Exceptionally nice interior; genuinely sporty handling; technology galore; choice of regular and hybrid models; executive-class back seat
Lacks the acceleration of other high-end sport sedans
The rear-wheel-drive GS 350 gets a new 8-speed automatic transmission, and all GS models include integrated support for the iPhone's Siri assistant. Also, the GS 450h hybrid's continuously variable automatic (CVT) now has simulated shift points that mimic a regular 8-speed automatic. New options include a rear cross-traffic alert system, an optional power trunk lid and a revised Luxury package with LED fog lights; the Night View system, however, has been discontinued.
We're not sold on the F Sport's ambitious styling tweaks, but we love the 16-way sport driver's seat -- and you can't get it unless you check the F Sport box. Still, even the base GS is well-equipped.
The 2014 Lexus GS sedan is offered in GS 350, GS 350 AWD and GS 450h trim levels.
The GS 350 ($48,610) comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a sunroof, keyless entry with push-button ignition, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, 10-way power front seats with manual fore/aft headrest adjustability, leather upholstery, driver memory functions, electroluminescent gauges, a trip computer with a color TFT display, an 8-in infotainment screen with the Remote Touch mouselike controller, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with DVD audio capability, satellite radio, an auxiliary input and iPod/USB connectivity.
The GS 350 AWD ($50,860) adds all-wheel drive but loses a couple of speeds in its transmission, while the GS 450h ($60,510) gets the fancy hybrid powertrain, unique hybrid-themed gauges and readouts, exclusive bamboo trim, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a power rear sunshade.
Aside from the bamboo trim and hybrid gear, the GS 450h's extra features are available on other GS models as options. Additional options include 18-in wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, a sunroof, a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, a head-up display (with full color for 2014), 18-way Multi-contour power front seats (BMW and Mercedes, perhaps not coincidentally, use this term too), semi-aniline perforated leather upholstery, a 17-speaker, 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system and a hard-drive-based navigation system with a 12.3-in widescreen display, a text-to-speech SMS function and the Lexus Enform with Safety Connect telematics suite.
There's also an enthusiast-oriented F Sport package (not available on the hybrid) that adds 19-in wheels, rear-wheel steering (rear-wheel drive only) assorted exterior styling cues, bigger front brakes, sport-tuned adaptive dampers, a 16-way power sport driver's seat with adjustable side bolsters and unique interior materials.
Trunk space measures an average 14.3 cu ft in the GS (13.2 cu ft in the hybrid).
The 2014 Lexus GS comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and 10 airbags (front, front side, front knee, rear side and full-length side curtain). All models include Safety Connect, which uses the same 24-hour response center as the Enform system to get you the help you need if the unexpected occurs. A blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert is optional.
The government has not crash-tested the GS, but the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the GS its highest rating of Good in every testing category.
Audi A6 3.0T -- Feature for feature, you'll pay more for the Audi, but you'll get superior acceleration in return, as well as more restrained styling. This is a close race, though.
BMW 5 Series -- Any 5 Series model is a strong GS rival, and there's even a new hybrid version. Although the BMW has lost its old athletic edge, it's still capable, and it boasts fantastic engines and a beautiful interior.
Infiniti M -- The V6-powered M37 is less refined than the GS 350, but the M is also offered as a hybrid, and then there's the M56 with its astounding 5.6-liter V8. Moreover, the Infiniti has one of the nicest cabins around.