Lexus 2013 GS 350 Debuts at Pebble Beach

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Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda and Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president, with the 2013 Lexus GS 350 at its unveiling in Pebble Beach.

Lexus today unveiled the new 2013 GS 350 at a press conference ahead of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday. Notable about the revised sedan is slightly more interior room and trunk space even though exterior dimensions of the mid-size are almost unchanged.

The 2013 Lexus GS changes from previous rounded Lexus designs by way of its more angular sculpted exterior. Lexus said it will lead the rest of the lineup in an “entirely new direction” that appears derivative of front and rear themes developed by Ford of Europe, Audi, BMW and Cadillac. Overall, the new GS sheet metal represents a “significant extension of the Lexus L-finesse philosophy that is the core of all Lexus product design,” according to Lexus.

Fins – yes fins – incorporated into the side of the tail lamps and the trunk help direct air over and past the car, resulting in what’s said to be a class leading coefficient of drag.  From the side, there are tapered lower rocker panel and the short front overhang. Width-enhancing front and rear wheel arches – the Japanese donor platform is narrow to an American eye; a key criticism of the current car – tries to make the car look wider.

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A successful attempt by Lexus to visually diguise what is a narrow Japanese platform.

Lexus also said that the new platform is more rigid compared to the current model because more spot welds are used in assembly. The wider track – almost two inches – required a revised suspension design with increased cornering performance.

The new GS is powered by a familiar 3.5-liter V6 engine, with four cams, four valves per cylinder with dual Variable Valve Timing. At 306 horsepower, it is one of the more powerful base engines in the segment, as well as the only one with both direct and sequential injection. It propels the GS from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and at the same time, fuel economy is said to be improved – although that awaits EPA ratings for confirmation for what is more than a 3,700-pound car in rear-wheel-drive form. All-wheel-drive is also available.

The transmission has some features adopted from the Lexus IS F high-performance sedan — including faster shifts, earlier torque converter lockup and downshift throttle blips — to support four driving modes that can be operated by toggling the new Lexus Drive Mode selector.

“Today, buyers in the mid-size luxury segment want a more engaging driving experience, styling that makes a statement, and a roomier interior package,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager.

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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