The next-generation Lexus GS 350 sport sedan has recently been unveiled. Set to go on sale in early 2012, the 2013 GS will bear the sheet-metal and interior design elements that will be seen throughout the brand for the several years to come. A V-8 version won’t be available as this model will only come only with a V-6 or V-6 hybrid powertrain.
For the two older GS generations, a V-8 version was offered but it only accounted for 10% of all model sales. Many observers have said that when the GS sedan is placed side by side with rivals like the BMW 5 series, Mercedes E class and Audi A6, it appears plain and bloated. It was in 2006 that the U.S. sales of the current generation model peaked with 27,390 units sold but it has since tapered off and in 2010, only 7,059 units were sold.
Lexus is relying on the new GS so that it could make up for the share losses this year to Mercedes-Benz and BMW in the U.S. For 11 consecutive years, Lexus was the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S. but it’s expected to give up its top spot to one of its two German rivals this year.
Lexus’ sales in the U.S. were affected by the shortages in inventory that resulted from the March 11 disaster in Japan. Its U.S. sales fell by 19% to 102,549 for the first seven months of the year. While the 2013 GS 350 uses an all-new platform and its track is two inches wider, it uses the same wheelbase.
When compared to the previous model, this car is wider, longer, and taller. The GS 350 uses a 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed sequential-shift transmission that was carried over, enabling it to sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds, similar to the existing model. However, the GS will continue to be offered in rear- and all-wheel-drive versions.
Its four driving modes provide options for throttle mapping, transmission shift and traction control settings. Lexus didn’t give figures but it claims that its fuel economy has significantly improved. Its GS' front suspension has barely changed but it has bigger bushings. Lexus redesigned the rear subframe to have new geometry for the multilink suspension. The platform is more rigid with the boost in spot and laser welds.