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SW03ES

Saw/sat In The New Gs At The Dc Auto Show...my Thoughts...

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Hey all,

Well I went to the DC auto show today and got the chance to sit in two new GS350s. One with the "F Sport" package, one with the luxury package...both stickering about $60k. They also had a GS450h but we couldn't sit in it.

As many of you know, I haven't been a huge fan of the new GS from the pictures we've seen.

But...

The car is *much* more attractive in person. The proportions are much better, and oddly enough the rear which was my least favorite angle in the pictures is one of my favorites in person. The car looks very aggressive, especially in the front. I would definitely say next to the 5 series, E class, A6, and M37 the GS is the "sportiest" looking. I wouldn't say its my favorite looking, I think the 5 series and E class are handsomer personally, but its definitely a good looking car.

The interior, which I also was not a huge fan of in the pictures is really well done. Excellent materials, very comfortable seats, great switchgear...and that big 12.5" screen is incredible. Interestingly, we thought the interior felt a lot like the 5 in the pictures but in reality it doesn't really feel similar to the 5 at all. No question in my mind the new GS has the best interior in its class. My buddy who was with me is a BMW owner and he agreed the interior was superior to the 5 series, E class, and A6.

I can't wait to drive it...and apparently they are going to pay me $75 to do that so I'll set that up as soon as I can.

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I went to the dealer's invite of the GS launch last week. its a nice looking car from the inside, much better than my 08 GS350, but the exterior has many funny looking angles and looks piece together, the lines just do not flow well. I was offered a chance to test drive it next week, I might go back and take them up on it. Overall, I would say it is not a car I would consider buying. Although the interior is nice, everything else is lacking. At $60K, the GS350 is no longer the bargain it once was.

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I've seen the new GS at Pebble Beach last August and at San Jose car show in January.

I think it looks quite agressive, my 2 mid-sized premium car favorites from a styling standpoint are the 5 series and new GS. The wide track dimensions and resulting body width are important for the stance these cars have.

To me Audi A6 and E-class are a notch down from a styling standpoint.

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At $60K, the GS350 is no longer the bargain it once was.

Actually, it still is.

You have to price out the competition to similar feature levels, the $60k GS350 includes the luxury package which includes active contouring front seats, rear seat audio like the higher level LS's, heads up display, adaptive cruise, pretty much fully loaded. Its still $10k cheaper than a comparable 5 series or E class.

Yes, believe it or not a 535i or E350 gets to $70k quicker than you would think.

The GS350 is even cheaper than the M37 when you option them similarly.

I'm not saying I would buy one, I still think the 5 series is *the* car in this segment and I would rather have a slightly de-contented 5 to a more loaded GS...but there is definately still value there.

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Oh come on, you had THREE new GS's at your auto show? :(

I saw the new 2013 GS350 for the first time yesterday too, at the Northeast International Auto Show in Providence, RI (they were here from Thurs-Sun). They only had one of them, the regular 350 version (i "think" it was AWD but i honestly didn't pay attention). This was the first time Lexus has ever come to the show, and they only had the new CT, HS (i think), RX, ES, IS and the new GS. I have to say that i was "saddened" to realize that the new 2013 GS is actually real (something in me was hoping it was just a joke), but i must say i don't "hate" its appearance as much as i thought i would based on seeing pictures. The interior of this one didn't have wood trim- or at least if it was wood, it was painted glossy black. And there was this weird "silver" trim that looked like it came out of an old Acura TL. The steering wheel was just leather, and the interior was pretty "plain" at least compared to some pictures i've seen. I agree with you SW that the interior "quality" is better than that of BMW (i can't even begin to tell you how scary the interior quality is in the BMW) yet still behind where i'd "like" Lexus to be right now.

I found the "styling" of the interior to be identical to that of the BMW 5 series, however the "feel" of interior materials is 100% better on the Lexus than in the BMW. The BMW leather is as hard as that found on a cheap computer chair from Staples... I honestly have NO idea why no one's caught onto this by now over there in BMW land.

So if you like the looks of the BMW interior, the new GS is the same thing just with better quality materials. The exterior is pretty much what you see in pictures, not as "big" as i thought it would be though. The rear styling is too "IS-ish" for my liking, and the front just looks like a glorified Mitsubishi to me... I wouldn't want to get in a minor fender-bender in it, as the front bumper and components look very expensive.

