WERE HAVE ALL THE naturally-aspirated engines gone? There was a time when turbocharged were on the brink of extinction but now it seems the tide has turned against any powerplant that doesn’t have a blower force-feeding its intake plenum. So when a carmaker rolls out a naturally-aspirated model these days, it should be savoured like a fine bottle of whisky or a vinyl record.
As just about every car launched these days comes with a turbocharged and/or supercharged motor, it is easy to get lost in the heady low-end shove that makes the cars feel faster than they really are. The Lexus GS350 however proves that the ‘old tech’ is still relevant and offers plenty that turbocharged engines don’t. The engine in question is the 3.5-litre V6 that makes 310hp and is coupled to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Unlike the GS Turbo that delivers its peak torque at 1,650rpm, this car dishes out the beans In a more linear fashion.
In doing so, it reveals a greater breadth of talent; changing its character to suit as the revs rise towards the 6,800rpm redline. In slow moving traffic, the V6 idles in near silence and the relatively anaemic throttle response actually makes for a smoother ride in such a driving condition.
Within the first 2000rpm of so, the driver’s accelerator inputs are smoothed out as the naturally aspirated engine slurs through any Imprecise pedal movements. Passengers are treated to that stately limousine ride as a result and so will you if you are chauffeured. Farther up the rev band, the engine starts to make itself heard to lend a more emotional driving experience that matches the increased pace on expressways or less populated roads.
It is here that the GS also shows off its ability to entertain as much as it pampers its occupant switch a blend of comfort without too much body roll during hard cornering. If you ever get the chance to accelerate to 6,000rpm – in an urgent overtaking manoeuvre for example -the GS 350’s V6 emits a proper muscle car scream albeit one that sounds like it’s coming from far away.
All the while, the engine spins with the sort of creamy smoothness that Lexus has been synonymous with. For those less mechanically inclined, they will still appreciate the extra refinement a six-cylinder unit offers that improves the ride to no end.
The quieter proceedings also go some way to show off the spectacular Mark Levinson sound system that is fitted to the GS350. Inside, the cabin simply oozes quality with sumptuous leathers and highly polished marque try put together by Japanese craftsmen who must first pass a one- handed origami test before they are allowed to work on the car.
Although the GS 350 will oblige if its driver wants to drive it as aggressively as its sporty styling might suggest, this car is also capable of soothing frazzled nerves as the occupants sink into the plush leather seats an diet one of the most refined cars this side of a Rolls-Royce pamper you in comfort and refinement.