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Toyota gave their luxury arm its own name, one that is recognized worldwide in its own right, when they initialized Lexus. Rare to Japanese product releases, the Lexus was launched in the US first. This is no accident, as the US boasts a strong market for luxury cars. In the battle of luxury darlings, how does the 2009 Lexus GS350 hold up against the 2009 Mercedes Benz E350?2009 lexus gs350 carsdirect.jpg

2009 e350 carsdirect.jpg


At a market price between $45,000 and $47,000, the new 2009 Lexus GS350
is not the cheapest car in its field. Being hypermiling-challenged will
also put some people off, with city driving getting you less than 20
mpg. The GS350 makes its major gain on the 2009 Mercedes Benz E350 by
offering a blistering 303bhp, leaving behind the 268bhp “slowpoke”.

The Lexus also offers slightly more cargo space, just 0.3 cubic feet,
and more definitely outscores the Merc on legroom, with 43.5″ to the E350′s 41.7″ – 2 inches can grow exponentially depending on the length
of the drive. As in nearly every case, the extra cost garners the extra
goods: more power and room. The decision again lies in the value that
accompanies the cost.

The GS350 is a nice ride, certainly. But does it lack the kind of styling cues that win a Benz so many extra points? Which car “looks” better? Have you recently shopped or considered either/both?


2008 Lexus GS Model Line Overview

Model lineup: Lexus GS 350 ($44,150); GS 350 AWD ($46,100); GS 460 ($52,620); GS 450h ($54,900)
Engines: 303-hp V6; 342-hp V8; 340-hp hybrid V6
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic (V6); 8-speed automatic (V8); CVT (hybrid)
Safety equipment (standard): driver
and front-passenger front airbags; front and rear side-curtain airbag;
seat-mounted side-impact airbag for front and rear seats; driver and
front passenger knee airbags; force-limiting seat belts with
pre-tensioners for driver, front passenger and outboard rear seats;
3-point belts for all seating positions, including rear center
position; height-adjustable front shoulder belt anchors; automatic
locking retractor (ALR)/emergency locking retractor (ELR) seat belt
function on all seating positions except driver (ELR only); traction
control; Vehicle Stability Control system (VSC); four-channel,
four-sensor anti-lock brakes (ABS) integrated with Brake Assist and
Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD); electronic stability
control; tire pressure warning system
Safety equipment (optional): Vehicle
Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) integrates and manages ECB, ABS,
BA, EBD, VSC and Electronic Power Steering (EPS) for total-vehicle
dynamics control; Electronic Controlled Brake system (ECB);
Pre-Collision System (PCS); front and rear park assist; rearview camera
Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in: Tahara, Japan

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Lexus GS 460 ($52,620)
Standard equipment: leather
upholstery; heated and ventilated front seats; dual-zone automatic
climate control; interior air filter; power tilt/telescoping wood and
leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; cruise control;
heated 10-way power-adjustable front seats; memory for the driver’s
seat; mirrors and steering wheel; trunk pass-through; heated
auto-dimming power exterior mirrors with tilt-down back-up aid; power
windows; power locks; SmartAccess keyless access and starting; sunroof;
remote engine starting; 10-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo with six-disc
CD changer; auxiliary audio input jack; vehicle information system with
a seven-inch touch screen; Bluetooth wireless cell phone link;
auto-dimming rearview mirror; universal garage door opener; power trunk
closer; automatic xenon adaptive headlights; theft-deterrent system;
fog lights; adaptive variable suspension with sport and normal modes;
P245/50ZR18 tires on alloy wheels
Options as tested (MSRP): all-season
run-flat tires ($320), rain-sensing wipers with headlight cleaners
($100), rear sunshade ($210), Mark Levinson 330-watt audio/navigation
system with surround sound and rearview camera ($3630), rear spoiler
($200), Lexus Link ($900), intuitive front and rear park assist ($500)
Destination charge: ($765)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $59,245
Layout: rear-wheel drive
Engine: 4.6-liter dohc 32-valve V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 342 @ 6200
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 339 @ 3600
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shiftgate
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 17/24 mpg
Wheelbase: 112.2 in.
Length/width/height: 190.0/71.7/56.1 in.
Track, f/r: 60.4/60.6 in.
Turning circle: 36.7 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 37.8/54.4/43.5 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 37.0/51.4/36.4 in.
Cargo volume: 12.7 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: N/A
Suspension, f: independent,
double wishbones with high-mount upper arms, coil springs, gas-filled
shock absorbers, stabilizer bar, Adaptive Variable Suspension with
driver selectable shock absorber damping
Suspension, r: independent,
multi-link with high-mount upper arms, coil springs, gas-filled shock
absorbers, stabilizer bar, Adaptive Variable Suspension with driver
selectable shock absorber damping
Ground clearance: 5.1 in.
Curb weight: 3945 lbs.
Tires: P245/40ZR18 all-season
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist; ECB brake-by-wire; VDIM electronic stability control
Fuel capacity: 18.8 gal.


2008 Mercedes Benz E Class Model Line Overview

Model lineup: Mercedes-Benz
E320 Bluetec ($52,200); E350 ($51,200); E350 4Matic ($52,700); E350
4Matic wagon ($55,950); E550 ($59,700); E550 4Matic ($61,200); E63 AMG
($85,300); E63 AMG wagon ($86,050)
Engines: 210-hp
3.0-liter dohc 24-valve turbodiesel V6; 268-hp 3.5-liter dohc 24-valve
V6; 382-hp 5.5-liter dohc 48-valve V8; 507-hp 6.2-liter dohc 48-valve V8
Transmissions: 5-speed automatic; 7-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): dual-stage
front airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, front and rear
curtain-style head-protection airbags, active head restraints, seatbelt
pretensioners; Pre-Safe System, rollover sensor, antilock brakes (ABS)
with Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), traction
control, tire pressure monitor
Safety equipment (optional): none
Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in: Sindelfingen, Germany

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Mercedes-Benz E550 sedan ($59,700)
Standard equipment: automatic
four-zone climate control, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel
with multifunction controls, power windows with express up and down,
auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, glass sunroof,
10-way power driver and passenger seats with leather inserts and
three-position memory, cruise control, walnut trim, nine-speaker
surround-sound stereo with six-disc CD changer, Tele-aid emergency
communication system
Options as tested (MSRP): Sport
Package (N/C); Premium II ($4,770) includes Hands-Free Communication
System, DVD COMAND Navigation, Sirius Satellite Radio, power rear
window shade, Headlight Washing System, Bi-Xenon Active Light System,
cornering fog lights, Keyless Go, Active-Ventilated front seats;
Parktronic ($1,120); wood/leather steering wheel ($550); electronic
trunk closer ($530)
Destination charge: ($775)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $67,445
Layout: rear-wheel drive
Engine: 5.5-liter dohc 48-valve V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 382 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 391 @ 2800-4800
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 15/22 mpg
Wheelbase: 112.4 in.
Length/width/height: 191.0/71.7/58.4 in.
Track, f/r: 62.1/61.9 in.
Turning circle: 37.4 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.1/57.2/41.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 37.8/57.2/35.6 in.
Cargo volume: 15.9 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: N/A
Suspension, f: independent, four-link, air springs, variable-rate gas-charged shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Suspension, r: independent, five link, air springs, variable-rate gas-charged shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Ground clearance: 3.6 in.
Curb weight: 3885 lbs.
Tires: 245/40R18
Brakes, f/r: vented disc/vented disc with ABS, Brake Assist
Fuel capacity: 21.1 gal.

 
 
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