2011 Lexus GS 350 Review & Test Drive

In Lexus’ relentless pursuit of perfection, they seek out on a long journey beside of the likings of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Cadillac, and other luxury automakers who have a strong presence in the United States. One of Lexus’ competitive strong points has been the Lexus GS ever since its introduction in 1991. Since then, the Lexus GS has matured into a refined rear-wheel-drive luxury sports sedan which has remained to be quite the competitive breed.  The latest iteration of that marquee rests with the 2011 Lexus GS 350.

I had the opportunity and pleasure of driving the new 2011 Lexus GS 350 on a long highway trip. During my time behind the wheel of the 2011 Lexus GS 350 it shattered any doubts of the GS being the capable touring vehicle that I have grown accustomed to from the likings of BMW. Having owned a BMW for many years, Lexus was always an afterthought. Fortunately I have an open mind and am willing to give other vehicles a fair chance to prove themselves. I can honestly say that the 2011 Lexus GS 350 holds its own very well in the competitive mid-sized luxury segment.

Lexus’ 303 horsepower 3.5-liter V6, same as found in the IS 350, provides an ample amount of power. A smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission ensures that power is smoothly delivered to the rear wheels. Fuel consumption for the GS 350 is at the middle of the road getting 19mpg city and 26mpg highway. During my long highway drive observed 25.6 mpg. The GS 350 will even make a dash to 60mph from a standstill in only 5.7 seconds.

The 2011 Lexus GS 350 has a well insulated cabin isolating the majority of the road noise. Inside of the new GS 350 is a competent interior layout. The fit and finish is among the best in the industry. Although the use of hard plastics in various button and control areas does “feel” as plush as you would expect from premium luxury vehicle. Otherwise, the Lexus GS 350 is top-notch for interior quality. Even the instrument cluster integrates what appears to be aluminum faces on the gauge pods. The 2011 Lexus GS 350 is comfortable enough for 5 adults, although head room is a bit shorter than its competition.

My 2011 Lexus GS 350 test vehicle was decently equipped with several options within the Luxury Value Edition package. This package bundled up the hard-drive navigation system which incorporates many useful options. With a subscription to XM satellite you get XM NavTraffic, XM NavWeather, XP Sports, and Stocks. The audio is also upgraded, to a 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system. On my highway trip, the traffic updates proved to be somewhat useful. Although no alternative route was nearby so I had to listen to the soft voice command of the navigation system repeatedly tell me about a vehicle blocking the right lane in the next 6 miles.

Lexus handsomely equips their vehicles with many standard features and the new 2011 GS 350 is no exception. My GS 350 test vehicle has a long list of standard features including automatic xenon headlights, foglights, power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats with driver memory, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather seating with front heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity for phone & audio, and a 6-CD changer 10-speaker stereo system.

The new 2011 Lexus GS 350 is styled in a mild manner. Being that it is a rear wheel drive luxury sedan, the front end has minimum overhang while the rear end tends to look and feel weighted. The exterior flows nicely from the L-fines front fascia to the rear outlining the LED taillights. Lexus attempted to keep some of the exterior styling traits from second generation GS which is a good thing.

Driving the 2011 Lexus GS 350 is a sheer pleasure if you keep things simple. Simple meaning you never upset the tires to the point that they make any noise. Do so and you will put the stability and traction control into panic mode virtually putting your fun to a slow crawl. The Lexus GS 350 is a great performer in a straight line. If you add too many lateral Gs to the equation you could wind up with a wagging tail, literally.  The well-dampened suspension becomes mushy when you put the GS 350 to any hard turns, and the rear end tends to jump out abruptly in some situations. Aside from driving like a hoon, the Lexus GS 350 is poised to be a comfortable touring vehicle on the civilized highway. The Lexus GS 350 for 2011 has an all-wheel-drive option which may aide its handling abilities.

The Lexus GS 350 comes with a long list of standard safety features highlighting front knee airbags and Safety Connect, a simplistic telematics service. Safety Connect includes an automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator, and an SOS emergency assistance button. Apart from these additional safety features, the Lexus GS 350 includes antilock brakes with brake assist, stability control, traction control, front and rear side-impact airbags, active front head restraints and side curtain airbags.

The new 2011 Lexus GS 350 is a refined machine dedicated to wrapping its occupants in luxury. With a starting price of $46,000 the Lexus GS 350 comes as a well-appointed mid-sized luxury sedan. The as-tested price of my 2011 Lexus GS 350 came in at $48,910 including delivery, processing and handling fees.


Copyright: 2011 AutomotiveAddicts.com


  • Price: Base GS 350 $46,900 As-Tested $48,910
  • Engine: 3.5-liter 303 horsepower @ 6200 rpm/ 274 ft-lbs torque @ 3600 rpm
  • Drive: RWD (optional AWD)
  • Wheelbase: 112.2in.
  • Total length: 190.0in.
  • Total width: 71.7in.
  • Total height: 56.1in.
  • Track: f/r-60.4/60.6in.
  • Turning circle: 34.1ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.8/37.0in.
  • Legroom: f/r-43.5/36.4in.
  • MPG est.: 19 mpg city/26mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 18.8 gallons
  • 0-60mph:  5.7 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 15.2cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,795 lbs.