2014 Lexus GS350 Replaces Six-Speed Automatic With Eight-Speed

The rear-wheel-drive 2014 Lexus GS350 will adopt an eight-speed automatic transmission in place of its current six-speed unit, according to a Lexus statement. The all-wheel-drive GS350 model, however, will keep its six-speed transmission.

The 2014 Lexus GS350 continues with its 306-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine, but switching to the eight-speed automatic transmission is expected to bump the rear-wheel-drive model's highway fuel economy up by one mpg, to 19/29 mpg (city/highway). Fuel economy for the all-wheel-drive 2014 Lexus GS350 will stay at 19/26 mpg.

The transmission swap is the biggest of several changes for the 2014 Lexus GS350. The luxury sedan, as well as its GS450h hybrid sibling, also adds rear cross traffic alert and power-folding mirrors to its Blind Spot Monitor option. The sensors for the self-parking feature are now flush-mounted in the car's fascias; a power trunk opener becomes available as an option; the Luxury Package adds LED foglights and a radio song title display in the rear armrest; the head-up display is now full-color; and the optional night vision system has been discontinued.

The 2014 Lexus GS450h also receives a minor transmission change. Its continuously variable transmission now has eight virtual gear steps when placed in Sport mode, compared to six virtual steps in last year's car. The car's 286-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and 180-hp electric motor/generator are unchanged, and the 2014 Lexus GS450h will remain rated at 29/34 mpg.

Pricing for the 2014 Lexus GS350 starts at $48,610 (including a $910 destination charge) for rear-wheel drive, an increase of $450 over last year's price, while the all-wheel-drive model starts at $50,860. The 2014 Lexus GS450h costs $60,510, which is up $150 from the 2013 model.\

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