Vellum Venom: 2013 Lexus GS 350

vellum venom 2013 lexus gs 350

A design studio gets shocking when someone shrugs off their stereotypical work, coming up with a whole new game. But all your designs look the same! You are too retro! I’ve had better looking bowel movements than your last luxury sedan proposal! The end result of this hate can be shockingly different from what they normally make, and the person behind it can have new found swagger. In my case as a student at CCS? Not so much. But for the Lexus? Maybe so.

Anger. It’s a good thing in the cutthroat world of design. And this new GS has it in spades. Taking the gaping maw of modern Audis and adding a metric ton of hard-edged F.O.A.D. angles to the schnoz worked well for the Lexus GS. I like the brutal angles to the grille, the not so subtle chrome framing and I especially adore the corners of the bumpers: the fang overhang is very Batmobile.

To wit: my Mother, a GS430 owner, likes her car better from this angle. Which means that Lexus’ new direction might be well on its way to lowering its ownership demographic.

Critics at the time referred to the Edsel’s loony grille as “an Oldsmobile sucking on a Lemon.” This is definitely an A6 enjoying that same fruit, except after a few tequila shots to try and forget a traumatic incident. And that’s huge compliment! After all, who remembers that Oldsmobile…and who can’t forget the iconic face of an Edsel?

This Lexus sucks…in a good way. There’s some serious harmonizing here in these lines. Remember what was written on Samuel L. Jackson’s wallet in “Pulp Fiction”?

Ahhh, the classic RWD proportions of a luxury sedan. This may not be a Fisker Karma, but the same applies here: long hood and a short deck. The dash-to-axle ratio is long enough to remind you this is a vehicle with the engine pointed in the correct direction, driving the proper pair of wheels. Plus, the punchy grille still comes correct.

The dash-to-axle deliciousness is even better from the side. The chrome window trim keeps the theme set up by the grille, but everything is a little softer. I also like the relatively tame side surfacing, especially compared to the BMW 3-series.The GS may try too hard up front, but this sedan is keepin’ it cool on the sides. Better let BMW stick with hyper-Bangle flame surfacing, this is still a Lexus. And that is something to be proud of.

Oh, and shame on me for my insistence to go guerrilla-publishing with only my camera phone and almost no time with the vehicle: this is a terrible picture and I apologize. But if you can only stir up the Venom at high noon on a Saturday, well…

And, in another attempt to look different, the GS avoids the Hofmeister Kink in its quarter window with something that emulates the front grille. Combined with the curve of the rear door, the GS has an almost hourglass quality that takes the edge off the rest of the package’s overt masculinity. Or something like that!

The rear cross section is quite clean, no lumps and bumps like many a modern luxo-sport sedan. Note how the exhaust pipe (overlays) pull up, while the bumper and quarter panel have a distinct downturn in the corners. That same curvature is emulated in the brake/signal lamp assemblies. And the obligatory license plate chrome mustache is nicely integrated too. Me likey.

How I long for just a touch more tumblehome in the B-pillar. Bending things back in that area would naturally bend the C-pillar and make the whole roofline a lot sleeker. The natural flow would make it happen on Vellum, as you can’t do one thing without an equal reaction in another area. That’s how your body moves when you draw one line on paper. Golfers know what I’m talkin’ about…it’s all about the swing, son!

This might be one of the best luxo-sedan butts in the business. Mercedes is flabby, BMW is flexing “Dr. Todd ‘The Todd’ Quinlan” style, and Cadillac is a geometric Buffalo Butt. This right here is tight, muscular, and the lighting pods and angry brow of the decklid make for an assertive look. And the double barrel shotgun look below? That’s just proper.

Screwball aside: Buick needs this emblem-homage on the Regal’s lighting cluster. You know what I’m talkin’ about…

Rarely do I appreciate a hunk of plastic deviating from the form of the sheetmetal, but this bit of taillight surface tension works. It is a slick operator.

Okay, this was a bit much. A faux rear diffuser? Somebody is trying too hard…not to mention on a vehicle with a torqueless V6 and a ton of styling that suggests far more brutal performance than what’s on tap. Still, this is a great effort and the second best looking GS to date: the rebadged Jaguar Kensington Concept mentioned in a previous review is still my favorite.

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  • Acubra Acubra on Apr 04, 2012

    Sorry, but this thing, just like most Toyotas starting from early 00s, seems to be overstyled by 300%. All those kinks and curves look like an interesting design exersise when seen separately, but it is a total mess as a whole. Classic and restrained designs last for decades and age gracefully. This one will look tired and out of place in 4-5 years.

  • Jonnyguitar Jonnyguitar on Apr 04, 2012

    Overstyled 300%, at least. I'm no expert, but would it be at all possible for a modern car to be a shape, with details that serve this shape rather than distract endlessly? I'm thinking something along the lines of a Saab 900, as a car which accomplishes that

  • Garrett They’ve basically screwed Alfa over. Nobody’s going to buy the Tonale. Also, the last Dodge compact vehicle was also a reworked Alfa.
  • Kip65688146 "Everyone is worried about the public stations, but why don't we focus on the low hanging fruit: home charging? "BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.............This guy gets it!I'll add current battery tech means EV's in their current state are not replacements for ICE Cars & trucks but make a good argument as 2rd or 3rd vehicles in mulit-car households which is hardly a niche market.
  • 2ACL Looking forward to the next part. I didn't like the first generation, but the second-generation was on my radar; I like the low-key, yet elegant styling, and the automotive media raved that the road-handling was significantly cleaned up from its nautical predecessor's. I'd still consider one if a replacement event unexpectedly befell my TL, but developments since have made that something of a long shot.
  • Deanst “Switching to EVs will be end of the Dodge brand. Nobody wants EVs.”Tesla, a brand which only sells EVs, is the number 1 luxury vehicle seller in America. But do go on…….
  • Randall Tefft Sundeen Oldsmobile was ALWAYS my favorite GM marque ! I remember as a kid you couldn't walk down the street without tripping on one! In 1977 and 1984 respectively olds sold. Million units, GM's second biggest seller as well as being the test brand for new options (Why take a risk with Cadillac?) The first CLUTCHLESS MANUAL , the first ELECTRIC POWER WINDOWS the first AUTOMATIC not to mention in 1974 the first airbag. Iam fortunate enough to live in a warm climate where old cars are plentiful sadly very few Oldsmobiles. Many features we take for granted were developed by this special brand
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