Staying on Course
With the amount of gravel and debris on our roads this spring, the AWD system in the GS kept wheel spin to a minimum and me on track. When I went out to play boy-racer on some of our dirtier interchanges, the AWD system along with traction control helped me stay on my chosen line regardless of how much fine sand was left on the road.
I also managed to go down a few of our soggier non-paved roads. Aside from ground clearance issues on some roads (this is a car after all); there was never a doubt about the car’s ability to get through the soft spots. I did stay away from some of the roads that were underwater. If you can’t see it, don’t drive on it. Besides, road crews will have enough to fix without me tearing up another chunk of ruined road.
Luxury and Performance Driving
One of the things I did notice while driving was that the emphasis of the GS has shifted from the original sport to luxury. That does not mean sport has lessened, just that luxury has increased. The GS 350 AWD can still embarrass many so called sports/performance sedans without having the driver break into a sweat. It just doesn’t feel like it until you push the pedal past the halfway point.
Getting the rpm up and the transmission down a gear or two does wonders for the ability of the car to get out and get by everyone. If you really want to have a go at rowing your own way through the gears, Lexus does provide a “sport shift mode” that you access by moving the shifter lever into the +/- gate and then have at it!
Most of the time, I just left the shifter in drive. Part of the reason was laziness on my part because the electronics did a very good job of getting me into the right gear at the right time and part of the reason was that loafing along in this car was very comfortable.
When it comes to comfort and sport, the GS strikes a great balance. The front buckets fit a broad range of sizes, yet have firm sides to hold you in place when going a bit faster than everyone else around some corners. At the same time, the suspension soaks up all the road thumps and bumps. In addition, when you smoke into a corner, the suspension doesn’t let the car feel like it is going to trip over the outer front wheel.
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