Year after year, Toyota’s Lexus team introduces so many interesting technologies to its cars that geeks like me have no option but to take notice. Earlier this month, I checked out the 2013 GS 350 in Thailand.
It has a 3.5 litre V6 engine and max output of 306 horsepower. While it is a certified ultra-low emission vehicle, it can zip from 1o to 100 kmph in 6 seconds. It is a good thing that 10 airbags are standard.
It is undeniably a luxury car, but I was looking out for the technology. The first thing I noticed was its huge 12.3 inch touchscreen, the central console. About two-thirds of it is used up for navigation and driving info, while the rest is for music and climate control. The screen is navigated using a mouse-like joystick. I prefer dials, but a few minutes with this, and I had converted to the Lexus ‘mouse’. Below the screen is a signature Lexus analogue clock and redundant buttons for climate control.
Then I turned the car into a dark alley, and saw its head-up display. It displays navigation information, speed, current gear and RPM—all hovering above the steering wheel, and appearing to be 6 ft in front of me.
When you engage its ‘lane assist’, the car reads road markings and automatically steers the vehicle back to the centre of the lane. You will also be warned when another vehicle enters the car’s blind spots (which cannot be seen in rear view mirrors). There’s even a camera that detects if your eyes are shut while you are driving. Usually, it will only send out loud beeps in such an emergency, but if it detects a possible collision too, then the car will automatically brake.
And now on to the luxury: wood panelling, 18-way front seats that offer shoulder support, variable cushion lengths, and climate control options for front and rear seats.
This is one car I am really looking forward to driving in India.
The Above review appeared in the Open Magazine, Issue 14, Volume 05, Dated 16th April 2012. To read the article, the side items and other brilliant articles from the Magazine, please pick up the Print Copy.