To be honest i was most impressed with the ES350 they had there... The interior had this brown leather thing going on, but other than that it looked very nice. The leather "quality" and "feel" of the ES is so much better than that on any other Lexus i sat in there. The new GS leather is the same as the old and what's in the current IS; not as good as the LS but better than the BMW- by a LONG shot.

I have to say i wasn't "awed" by any car at the auto show. The new Lexus' just don't "excite" me like the older gens did, the BMW's are SO out of the luxury league it's not even funny... and Audi still needs to get new interior designers IMO. Out of every car i sat in, the one that "impressed" me was the Lincoln MKS. I'll tell you, those seats are some of the most comfortable i have EVER sat in. There seemed to be several "versions" and only one had the comfortable seats- no idea why though. I sat in it for a few minutes, just closed my eyes, and honestly could have fallen asleep there. I can't say i like the styling, but damn... those seats were comfortable.

And SW, what's that about them paying you $75 to test drive it?? Lincoln offered me some kind of $50 deal to test drive a Lincoln, but i'd love to do it for the Lexus.

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I found the "styling" of the interior to be identical to that of the BMW 5 series, however the "feel" of interior materials is 100% better on the Lexus than in the BMW. The BMW leather is as hard as that found on a cheap computer chair from Staples... I honestly have NO idea why no one's caught onto this by now over there in BMW land.

The BMW leather will still look good after a year or two, that more than I can say for the Lexus leather.

Honestly, comparing the GS to the BMW's interior is aiming too low. The 5 series have one of the worst interior in the industry in my opinion.

I check out the MKS briefly when I was shopping for a car, the ugly front grill and the built quality issues kept me away.

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I found the "styling" of the interior to be identical to that of the BMW 5 series, however the "feel" of interior materials is 100% better on the Lexus than in the BMW. The BMW leather is as hard as that found on a cheap computer chair from Staples... I honestly have NO idea why no one's caught onto this by now over there in BMW land.

The BMW leather will still look good after a year or two, that more than I can say for the Lexus leather.

Honestly, comparing the GS to the BMW's interior is aiming too low. The 5 series have one of the worst interior in the industry in my opinion.

I check out the MKS briefly when I was shopping for a car, the ugly front grill and the built quality issues kept me away.

I agree completely! The BMW leather is so "rubbery" that it doesn't wrinkle nor break down. The softer the leather, the easier it wears. I'd still prefer Lexus' soft leather over that of BMW even if it does wear a little quicker. I could never imagine an LS with the hard rubbery leather BMW uses.

And as for the Lincoln, you're right that the front is very fugly... I like the rear though, very "Maserati-esque". At least Lincoln is emulating a company like Maserati; Lexus is too busy designing their front ends from Mitsubishi and interior design from BMW... :blink:

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I agree completely! The BMW leather is so "rubbery" that it doesn't wrinkle nor break down. The softer the leather, the easier it wears. I'd still prefer Lexus' soft leather over that of BMW even if it does wear a little quicker. I could never imagine an LS with the hard rubbery leather BMW uses.

And as for the Lincoln, you're right that the front is very fugly... I like the rear though, very "Maserati-esque". At least Lincoln is emulating a company like Maserati; Lexus is too busy designing their front ends from Mitsubishi and interior design from BMW... :blink:

I think Lexus' leather is a bit too soft. Dont get me wrong, I like soft leather, but I like leather than doesnt wrinkle more. The leather that Lincoln and Audi use is somewhere in the middle, they are somewhat soft to the touch and wears very well.

The MKS was on my top 5 list before I test drove it, it drives heavy and did not handle well. I agree with you that its a good looking car except for the grille.

I also agree with you that the new Lexus GS350's front end needs work, it just doesnt look like a $60000 from the front.

What I dont agree with you is that the interior of GS is as bad as the 5 series. The materiial is better in the GS, the standard seats are more comfortable, the gauges are nicer and the mouse controller blows the I-drive out of the water.

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To be honest i was most impressed with the ES350 they had there...

Its a great car, I love my ES.

Yeah the ES you saw was the "special edition" for the 2012 model year. That saddle type interior is HUGELY popular right now. I like it, but it'll be outdated in no time.

The interior of this one didn't have wood trim- or at least if it was wood, it was painted glossy black. And there was this weird "silver" trim that looked like it came out of an old Acura TL. The steering wheel was just leather, and the interior was pretty "plain" at least compared to some pictures i've seen.

