2017 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Review

The 2017 Lexus GS 350 F Sport does an admirable job of blending the comfort, smoothness and sophistication we’ve come to expect from Lexus products with the performance potential of a rear-drive sports sedan. With two offerings in the mid-size luxury category, Lexus has its bases covered nicely. The front-wheel drive Lexus ES appeals to those who prefer serenity, while the GS is salve for the souls of those who prefer a degree of visceral engagement with their palatial appointments.

A 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 311 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque powered our GS 350 F Sport tester. Its rear wheels were fed by an eight-speed automatic transmission through a new for the 2017 model year limited-slip differential. Fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg in the city, 28 on the highway and 22 combined. We averaged 23 in a mix of city and highway driving, along with some spirited back road escapades. To fortify it for this duty, Lexus engineers fitted a set of staggered 19-inch wheels (rear wider than front) with summer performance tires, 14-inch front brakes and a sport-tuned adaptive suspension system.

Inside, the richly appointed Lexus GS 350 F Sport thoroughly lives up to its Lexus nameplate with outstanding fit and finish, supple leather, genuine wood and all-day comfort. Key features include power adjustable heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and pushbutton start, a 12.3-inch infotainment screen with the Lexus Remote Touch interface, and one of the cleanest sound systems we’ve ever heard in a car. Produced by the legendary Mark Levinson, it boasts 12 speakers and surround sound.

Befitting its status as a luxury sedan, comfort is paramount at all four primary seating positions, ingress and egress are uninhibited and visibility is excellent all around. The driving position is first-rate and readily tailored with a tilt/telescoping steering column and a multi-adjustable driver’s seat. Normally a weakness in this category, the backseat of the Lexus GS is reasonably spacious as well, with good legroom for all but the tallest people in the outboard positions. The center passenger will — well, let’s just say it’s best to avoid the center rear seat and leave it at that.

As much as we like driving the 2017 Lexus GS 350 F Sport, we are infuriated by the utterly imprecise Remote Touch infotainment interface (seen to the right of the shift lever in the image above). Combining all of the worst features of a touchscreen with all of the worst features of a point and click system, it’s very difficult to get it to stop where you want it to be on the first try. Lexus really needs to let this scheme go in favor of a rotary dial based interface.

On the other hand, both front seats are perfectly sculpted to hold their occupants securely when the Lexus is let off the leash for some spirited running on a twisty two-lane. Additionally, for the 2017 model year, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with mitigation and automatic high-beam control have been added as standard equipment.

Controller aside, driving the Lexus GS 350 F Sport is an otherwise sublime experience. Polished, quiet and smooth around town, you’ll whisper from place to place as you go about your daily routine. Steering is nice and easy while ride comfort is excellent. Interior storage is reasonably abundant and the trunk is good for 18.4 cubic feet of capacity.

In fact, the car is so competent at the mundane; it’s easy to forget how aggressive it can be. Switch the drive mode selector to “Sport” or “Sport +”, throttle tip-in becomes immediate, while the eight-speed automatic shifts with authority and is always on cue. Reinforcing your confidence level, the brakes prove capable of hauling the sedan down from huge speed over and over again. Steering feel is terrific and its accuracy makes the car very easy to place. Meanwhile, the sound of the engine at full throttle is thrilling.

If you’re looking for a near-perfect blend of luxury and sportiness, the 2017 Lexus GS 350 F Sport absolutely deserves a spot on your test-drive list.

Pricing starts at $54,810.

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