Driving a Lexus GS 350 AWD is an exercise in relearning how to enjoy driving. The car is equal parts aggressive (with a great suspension that hugs corners), and relaxation (with an interior that coddles you comfortably no matter how you drive). I had trouble sorting out my expectations for the GS 350 AWD, and had to explore its limits before deciding that the main focus was as a luxury performance car done Japanese style, which is considerably different from German and American styles. It is just as good, maybe even better, but no matter how you do it the Lexus GS 350 AWD has earned a place on the must-drive list if you are looking for a new car.
What is the 2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD?
The Lexus GS 350 comes in rear-wheel drive as well as all-wheel drive, and a hybrid model referred to as the GS 450h. The GS 350 AWD is the entry-level Lexus in the premium Luxury Sports car market. As such it has a broad range of optional packages that can meet nearly every consumer’s needs.
2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD Prices and Specs
The GS 350 AWD sits squarely between the other two models: the GS 350 RWD starts at $52,200 while the GS 450h starts at $64,900 leaving the GS 350 AWD to start at $54,900. Option packages on the GS 350 AWD can boost the price up to $66,950 (not including freight or dealer fees). Price as tested was $61,010.
All GS 350 AWD sedans come with a long list of standard equipment. Packages such as Technology and Technology Plus add things like a Mark Levinson Premium audio system and Dynamic RADAR cruise control. For the sport-oriented driver there is an F Sport option, which adds distinctive F sport badging as well as an adaptive variable suspension in the front and rear.
Driving the 2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD
At first driving the GS 350 was a bit confusing. I didn’t know what to expect from the car. Horsepower is up 53 to 306, yet the car was so smooth I never really noticed. Depending on my driving style, I occasionally noticed the transmission shifting. Most of the time acceleration was seamless. Sometimes it was hard to judge from the comfort of the 16-way adjustable driver’s seat exactly how much the adjustable suspension improved handling when set to Sport+.
Make no mistake, I enjoyed the Lexus GS 350 AWD for what it was and flogged it mercilessly whenever I had the chance. No matter the road surface or my reason for travel, the GS 350 AWD not only put a grin on my face, but kept it there.
Inside and Out of the 2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD
Last year (2013), the GS 350 AWD gained the now signature spindle front grille that all Lexus products are moving towards. However, there's not much change to the rounded aerodynamic shape. Four large doors that open wide fill the bubble that is the passenger compartment and the short rear deck houses a deceptively large trunk.
Those four large doors open onto a comfortable set of front bucket seats that adjust in so many ways it is a good thing there is a seat memory feature so that once you find the absolute most comfortable position for you, you can save it. Needless to say, getting into a comfortable driving position does take a minute or two the first time. The rear bench is just about as comfortable, but is a bit tight for long-legged full-size adults. Once in place though, the relaxation can begin. Turn on the Mark Levinson stereo and choose your music source. From your own personal play lists to Satellite Radio, the system can handle them all.
Comparing the 2014 Lexus GS 350 AWD
The most obvious comparison is the BMW 535i xDrive. After that the Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Acura RLX offer some competition.