Lexus gives its GS sedan a makeover for the 2013 model year, upping its performance characteristics. In hybrid form, the car also delivers astoundingly good fuel economy for this class of car.
The Lexus GS is the brand's second-biggest sedan, fitting in below the LS. Going up against the BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-class, Lexus gave the GS better handling for the 2013 model year. The car comes in two forms, the GS 350 and GS 450h, the latter being a hybrid drive version.
The GS 450h's engine is exceptional. It starts out with an Atkinson cycle 3.5-liter V-6 using a combination of direct and port injection. Lexus adds its excellent hybrid drive system to make a total system output of 338 horsepower. Fuel economy comes in at an average of over 30 mpg.
The shifter is really a drive selector, as the transmission is continuously variable, based on a planetary gearset. There are shift points, but they are programmed in. A dial below the drive selector puts the car in Eco, Sport, and Sport Plus modes.
Lexus includes an excellent array of data feeds into the car. Most of these are delivered through satellite radio, but the Apps folder in the upper right opens up Lexus' Enform system, which includes Yelp, OpenTable, Facebook, Bing search, and others.
There are a number of driver assistance features available for the GS 450h, but the most useful is the blind-spot detection system. It lights up an icon in the side mirror when a car is in the next lane over.