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2014 Lexus GS 350 Overview
Are those German cars too expensive and over-engineered for you? Check out the 2014 Lexus GS 350. This Japanese-made (Toyota) 5-passenger midsize luxury sedan, already a popular offering in the U.S., boasts some added tweaks for this year, including an 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission boasting steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters as well as LED daytime running lights and front fog/driving lights and Apple’s Siri Eyes-Free iPhone interface with steering-wheel-mounted controls. All of this is, of course, an effort to boost this luxury-laden Lexus’ appeal in Asian and European markets, where sales are tepid at best.
Again offered in the traditional Base trim, this agile and powerful 4-door is delivered with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD), but remains available in a full-time all-wheel-drive GS 350 AWD sub-trim. Said all-wheel-drive system throws most of its torque to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions and stands ready to split power equally to front and rear axles when things get slippery.
Power is once again delivered in the form of a well-wrought 3.5-liter V6 engine mated with a new 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission in RWD editions, with AWD variants still toting the old 6-speed shiftable automatic. Look for 306 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque from the peppy 6-banger, while the debuting 8-speed automatic, still packing variable valve timing (VVT), now offers an estimated 19 mpg city/29 highway in RWD-equipped trims, while the AWD version stands pat at 19/26.
Of course, as the GS 350 is part of the Lexus legacy, it comes with those posh features we’ve grown to know and love, like 17-inch alloy wheels, heated reverse-tilting power mirrors and a power sunroof outside, while leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats and leather, wood, and simulated alloy cabin accents adorn the inside. The split-folding rear seatbacks that add a little more room to the car's already spacious 14.3-cubic-foot trunk capacity also return for this year.
Cruise control of course remains in the 2014 edition of the GS 350, as do telescoping tilt-wheel steering, a rear-view camera and Enform infotainment that again interfaces with Bluetooth hands-free calling. All this is further bolstered by a standard remote garage door opener, memory for driver's settings, dual-zone climate control and a single-CD player boasting 12 speakers, satellite radio, Surround Sound and a USB connection.
Options, meantime, are mainly in package form and include upgraded and upsized wheels, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and upgraded leather upholstery, with Lexus’ Dynamic Handling System with Dynamic Rear Steering and the F Sport Package with sport-tuned suspension once more returning for this year. A head-up windshield display is again available to this plush sedan, as is a hard-disc-drive (HDD) navigation system with 12-inch monitor and enhanced Enform iPhone apps, not to mention an 850-watt, 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.
Finally, noteworthy standard safety features in the 2014 GS 350 again include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. The new-for-2014 LED daytime running lights and front fog/driving lights are complemented by adaptive high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, while turn-signal-integrated mirrors, a post-collision safety system and Enform emergency communications are reprised for this year. Optional safety equipment, meanwhile, again includes a blind-spot alert system, Lexus’ self-explanatory Intuitive Parking Assist, lane-departure warning and pre-collision preparation accompanying radar-based adaptive cruise control.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.