Thats the F Sport model. Lots of people have wished they would come out with an F Sport luxury model with the styling and performance upgrades of the F Sport, but with nice wood trim, etc. The luxury model is VERY nice.

From a styling perspective my biggest problem with the GS is the front end. The sides and back are bland but attractive, it just looks like the front end of another car pasted on to me...and the front bumper looks like its missing the lower cowl piece, especially on the F Sport. The E Class, 5 series, and A6 are much more attractive IMHO, but it looked better in person than in the pictures.

The BMW leather is as hard as that found on a cheap computer chair from Staples...

The BMW leather is likely not leather unless its on an upper end car (550 or above). Its "Leatherette" which is why it feels that way. If you sit in the BMWs that have the Nappa leather option, its much better. You can get it optioned on the lower cars, but they usually don't ship that way. Same for Mercedes. This really *BLEEP*es me off, when I buy a $50,000 BMW...I want it to have leather...standard. Paying $1,500 more for it is just an insult.

The BMW leather will still look good after a year or two, that more than I can say for the Lexus leather.

This is really not true. I have had several Lexus sedans, two of which have upwards of 200,000 miles. The leather looks great. My ES350 has 27k on it now and is 1.5 years old...leather is light cashmere...and it looks great. It just requires some care, as all fine things do.

found the "styling" of the interior to be identical to that of the BMW 5 series

See, I really didn't feel that way when I sat in it. The layout is similar, but the angles and proportions are VERY different. I didn't think they felt similar at all once I was sitting in them.

I liked the MKS too...I just couldn't spent $60k on a Lincoln.

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The BMW leather will still look good after a year or two, that more than I can say for the Lexus leather.

This is really not true. I have had several Lexus sedans, two of which have upwards of 200,000 miles. The leather looks great. My ES350 has 27k on it now and is 1.5 years old...leather is light cashmere...and it looks great. It just requires some care, as all fine things do.

found the "styling" of the interior to be identical to that of the BMW 5 series

Not my quote about BMW leather.

My experience with modern Lexus leather is good. I have a 2007 IS350 with 40K miles, leather is gray and looks very good.

I find the new GS interior to look very good (I sat in it at Pebble Beach), new and very sucessful 5 series interior is good too. Both interiors should meet expectations of premium mid-sized car buyers.

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I drove a Lincoln MKS, and just kept laughing as I kept replaying thier commercial in my head and repeating, This is the same price as a BMW, Audi, Lexus, Infinity? They're crazy AND they must think we are all stupid!

I like the new GS because I think it has the size and wheelbase for the heavier sculpted air damn and grill. I think the new tail lights, along with the entire rear end is a huge improvement over the departing safe bland styled tail section. I do also like how the GS has the LS "feel" to the profile also. And the Lexus gauges are just really nice and have been for awhile now. It's only a matter of time before we get the full digital gauge package the LFA has.

On the other hand though, I hate the new RX styling! And I see that design in other mfgrs. SUV's as well, like the new Mercedes ML has the same "feel" to it's styling as well. Although I think the MB ML is a little better looking than the RX is. Which is why I voiced my concern on the IS updates coming. If they make it more like the new LFA and the new Toyota FT 86 that is coming and the new Supra, I'm in.

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Its a great car, I love my ES.

Yeah the ES you saw was the "special edition" for the 2012 model year. That saddle type interior is HUGELY popular right now. I like it, but it'll be outdated in no time.

Ahh yes, that's exactly what it was! It reminded me of the saddle-colored seats they offered in the SC430 the past few years; very unique. Are they calling it the "Pebble Beach" or "Coach" edition for the ES?

Thats the F Sport model. Lots of people have wished they would come out with an F Sport luxury model with the styling and performance upgrades of the F Sport, but with nice wood trim, etc. The luxury model is VERY nice.

I think you might be right about the GS i saw being the F-Sport model, as i remember now seeing the "F-Sport" logo on the bottom of the steering wheel. This explains why it was so plain! This also might be why i had a hard time differentiating between the GS and the BMW 5-Series interiors, as without the wood trim, the GS dash looks a LOT different. The Lexus people there gave me a booklet of the different models, and when i sat in the 5-Series i turned to the GS page and put the picture of the GS dash up on the windshield and looked for the similarities and differences. The placement of the center A/C vents, curvature of the dash to incorporate the nav screen, shape of the side A/C vents, the position of the knobs on the radio, i mean the similarities are endless...

