$19,977 - $20,206

2013 Lexus GS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Lexus GS was new.


Performance: 8.0

Test drivers say the redesigned 2013 Lexus GS has sporty handling and a comfortable ride, and they add that the GS 350’s V6 provides strong acceleration. Still, some critics say the BMW 535i trumps the GS with strong brakes and better steering feel.

  • "The GS350, particularly the F Sport, shows real progress in making a more rewarding driver's car. … There is, however, room to take the GS further in the sports direction, with turbocharging or supercharging, additional gears, and a still more focused chassis." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "No matter the model, GS has a sporty, satisfying exhaust note during acceleration but is nearly silent at cruise." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "This car is fun. And the more comfortable I get with the machine, the faster I go. After a few miles at a safe seven-tenths I turn it up a notch and the new GS hangs in there, responding to trail braking and midcorner corrections like...like...dare I say it, like a BMW. It turns in well and takes a nice set in long corners. Plenty of grip." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Lexus GS 350 is powered by a 306-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. This engine carries over from the 2011 model but adds three horsepower. Power is routed to a six-speed automatic transmission, which also carries over from the previous generation, and the GS is available with either rear- or all-wheel drive. The 2013 Lexus GS 350 gets up to 19/28 mpg city/highway. These figures are better than the fuel economy estimates of the Infiniti M37, but not quite as good as those of the BMW 535i or the Mercedes-Benz E350.

Most reviewers agree that the GS 350’s V6 provides strong acceleration. Though critics write that the GS' six-speed transmission performs adequately, they say it’s outdated in comparison with the seven- and eight-speed transmissions offered by many competitors, and while the GS features a cool rev-matching feature, which automatically blips the throttle when you downshift, one test driver notes that rev-matching only happens if the car is in manual mode.

  • "A drive select knob alters throttle response, although the differences are subtle." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Any GS feels strong from a stop, and has more than adequate power for highway merges and passing." -- Consumer Guide
  • "My only real dynamic gripe about the 2013 Lexus GS 350 is with its transmission. Although it matches revs very well when you manually ask for a downshift, it only matches revs if the shifter is over in the M position. Otherwise the paddle shifters are still active but the rev-matching is not." -- Edmunds 
  • "A center-mounted shifter has a left-gate slap-shift feature that’s also invoked (easier, I say) by steering-wheel paddles. Like the best of such systems, this one blips throttle artfully on manual-range downshifts." -- Road and Track 
  • "The six-speed automatic transmission has been revised, it up- and downshifts more quickly and the driver has more control of shift timing. The responsiveness of the shift paddles has also been heightened, and when you're swapping cogs yourself, the engine will blip the throttle during downshifts in the sportier modes." -- Autoblog 

Handling and Braking

Most critics rave about the new 2013 Lexus GS’ handling. Many draw comparisons with the BMW 535i, and while one critic says that the GS corners better, others say the 535i has better steering feel and stronger brakes. F Sport and Luxury models gain an adaptive suspension system, but most reviewers agree that there’s little difference in ride quality between Normal and Sport modes.

  • "Speaking of BMW, though, there was a 5-series on hand at the autocross course, and its steering did feel more natural -- and the 5-series hardly provides the ultimate in BMW steering -- and the BMW chassis, although more tail-happy, also seemed more progressive when it let go." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "GS is nimble with minimal cornering lean and good grip. Steering is quick and accurate." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Braking is responsive and might be the best of any Lexus on the market, although that's not a ringing endorsement in itself. It falls between the aggressive braking of the 5 Series and the more lethargic Infiniti M sedan." -- Cars.com 
  • "The F Sport is tuned more firmly than the standard car, but it's still very comfortable around town. The standard car also has plenty of feel built in, but it is on the softer side once the suspension gets into its travel." -- Edmunds

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