display, 10-way heated front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, sunroof, steerable LED headlights with auto-levelling and a windshield de-icer.
For $62,350, the Premium package adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, ventilated front seats, power-assisted trunk closer, front and rear parking sensors and upgraded LED headlights.
A $69,150 Executive package brings adaptive variable suspension, 19-inch wheels, woodgrain steering wheel trim, heated rear seats, rear-seat climate controls, premium leather upholstery, 17-speaker stereo 18-way adjustable front seats and a head-up display.
An alternative to that is the F Sport Series II group, for $68,500, which includes sport-oriented styling touches, 16-way sport driver's seat, F Sport steering wheel and aluminum dash and pedal accents.