Here's a Photoshopped image representing the interior of the GS i sat in (the one i saw had black interior with silver trim like this, however i can't find a single image of one anywhere online as they all seem to have red leather).

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And here's a photo of the interior of the BMW 5-Series i sat in.

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See how close they are? There are minor "tweaks" between the two, but i can't find another car whose interior looks as close to the BMW's as the new GS. I just don't like the fact that Lexus stole the design from BMW. I wish Lexus did their own thing.

Lexus does offer different interior trims however, which IMO look VERY good and make it stand out from the BMW a bit better. The silver with "gray stripes" trim i saw on the GS was VERY cheap, and felt like it came out of an Acura TL.

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The major difference i found between the stripped interior of the new GS and the BMW's was the quality of materials. Everything in the new GS is "soft", although i found the "vinyl" to be rather "ehh". The quality of the leather seats is the biggest difference compared to the BMW's i think. Here's a shot of the BMW 5-Series' leather seats. They even LOOK cheap- rubbery, thick, bumpy, and hard.

25f5yzt.jpg

From a styling perspective my biggest problem with the GS is the front end. The sides and back are bland but attractive, it just looks like the front end of another car pasted on to me...and the front bumper looks like its missing the lower cowl piece, especially on the F Sport. The E Class, 5 series, and A6 are much more attractive IMHO, but it looked better in person than in the pictures.

That's exactly what i thought! My girlfriend even commented that the front bumper looked like it had hit something, as the left and right corners are very "triangular" like it'd been dented already.

On the other hand though, I hate the new RX styling! And I see that design in other mfgrs. SUV's as well, like the new Mercedes ML has the same "feel" to it's styling as well. Although I think the MB ML is a little better looking than the RX is. Which is why I voiced my concern on the IS updates coming. If they make it more like the new LFA and the new Toyota FT 86 that is coming and the new Supra, I'm in.

I agree! I absolutely HATE the 2010+ RX in terms of styling and performance- there isn't a single thing i like better on the new RX besides the push-button start. They really went backwards in terms of styling, both interior and out. I can't say like the "styling" of any current SUV's besides "maybe" the new Cadillac SRX (which is too small however).

I really hope my Rx400h lasts me a long time, because i'm afraid to upgrade. This is the first i've ever felt that there wasn't a single other car out there (in the same price range) that i'd rather have over the Rx400h- i'm just not in love with any other car, especially any of Lexus' new models. I just hope in 10 years time Lexus has some new designs out...

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Sorry for attributing the wrong quotes to you LEX...

I forget what the special edition is called...I don't think its called anything but "special edition" LOL.

I see what you are saying in the pictures, my point was that in person when you actually sit in each vehicle they both have very different feels, different angles, etc.

It brings up the point...how different can these layouts be? If you have a big screen up high by the windshield for visibility controlled by a controller...where can the A/C vents go? Where can the controller go where the ergonomics work?

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Yeahh, i think if the model i sat in had the wood trim interior i would have had more of a "positive" reaction to it. It was just so PLAIN- it was hard for me to appreciate it as a Lexus.

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^ All good observations as premium Lexus/BMW/Mercedes/Audi interiors become more and more similar. Typically today they are business-like, a bit cold, quite functional. I've checked-out and sat in the interiors of all including new GS.

btw - Lincoln deathpool might be in the works, they need new and better products fast. The comment about Lincoln attempting to charge premium car prices for marginal cars has been a problem for well over 20 years.

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^ All good observations as premium Lexus/BMW/Mercedes/Audi interiors become more and more similar. Typically today they are business-like, a bit cold, quite functional. I've checked-out and sat in the interiors of all including new GS.

btw - Lincoln deathpool might be in the works, they need new and better products fast. The comment about Lincoln attempting to charge premium car prices for marginal cars has been a problem for well over 20 years.

I still don't know how Mercury survived for as long as it did. Have you ever seen the Mercury Mountaineer and Ford Explorer together in the same place? Seriously, the only difference between the two is the presence of a few double-sided-tape moldings and a different grille- and of course, the badge. The Ford Explorer with all of the options looks identical to the Mountaineer; yet they charged a hell of a lot more.

I think Lincoln on the other hand is doing the best it can. Their current models are somewhat aesthetically appealing, the tech isn't that bad, and they are VERY comfortable! It's just that price... for a LINCOLN!

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And the price is just one part of the issue, the other issue is poor resale meaning high initial price + terrible resale = extremely high cost of ownership.

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