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STYLING | 7 out of 10
It’s more aggressive than Lexuses of the past and reminds us a bit of an Infiniti.
Car and Driver
Like it or not, it does stand out more than any previous GS. The pinched grille, which Lexus refers to as a “spindle” grille, is a key element of the new face of Lexus; expect it to quickly spread throughout the company’s lineup.
Even if we're not sold on the new grille, the rest of its lines are smooth and elegant. You can see plenty of traces of the old GS in the new one, especially in the greenhouse and the curved forward edge of the C-pillar, which carries over since the original.
It may look too aggressive in some pictures, but in person there's more elegance to it, especially when you're not looking at it head-on.
a Darth Vader face
The Lexus GS has been a slow seller for a while now, despite being the most handsome four-door in the Lexus garage. To spice up the sales, Lexus debuted a completely reskinned GS last year–with some polarizing design–but that's mostly for the better, we think.
Nearly every angle of the vehicle is strikingly different than it was before, from its conservative roofline to its new 'spindle' grille, now seen on so many other Lexus products. That's a look that some may have trouble acclimating to, but others like quite a bit–and it makes the GS instantly recognizable on the road. That very striking effect gets a little too busy with its foglights that get tucked away on F Sport cars, replaced by LED eyeliner on the headlamps.
Of all the GS sedans we've seen flow out of Lexus' studios, this one's the most upright. The side glass and the cut of the D-pillar echoes strongly of the 2002-2010 BMW 7-Series, where the GS' entire history put low, sleek lines higher on the honey-do list. At first glance challenging and bristling with detail and surface excitement, the GS 350 settles down quickly and comfortably into your brain.
The cabin does something similar, even as it executes a 180-degree turn from the softly rounded, smoothly deployed ghost of Lexus past. There's a spartan vibe underneath that emanates from the horizontally themed dash, something akin to a Nakamichi sound system, all work while it plays, while cool LED ambient lighting glows around the perimeter and a high-resolution display sucks in all the attention, away from beautiful, big gauges. Real wood trim softens the cabin up well, while F Sport cars wear metallic-printed plastic that sounds less appealing than it looks. Padded leather panels in rich, deep hues keep the subtext alive: we're looking at something that's more live-performance studio than traditional Lexus library.
There's some visual clutter at ground level, but the Lexus GS' spindle grille and horizontally themed interior are very attractive.