Quick Drive: 2013 Lexus GS350 AWD

Reviews I By Brandon Turkus I July 26, 2012
—Lake Orion, Michigan
 
From a practical point of view, adding all-wheel drive to the Lexus GS350 makes a whole heaping helping of sense. After all, every other car in this class offers an all-wheels-driven solution. BMW has its xDrive, Mercedes offers 4Matic, and Audi has its legendary Quattro system. While Lexus hasn’t thought up a clever brand name for its AWD, it has given us a week in the car to see how it stacks up in the luxury car marketplace.
 
Even though the driven wheels are different, the GS utilized the same 3.5-liter V-6 engine that we tested in the rear-drive car. This mill churned out 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Power was distributed by a six-speed automatic transmission, just like the rear-drive GS. Despite these similarities, the GS AWD didn’t feel as fleet of foot as the standard car.
 
 
The numbers told us the same thing, with the sprint to 60 miles per hour taking 6.0 seconds, as opposed to the 5.7-second run in the rear-drive car. From an experiential standpoint, our tester lost out in the lower part of the rev range, and didn’t seem as willing to rev. Throttle response, even in the most-hardcore Sport mode, felt just a hair sluggish, as well.
 
Quick Drive: 2013 Lexus GS350 AWDWhile it might not be as quick off the line as the rear-drive GS, its lack of pace couldn’t be blamed on the transmission. Left in full auto, it delivered crisp upshifts regardless of throttle input, and downshifts happened at the right time with a minimal amount of hunting through the gears.
 
The manual mode allowed us to take things into our own hands, and performed well. The steering-wheel-mounted paddles were properly sized and easy to use. The action was smooth, and the transmission responded well to our inputs.
 
The GS350’s handling profile wasn’t dramatically altered when going from rear to all-wheel-drive models. This was still a moderately sporting car, with decent roll control, plenty of grip when pushed, and balanced handling overall. Our big complaint in the suspension department was that the damping felt just a tad too soft. We noticed a fair amount of vertical motion in relaxed cruising situations, which didn’t aid highway stability.
 
Like the 2013 Lexus ES, the GS350 AWD is a prime car if comfort is your big concern. It’s exceptionally quiet at speed, managing wind noise and tire roar well. It wasn’t all good though. The Intake Sound Creator (a membrane in the A-pillar that pipes induction noise into the cabin) began to sound artificial after a few days, and really didn’t fit the overall character of the car (that of the relaxed luxury sedan).
 
Lexus’s new interiors have been a strong area lately, and we continue to be impressed with the GS. The wood-rimmed steering wheel felt good in the hand, and the overall layout of the cabin grew on us during our week with it. We were still having a hard time coping with the new mouse interface for the infotainment system, having trouble switching between screens. An option to alter the force-feedback of the mouse when transitioning screens would be a welcomed addition.
 
If you need an all-wheel-drive luxury sedan, Lexus’s GS makes a very strong case. That being said, if you can survive without all-wheel grip, we’d really recommend opting for the rear-drive GS—a more entertaining ride for a bit less cash.
 
2013 Lexus GS350 AWD
Engine: V-6, 3.5 liters, 24v
Output: 306 hp/277 lb-ft
Weight: 3970 lb
Fuel Economy, City/Hwy: 19/26 mpg
0-60 MPH: 6.0 sec
Base Price: $49,450
 

The Guide to Road Racing: Winding Road Magazine's ultimate guide to getting your start in racing.

Table of Contents

Related Articles

Driven: 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec

Its action was light at low speeds, loaded up in corners, and confidently weighted on the highway, which is the ideal setup in any new car.

November 09, 2022
Another Porsche Book? Yes and We Love It!

Porsche, deservingly if you ask us, has been covered over and over in a series of coffee table books. So, why another one? Can it really add value?

October 21, 2022
Best Electric Cars for Teens & New Drivers (10 Great Models) – 2022 Edition

The good news is that there are several great electric cars on the market that are perfect for teens.

October 07, 2022
Driven: 2022 BMW M4 6-Speed Manual

For potentially the last fully internal combustion M-level 4 Series, ever, we were hoping for better out of the 2022 BMW M4.

October 03, 2022
Review: Bell Racing RS7C LTWT Carbon Helmet

The Bell Racing RS7C LTWT Carbon is a pretty compelling helmet. It offers best in class ventilation and airflow, in addition to being one of the lightest helmets in its category.

September 20, 2022

EMAIL SIGN UP

Get the latest driving and racing news straight to your inbox.

no thanks

Begin typing your search above and press return to search.