The Lexus GS has gotten a complete overhaul for 2013, including a more rigid platform, a wider track, and design and performance characteristics borrowed from the LFA supercar. So, what better place to try out all of these performance improvements than on the racetrack at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway? While I didn’t put the GS through NASCAR-worthy paces, I did gauge its performance on the track, comparing it to competitors such as the Mercedes E-Class sedan and the BMW 5 Series.
Typically, Lexus has erred on the side of comfort instead of sport, so the new GS represents a serious departure from its predecessor. Hitting the track, the GS performed admirably. The steering feel is vastly improved, providing a tighter, more responsive feel. Around the track, the GS gripped the road tightly and cornered admirably. After taking the GS on a lap around the course, I got behind the wheel of the E-Class, for comparison’s sake. And that’s when I truly appreciated the stiffness in the GS’ chassis, its grip on the track and its precise handling. While the E-Class drifted through the turns and floated down the track, the GS held firm. GS comes in rear- and all-wheel drive versions, with the base engine producing 306 horsepower.
There’s also a lot of new technology packed into the GS. GS models equipped with the optional navigation system will also have access to the next-generation Lexus Enform® Application Suite. Through this system, users can access voice-enabled apps to make restaurant reservations, buy movie tickets or use internet radio services like Pandora or IHeartRadio.
Significant cosmetic changes also come to the GS this model year, most notably in the aggressively styled front end that Lexus has dubbed the spindle grille. To me, it looks a little Lego-esque in its trapezoidal angularity. Overall, the styling is attractive, but won’t draw too much attention from passersby. The interior is attractive, highly functional, and features more passenger room than the previous model.
There’s a lot of tech-speak surrounding the launch of the GS, the multi-link suspension, an increased number of spot welds, front and rear aluminum control arms, but it all boils down to one important fact: this car is fun to drive, whether on the track or in everyday life.
Luxury never comes without its price, and the GS is no exception. Starting at $46,900, it also comes in a performance F model and a hybrid GS 450h. However, pricing is on par with others in the class. And, in my opinion, Lexus has really stepped up its game with the new GS, giving both BMW and Mercedes a run for the title of top sports sedan.