If every car company has one division of rock star engineers and stylists assigned to work on the most important projects, what do Lexus ’s biggest brains focus on? The new sport sedan platform is the result of intensive engineering at the very highest levels in the Toyota and Lexus organization. Twinned with the IS sedan, the GS was all-new for 2013 with looks that really warm up over time.
But the GS has always somewhat failed to deliver on its V-8 engine’s initial "Something Wicked This Way Comes" advertising campaign, even more than 15 years since the GS400 made every Lexus dealer a little bit more ’hip and trendy lounge’ versus a ’hip replacement center.’
The world seems like quite a different place now. The GS competes in the most challenging and action-packed segment of the luxury sedan market, the $40,000 to $60,000 class that also includes such exceptional machines as the Mercedes-Benz E350 with a new nine-speed automatic, the always-rapid BMW 535i and the quietly stellar Audi A6 .
The GS needs to be among the best if Lexus is to be successful outside its core niche of affluent and comfort-focused car shoppers who prefer not to own a German car.
Whether thinking the servicing will be too expensive, the image is not right, or myriad other reasons, Lexus wants to expand its niche to real car guys. If all goes well, the company should be able to please its existing clients and also have a shot at some respect in Europe and China, where Lexus is currently destroyed in sales by the three German luxury juggernauts.
Coming in the GS 450h Hybrid or the gasoline GS 350 or the GS 350 F Sport, the 2014 Lexus gets a new eight-speed automatic and some detail trim enhancements like something Lexus calls a ’superchrome’ finish on the wheels. The battle for luxury sedans is hotter than ever, and the new GS finally has some real advantages over its competition.
But is that enough for the 2014 Lexus GS 350?
Click past the jump to find out.