2011 Lexus GS350 AWD

The current-generation GS has been on the market for six years, an eternity in the world of premium cars. So when I drove it last night and asked myself the inevitable question, why would anyone buy this over its many much newer competitors, I said, well, Lexus must offer some killer lease deals on the GS. So I went to the Lexus Web site expecting to find these killer lease deals with, like, headlines blaring, "Drive a Lexus GS350 for only $599 a month, no money down!!!" I didn't find anything of the sort, but I did come across a Lexus-provided comparison of the GS with three principal competitors: the Mercedes-Benz E350, the Infiniti M37, and the BMW 535i. Lexus claims that, in order to get models equipped as well as the GS350 is for its $48,925 base price, you'd have to spend $55,075 for the Infiniti, $58,345 for the Mercedes, and a whopping $63,575 for the BMW. I didn't double-check their specification charts and math, but I have no reason to think they are stretching the truth. All four sedans are available with either rear- or all-wheel drive, all of them are comfortable and luxurious and have powerful six-cylinder engines, and all four of them should prevent you from being snubbed by your country-club valets, even if they aren't parked in the front circle drive.

That said, it's time for a new Lexus GS. The current car is nice enough, and powerful enough, and safe enough, and luxurious enough, but that's not really enough. It feels old, and the styling looks more dumpy and dated by the minute. But, hey, if you just want a nice mid-size luxury sedan and you have a good relationship with your Lexus dealer, have at it; you'll probably be very pleased over the long haul.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

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