2014 Lexus GS F Sport: More’s the better

7 Mar 2014 | 2,832 views | No Comment
          By Don Hammonds       We've sung the glories of the latest generation of the Lexus GS for quite some time now. Better, badder, faster, sportier and sexier than any of the previous ones (and they were pretty good too!), the newest generation of this car have drawn accolades from almost anyone who drives it.       Well, we're warming up the vocal pipes even more now because we've had our hands on the 2014 Lexus GS F Sport.        It isn't just icing on the cake--it's the richest form of buttercream icing that you can handle. And instead of sugar shock, you're going to be knocked out  by the tautness of the handling, even more ferocious acceleration, and all of the other little perks that come from spending a bit more and getting the top drawer model of the GS lineup.        Those who are steeped in Lexus lore know that the GS series was designed originally to be the sportiest Lexus of all. But unfortunately, it was only a bit spicier than other Lexus models, with handling that, while upgraded over many other Lexus models, and acceleration that was brisk, but still not much to get too excvited about.  And you also didn't see them much on the road either--you were far more likely to spot an ES or the top line flagship, or any Lexus SUV version instead.       All of that has changed with the new generation introduced about a year or so ago.        If you get an F Sport, you'll enjoy a full plate of goodies to separate you from owners of other GS models.         With the F SPORT and Luxury Packages, the GS 350 gains a fourth driving mode, SPORT S+. The “plus” widens system engagement to also include a sport setting for the Adaptive Variable Suspension, electric power steering system and Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM).  Lexus officials say they believe the result of  all this is "the most engaging GS driving experience ever, yet still while maintaining the classic Lexus smoothness and comfort."  Nineteen inch wheels and special summer tires are also part of the F Sport's portfolio. Of course you get the usual full complement of Lexus goodies with this car.  Prices for the GS F Sport start at $53,280.  That includes  17-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, a sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and eight-way power front seats with power lumbar adjustment and driver memory settings.         There's standard electronics galore, too.  That includes  Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Siri Eyes Free voice command integration (for iPhone users), an 8-inch display, a rearview camera, the Lexus Remote Touch interface and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio and a USB/iPod interface. From here, you can add the Premium package with heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers and a power rear sunshade. On top of this the Luxury package adds adaptive headlights, LED foglamps, adaptive suspension dampers, upgraded leather and trim, a 14-way power driver seat (with four-way lumbar), passenger memory settings, rear climate and audio controls and manual rear side window sunshades. A Cold Weather package includes a heated steering wheel, a heavy-duty heater, headlight washers and a wiper de-icer.                A company news release says, " the F SPORT Package for the GS 350 amps up handling with a comprehensive chassis makeover. The special sport-tuned suspension substitutes firmer springs, larger front brakes with high-friction brake pads, an Adaptive Variable Suspension damping system, thicker stabilizer bars, a variable gear ratio steering system and specially tuned bushings. Not surprisingly, the GS 350 F Sport  maintains outstanding ride composure even with its amplified handling acuity."      The release adds, "On top of F Sport, the GS 350 can also be equipped with the Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) system with Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS). So equipped, the rear-wheel steering can add up to two degrees of input, with the variable gear ratio steering system also adding input at the front wheels for exceptionally controlled cornering performance."           We're inclined to agree with the news release.            While driving the GS F Sport, we noticed that road handling ability takes a big step up thanks to the adaptive variable suspension, and there was virtually no body lean at all.  The car gobbled up corners and turns, and seemed to be begging for more as we went along.  The steering was dead on centered and accurate, with absolutely n o need for any minor corrections at all.  Regular readers of  AJ know that we have long hoped for more tightness and road response from previous Lexus cars, and this one delivers just that.      The good stuff continues inside the car, with the F Sport getting smooth, striated aluminum trim, unique perforated leather upholstery and trim, a black headliner, aluminum pedals and a three–spoke F SPORT steering wheel. The entire interior is set off by leather seats and doors done up in a rich color that Lexus calls Cabernet Red.     For 2014, the GS 350 F Sport shares in some refinements and changes that come to the entire GS linep.      These changes include the availability of an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, rear cross traffic alerts for the optional blind spot monitoring system, an optional power trunk opener, and a full color readout for the optional heads-up display.  And if you're an Apple fan, you can get Siri Eyes Free which offers you voice control functionality for Apple users.       We especially enjoyed the adjustable nature of the car, with the ability to dial in any of several driving modes, and an adjustable suspension system as well.  You really do get very different responses from the car, which of course, add to the pleasure and fun of driving it.  And we're not talking about subtle changes either!  That's the case with other cars we've driven which claim to offer you real variety of experiences and don't do it.        Power comes from a  3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing and both port and direct injection, good for 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.  Fuel mileage isn't bad, either, rated at 19 city and 28 highway and 23 miles per gallon overall.         By the way, Lexus offers a pretty comprehensive warranty package for their cars.   It includes 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles, 72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage, and 72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.        Problems? None that we would mention. Fast it may be and sexy it may look, it's still a Lexus.         And when all is said and done, that says it all.  

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