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.
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.
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