Lexus Adds Eight-Speed Auto to Rear-Drive 2014 GS350

2014 Lexus GS350

Lexus is gifting its eight-speed automatic with the obligatory steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to the 2014 GS350 in an effort to improve both performance and fuel economy. There is a caveat to this, however: the eight-speed will be available only with rear-wheel drive—all-wheel-drive GS350s keep their six-speed autos for at least another year.

It’s a formula that’s worked in the brand’s new-for-2014 IS, where the all-wheel-drive 350 variant retains the six-speed while the rear-drive model adds a pair of cogs. Lexus says that this is simply a problem of packaging: the larger transmission won’t fit in the driveline when fitted with AWD gear.

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Just to further Lexus’s point, its flagship LS sedan can be optioned with both all-wheel drive and an eight-speed gearbox. So for those luxury shoppers in the Snowbelt, go big, or go German.

2014 Lexus GS350

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