Motoring Tampa Bay: LEXUS GS350 A Splendid Blend Of Performance, Elegance

If there is a dream luxury sedan, this is it. Of course, you can acquire a similar Audi, Mercedes or BMW, but for far more money than the Lexus GS350. For 2016, the 3.5-liter V-6 power train has been retained to crank out 305 horsepower (increase of 6 from its predecessor) @ 6400 rpm and 280 (up by 3) pounds-feet of torque @ 4800 rpm. Available as a rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the 3,726-pound midsize car can scoot 0 to 60 in a mere 5.7 seconds with a top speed of 143 mph. Power reaches the wheels via a seamless 8-speed auto transmission, which also can be shifted via steering-wheel paddles.

Soaking up hurdles with skill, sure-footedness and poise is a double wishbone front and multilink rear suspension. Handling and steering feel is solid, thanks to a variable-speed sensing power system. And depending on road conditions (and sometimes the mood!), you can take off in eco, sport, normal or sport+ modes.

Ensconced on the unitized steel body are arrowhead-shaped HID headlights surrounded by the Lexus spindle grille, and LED rear combination lamps. Cabin ergonomics are of the highest quality with well-bolstered 10-way adjustable power heated/cooled front seats.

The analog instrument cluster of speedometer and tachometer with a centered drive information center is logically laid out. Conveying a rich ambiance is Gray Sapele wood on the doors and steering wheel with aluminum trim. Creature comforts include power tilt/slide moon roof, dual-zone auto climate control, power tilt/telescopic steering column, keyless access and start, and LED ambient lights. And you can toggle navigation, climate, audio and phone controls for the massive 12.3-inch touch screen with a mouse-like, easy-to-use controller on the console.

Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management with stability and traction control, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

Peppy, fun to rev and lunging forward with fervor at each turn, the GS350 delivers a splendid blend of performance and flair. To fulfill your dream, all you need now is $50,000 and change. Plenty of it.

Tires: 235/45R18
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length: 192.1 inches
Fuel capacity: 17.4 gallons
City: 20 mpg
Highway: 29 mpg
Web site: www.lexus.com