2015 Lexus GS 350 AWD F Sport

Since 1991, The Lexus GS has gradually become one of the most popular vehicles in a very competitive mid-size luxury market.  We had an opportunity to review the 2015 Lexus GS 350 AWD F-Sport.  My opinion has always been that this is a good size sedan with plenty of room, catering more to comfort but keeping a sporty look.  

The Lexus GS line was redesigned in 2013, and only slight updates have been made in each model year since.  The GS serves as a sporty luxury sedan with the sharp edges and comfort seen in the IS and ES.  The car I received was a beautiful Obsidian Black which, in my opinion, is the perfect color for such a powerful and luxurious look.  The very first thing that stood out to me was the grill.  Lexus has slowly been making their grills bigger and more aggressive looking throughout their lineup, and it’s really growing on me. 

The sleek LED daytime running lights directly under the headlights and chrome border around the upper front grill were my favorite exterior features.  The massive front grill is complemented with headlights that wrap around the fenders, and a lower bumper that follows that line for an aerodynamic look.  I like the added sport feel of the dark graphite alloy wheels and low profile tires.  These are complemented nicely with lowered side skirts and a small trunk lip spoiler.  Dual chrome exhaust tips give the final touch.  

With such a great appearance, I knew Lexus would continue the theme with a good power plant under the hood.  They didn’t disappoint with the 3.5-liter V6 pushing out 306 hp.  They offer a 6 speed automatic for the AWD model, and an 8 speed automatic for rear wheel drive models.  Lexus got away from the V8 engine but believe me, the V6 is no slouch. 

Don’t think that by having a sporty looking sedan with a powerful motor the car would lack in comfort when driving it around town.  The GS has very comfortable seating for both driver and passengers. As you might have guessed, the driver side has a 10 way power adjustable seat.  If you go with the premium upgrade package, you would then have 18 way adjustable seating.  The premium upgrade allows you to really customize your seat with heat and cool ventilation, which I’ve learned to love throughout various models I’ve driven. 

The back seat is pretty comfortable, but like most back seats, a taller person riding in the middle would likely hit their head on the roof and be uncomfortable.  A nice available option is to upgrade to rear heated seats, which is always welcomed in the wintertime.  The rear doors are larger which is nice to be able to get in and out, and really helpful when strapping in the kids.  I have a toddler and infant seat that were a breeze to install.  Really easy to latch on and with the bigger rear doors, easy to fit and strap them in tightly.  Despite having the baby seats installed, both my wife and I still had plenty of room in the front seat.  We are taller so we tend lose some leg room in most vehicles, so we are always happy to retain that.  In comparison, we found the IS model a bit tight upfront, but had no issues in the ES. 

I found the trunk to be smaller than I would have liked.  You can fit good amount of bags, but it’s not really big enough for a full family outing.  I had trouble fitting my Britax stroller and much of anything else.  Unfortunately the back seats don’t fold down, and the cut through to the rear seats is small and narrow.  Not that we would fold the seats down with the kids there, but in general I don’t think there was quite enough room for a family of four on long trips.  For city and everyday use you would manage just fine.  

The fun part is seeing how it performs in a big metropolitan city like Chicago.  First off, you can throw the city gas mileage out the window.  I averaged 14mpg to the manufacturer’s recommended 19mpg.  I have yet to have any car I’ve tested give me close to what the manufacturer recommends.  Granted, my average speed in the city was 15mph with lots of stop and go.  Having the 3.5-liter V6 didn’t help much with regards to mileage, but would say I had plenty of power when I needed to get up and go.  The roar of the V6 and dual exhaust really put a smile on my face when having to accelerate quickly.  As my son would say, “Faster, faster!”  He might have gotten spoiled when we tested the RCF a few months ago. Spoiled kid.  

The ride was very smooth.  The double wishbone suspension really absorbed most of the pot hole ridden roads Chicago has to offer. This is the F-Sport model, so it was equipped with a stiffer spring, roll bar, bushings, adaptive shocks, variable rate steering and bigger front brakes.  This is also an all-wheel drive model, so the power is distributed 50/50 but will adjust to 30/70 as needed.  An added bonus of the F Sport performance package is an upgrade to 19” alloy rims and low profile tires to grip the road better. 

Driving on the highway and during longer stretches in town improved the gas mileage to an average of 24mpg, which was close to the advertised highway 26mpg.  I’m sure the mpg would be better on the RWD model, but in the Midwest we would absolutely want the AWD for our harsh winters.  The road noise was at a very minimum, and the overall ride was very enjoyable. 

Overall I really liked the 2015 Lexus GS350 AWD F-sport.  It’s a nice upgrade from the IS & ES in combining both to give you performance and comfort with an aggressive look.  It will be slightly tight for a family of four.  For a single person, couple, or a family with one child it would be a great vehicle to own.  The performance was superb and it really fun to drive.  With the snow that we get here in the Midwest, I am sure it will have no issues at all.  This model competes with Cadillac CTS, Audi A6, Mercedes Benz E Class, and BMW 5 series.  The GS only comes in a 3.5 liter V6 but you have your choice of rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive.  (You also can opt for a hybrid model for better gas mileage – the GS450h giving you 29 city and 34 highway starting at $61,000). The 2015 Lexus GS350 RWD F-Sport starts at $48,000 and can be upgraded to AWD for just $2,000 more.  The vehicle we tested was priced at $61,000.  

I’d like to thank Lexus for the opportunity to test out this vehicle and please visit your local dealership for more information.