We were at the Las Vegas Speedway with writers and journalists for our opportunity to drive the all-new 2013 Lexus GS and experience the Supercar Lexus LFA. The weather was incredible in the mid 60’s and not a cloud in the sky. There has been quite a buzz around the new Lexus GS and we wanted to see what Lexus was able to accomplish after delivering some of the best luxury sports sedans for decades. Once we arrived at the Speedway, there was some time to check out the new 2013 GS before we hit the auto cross and race track. The new front grille is simply gorgeous and tough in the same breath and will surely make a statement when on the road.
This is a very aggressive design by Lexus and we agree with their claim that, “distinguished by the elegant beauty of its aerodynamic body, the precisely sculpted exterior of the all-new Lexus GS luxury sport sedan glows with aggressive performance and precision handling. Powered by an advanced 3.5-liter V6, putting 306 horsepower to the pavement, the four-cam, four valve per cylinder engine with dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) propels the 2013 GS 350 from 0-60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. The six-speed sequential shift automatic transmission, equipped with paddle shifters, offers four driving modes: Normal, ECO, SPORT S, and SPORT S+. An optional electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system is designed to enhance traction in a variety of driving conditions.” The cockpit of the new GS is buit for the inspired driver, while a horizontal-themed instrument panel emphasizes spaciousness through its wide layout. Equal attention has been paid to maximizing space for rear passengers, with generous headroom, legroom, knee room and foot space.
We were also joined by pro driver Scott Pruett, who gave us some tips on driving and would school us later behind the wheel of both the Lexus GS and Supercar LFA. This was going to get good. Our first test was on the track with a guide as we opened up the 2013 Lexus GS and found the car to be very responsive and in control. Over at the auto cross, Lexus decided to track our times and see what we could do and I was up for the challenge. Our first two runs were practice, but then we were clocked and recorded on our third try. Well, my third try turned out to be my worst as I clipped a few cones trying to get too cute on a sharp turn. When you go into SPORT S+ mode (available on some models), it engages handling enhancements via a sport setting of the adaptive variable suspension, steering system, and vehicle stability control (VSC) together with the powertrain enhancements of SPORT S mode.
The bottom line is that the 2103 Lexus GS steps up her game in the power and handling department and shows where it took some of the DNA from the LFA Supercar in Sport S+. After we finished our amateur turns, Pruett took us along for a ride and shows a few things while blowing our times out of the water. I enjoyed the professional pointers and took notes for later! Our crew then headed over to the track for another ride in the Lexus Super Car LFA, which is beyond anything we could park in our garage, so this was a once in a lifetime experience. Scott was awesome as he reached speeds that you only hear about from the pros and wonder how these people do it on those tracks. Well, it helps to have a car like the LFA that is built for top performance.
It was now time to go back to the auto cross and see if the lessons from Scott Pruett paid off, and I’m happy to say that close to our entire team started clocking better times, and I was able to graduate from the “cone killer” lap I took earlier to a much more respectable finishing time. We pushed the Lexus cars hard and they responded admirably. Above and beyond the performance aspect of the new GS combines bold, dynamic styling, precise handling, innovative technology, and a spacious interior. Lexus will give the world a glimpse of the all-new 2013 GS with a first ever Super Bowl commercial, so we feel very fortunate to be able to give you a first-hand report on our thoughts. I’ve read that “GS engineers challenged themselves to develop a more spacious interior environment. While leaving exterior dimensions virtually unchanged, they dramatically increased cabin and trunk space to create an interior that can easily transport passengers and their luggage in luxury and style regardless of distance,” and after spending time in the new GS, they hit the mark and then some. When Lexus states this is an all-new car, they really mean it, with a new aerodynamic body, completely new platform with a wider stance and stiffer structure, transmission with quicker shifts, distinctive engine sound and exhaust notes and better seat support.
Our test models had 18-way heated and ventilated front seats! It’s clear that our time driving the Lexus GS is much more in depth than most will get a chance to experience with a test drive, and we must say these new cars are built to handle what you can throw at them in regards to speed and handling. Finding that right balance between luxury and performance is not easily found, but with the 2013 Lexus GS delivers with such options like an industry-first 12.3-inch, split-screen, high-resolution multi-media display.( The 12.3-inch screen is large enough to support simultaneous, split-screen viewing of a large map display, plus audio, climate or other vehicle information). Lexus pulled out all of the stops on the new GS and with the world seeing it first hand during the Super Bowl, we have the feeling that new fans of the GS will start to drive these cars off the lot with a big smile on their face!