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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2020 Lexus GS 350 F-Sport

      One last drive before going away

    When I was driving the 2020 Lexus GS in late February, rumors were flying around that the model would be discontinued at the end of the model year. There was some credence to this rumor as sales had been falling and Lexus hasn’t been updating the model to keep it somewhat up to date with competitors. It would sometime later that we learned that the GS would be going away at the end. So this is the last look at a sedan that I liked at the beginning but now have some mixed feelings.

    • Not much has changed in the overall design of the GS since our last review in 2018. The F-Sport has its tweaks such as a mesh grille insert, more aggressive bumpers, and dual-spoke wheels. I still find this sedan very striking, especially in this bright blue.
    • The interior is much the same as the 2013 and 2017 models I have driven. Plus points are high-quality materials, very comfortable front seats, and an easy to read instrument cluster. Downsides are the very dated infotainment system and confounding controller for it; and tall transmission tunnel that eats into rear legroom.
    • Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in many Lexus and Toyota vehicles. In the GS, it produces 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet.
    • My test vehicle came with the optional all-wheel drive system, which means a six-speed automatic is standard. Sticking with rear-wheel drive gets you the eight-speed.
    • The performance of the V6 doesn’t really wow as it once did. 0-60 takes around six seconds for the AWD version, which is unremarkable as other competitors can do the same in around five seconds or less. Not helping is the six-speed automatic which limits the flexibility of the engine. The pluses to the V6 are minimal NVH levels and silky smooth power delivery.
    • The EPA says the GS 350 AWD will return 19 City/26 Highway/21 Combined. I saw an average of 22 mpg during my week.
    • The GS surprised me as to how it well handled in the corners, especially in the F-Sport trim. That continues here as the GS 350 F-Sport AWD shows off minimal body roll and sharp steering. You do miss out on some of the trick features on the RWD model such as limited-slip differential and variable gear-ratio steering, but you’re likely not to notice it.
    • What is a bit surprising is the GS F-Sport’s ride quality. Those expecting more bumps to disrupt the ride will be surprised as the GS glides over them like it was nothing. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels.
    • Previously, the GS 350 F-Sport would have been my recommendation for a luxury midsize sedan with a sporting edge. Now, it is difficult for me to recommend the GS at all considering the age and how many competitors have moved forward. Right now, I would go with a BMW 5-Series as being the one for sport while the S90 takes the place of being something a bit different in the class.
    • Still, if I had the opportunity to get my hands on the GS 350 F-Sport, I would do it. This is a prime example of do as I say, not as I do.

    Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the GS 350, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2020
    Make: Lexus
    Model: GS
    Trim: 350 F-Sport AWD
    Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve VVT- V6
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 311 @ 6,400
    Torque @ RPM: 280 @ 4,800
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/26/22
    Curb Weight: 3,891 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
    Base Price: $54,505

    Author's Note: Unfortunately, I lost my copy of the window sticker for this particular test vehicle, hence why I don't have the as-tested price or option list for this review.


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    15 minutes ago, David said:

    Meh, Rebadge of the Camry to me, nothing special.

    Nothing remotely to do with the Camry.  You are thinking of the ES.  The GS has a proper RWD platform, not transverse engine FWD shit.   I've read the GS is decent sports sedan.

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    17 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    Nothing remotely to do with the Camry.  You are thinking of the ES.  The GS has a proper RWD platform, not transverse engine FWD shit.   I've read the GS is decent sports sedan.

    That might be so, but the rear tail lights say Camry to me, body lines, etc. I bet they reuse plenty of parts from the Camry in this RWD sedan.

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    Just now, David said:

    That might be so, but the rear tail lights say Camry to me, body lines, etc. I bet they reuse plenty of parts from the Camry in this RWD sedan.

    Probably no panels in common.    The ES is based on the Camry platform, though. 

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    This vehicle gets an "F" as it's grade for sportiness.  280 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm?  6 speed auto?  Marginal numbers 10 years ago, pathetic by today's standard.  Just another victim of the 5-series and E-class which have retired the GS, Q70, RLX, CT6, Continental  in the past 12 months.

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    17 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    This vehicle gets an "F" as it's grade for sportiness.  280 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm?  6 speed auto?  Marginal numbers 10 years ago, pathetic by today's standard.  Just another victim of the 5-series and E-class which have retired the GS, Q70, RLX, CT6, Continental  in the past 12 months.

    Basically, Lexus either needs to bring it or go home.  BMW here crushes the competition in this segment for years if not decades.  The RLX and the Continental are FWD, so that does not really apply.  The CT6 is full size.  It seems that only the KIA Stinger is the only non-German competition left in this segment.

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