By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
The 2009 Lexus GS 350 makes you wish you owned a sweeping piece of property complete with curving racetrack.
Powerful and slick, this GS boasts an impressive 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 303 horsepower and 274 pound-feet of torque. With all that power, it’s a shame drivers of this vehicle have to go easy on the pedal — pushing pedal to the metal on this Lexus four-door sedan would most definitely result in a speeding ticket — if not immediately, then surely in the not-to-distant future.
Hence the dream of a personal racetrack.
Until then, the average driver will just have to admire the power and tight handling of this luxury midsize performance sedan.
The model we tested was enhanced by available all-wheel drive, an interior that takes even the classiest up a notch and a long list of standard and optional features.
Several of the “experts” out there have deprived the GS 350 of best-in-class ranking, but this reporter certainly believes Lexus has leveled the playing field with its GS 350.
Available in only one trim level — as is standard for Lexus vehicles — the GS 350 comes in either all-wheel or rear-wheel drive. The sedan comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, perforated leather, push button start/stop, moonroof, a multi-information touch screen, and a 10-speaker audio system with cassette player, to name a few features. That’s right, the GS 350 comes with a cassette player. They still make those?
Options on the model we tested included rear park assist, a rear spoiler, satellite radio, and a 14-speaker Mark Levinson DVD surround-sound system, to name a few.
The six-speed sequential shift automatic transmission is the only one offered, but it did a good job of shifting through gears quickly and with ease.
From actual polished wood accents to its aluminum trim, the GS 350 offers an incredibly luxurious cabin with plenty of room. The sedan seats five relatively comfortably depending on exactly who you’re trying to fit in the back seat. The elevated rear center seat can be a tight fit from time to time, but it’s nothing to really criticize.
We really liked driving this Lexus around town — especially on the highway where we could let it loose a little bit.
Definitely consider competitors like the BMW 5 Series and Infiniti M35 before making a final decision — but the GS 350 seemed to have it all.
2009 Lexus GS 350
STARTING PRICE: $46,950
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed automatic
GAS MILEAGE PER GALLON: 18 city, 25 highway
WHO IS THIS FOR: Someone looking for a sporty sedan that can go really, really fast