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2008 Lexus GS 350 AWD review

Lexus has always made fine automobiles, but few if any could ever be called true enthusiast machines. When the GS came out, it was Lexus’ answer to creating a proper mid-size sport sedan. Taking the cues from their German rivals, it came to the table with RWD, six cylinder power, and all the luxury accoutrements that you might expect. In its second iteration, Lexus dropped a powerful V8 into it and a serious contender was born. 2006 came around and the third generation made its debut. AWD became an option for the first time, as long as you pair it with the V6.

Sitting in it, the GS definitely feels much more luxurious than its baby brother, the ES. All the materials feel a step above, as they should, and the seating is definitely sportier. On the negative side, the back seat and trunk are tighter. But if you’re into performance above all else then that may not make much of a difference to you.

Fire it up and the GS has no problem showing you what the extra money over its little brother buys you. The GS moves much more confidently, but still sedately. The AWD system adds a new level of confidence to the experience when a playful mood strikes. The V6 responds decently to your right foot with adequate power. The structure feels tight and solid, and the build quality is above reproach. The GS is definitely a quality piece.

And that’s about the best I can say about it. You’ll get your money worth; undoubtedly it’ll be a good, reliable car for years to come. The ownership experience will probably be second to none. And, compared to other brands, overall it’s a pretty good value. The performance is better than decent. Quiet competency is the name of the game. What it does, it does very well. But the question I kept asking myself was “If it’s good, then why don’t I love it?” And the answer is – there’s just no passion. It will do what you ask of it, again competently and confidently, but it does not encourage playful behavior. If you want no hassles and no headaches, this is the car for you. If you’re looking for a true sport sedan, try something in a size 5. It’s the classic conundrum – do you go for the option that will be safe and sound over the long haul, or the option that will guarantee you a good time all the time, even with a few side effects? Only your patience level and commitment to performance can answer that question.

Photos property of Lexus

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