By David Colman
For: Great visual redesign, Sophisticated handling, Ultra luxurious
Against: Non-Hybrid has middling MPG, No manual transmission
Aside from the ground-breaking $370,000 LFA sports car, Lexus design has been stagnating. The entire line of luxury sedans look more ponderous than svelte, with baroque styling cues that seem Germanic rather than Japanese. Visual boredom has been the hallmark of the mid-level luxury sedan designated GS, a high-hipped Lexus remarkably devoid of personality. Until now, that is. Its replacement, the all new 2013 GS, will debut in February, 2012 as a 2013 model. The company has reconceived this product from the ground up. The end result is a startling transformation of the GS that will delight art aesthetes and performance addicts alike.
To redefine the Grand Touring Sedan, Lexus sent one team of designers around the globe, from Russia to South America, China to the Middle East. The result of that research is the new GS, a startlingly fresh design that marks a decided departure from any sedan the company has built before. Unlike previous timid redesign efforts, the GS adopts a new stylistic vocabulary. Says Brian Smith, Lexus VP of Marketing, “With this car, going forward, there is no going back. This is the new face of Lexus.” And a handsome face it is. Instead of a benign grin, the front of the GS seems to snarl rather than smile. Aerodynamic fluting is the key word here. Fluted radiator ducts divert enough air to cool the 3.5 liter V6 and cool the front brake rotors. The rest of the frontal airflow skims beneath the body where Lexus has installed 8 fins in the underside panels to expedite air flow. Even the tail lights are fluted toward this goal.