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2013 Lexus GS 350 (photos)

Lexus gives its GS 350 a major cabin tech update for the 2013 model year, with the biggest LCD in a production car. A new app-integration system and performance gear take the GS 350 to the next level.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 31 Josh Miller/CNET
Lexus gave its GS line a makeover for the 2013 model year, and a new set of options. The L-Finesse design language gets a very defined interpretation on the 2013 Lexus GS 350. The F Sport package added to the model CNET reviewed brings cosmetic and performance elements.
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L-Finesse includes many angular elements, plus the pinched grille. Following the lines of the Lexus LFA supercar, the grille lines drop down to a lower intake.
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The very angular styling of the L-Finesse design language can be seen in the shape of the headlights.
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Although still using a 3.5-liter V-6, Lexus adds its hybrid port and direct injection. This 306-horsepower mill uses port injection at low speeds, but goes to direct injection when greater power is called for.
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5 of 31 Josh Miller/CNET
The GS 350 has a substantial feel to it, and a large cabin. It sits just below the flagship LS sedan in the Lexus lineup.
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The F Sport package costs about $6,000, and brings in custom wheels, an adaptive suspension, driver-selectable performance profiles, and some cosmetic elements.
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Along with the F Sport adjustable suspension, this example also had all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system adds a half-inch of height to the car, all in the suspension.
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The rear exhaust ports, molded into the body, look cool, but are merely decorative. Conventional round pipes sit right behind them.
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There was plenty of room in the trunk for a standard CNET editor.
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Much of the tech, including the navigation system, is optional. Without the navigation system, the huge LCD in the dashboard gets replaced with a smaller display.
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The interior of the GS 350 largely upholds Lexus' luxury mission.
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The rear seats are very comfortable and offer a decent amount of legroom.
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The electric power-steering system has been well-tuned for road feel. Unlike other Lexus vehicles, this wheel delivers very responsive turning.
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The LKA button on the steering wheel activates lane departure prevention, a technology that tugs the steering wheel slightly if the car drifts over a lane line.
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The button with the car-profile icon on the right steering-wheel spoke lets you adjust the following distance when using adaptive cruise control.
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Despite the oversize navigation screen, the GS 350 still uses standard analog gauges on the instrument cluster.
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The shifter controls a six-speed automatic transmission. In its Sport modes, it has a very aggressive profile.
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This is the cabin tech interface controller, which works like a mouse.
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Lexus gave the main menu a very nice design treatment, letting it fill up this 12.3-inch LCD.
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Voice command offers many very useful functions, such as asking for music playback by artist name.
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The maps remain unchanged from previous GS models. They still only show a 2D plan view.
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The GS 350 offers all the previous external data feeds from satellite radio, such as fuel prices and weather, but also includes an app icon for accessing the Enform system.
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Enform app integration is very useful, as it lets you find locations with Bing search or Yelp, and instantly set a destination.
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The Yelp listings are more useful than the car's own points-of-interest database.
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The FM radio mode includes HD Radio, with the ability to cycle through a station's multicasts.
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Pandora integration with the stereo comes as part of the Enform system.
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For iPod and USB drives, the interface shows album art, courtesy of an integrated Gracenote database.
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The iPod music library interface presents the usual categories, and a letter index, making it easy to jump to different sections of the library listings.
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This car has the base, 12-speaker audio system. It sounds very good, but Lexus also offers a Mark Levinson system with 17 speakers.
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The Bluetooth phone system includes the usual features, such as contact list integration.
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The GS 350's backup camera shows static distance lines, complementing the car's other driver assistance features.

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