Introduced in the early 1990s, the midsize Lexus GS series was intended to further position Lexus as a legitimate competitor to the premium German automakers. While the original sport-oriented GS didn't win many checkered flags in its early years, each successive redesign has put it that much closer to its European rivals.
The most recent V8-powered iteration of the car was the Lexus GS 460. (The GS 350 is the V6 model.) As midsize luxury sedans go, it was reliable, well-constructed and offered a large number of features. However, it suffered from limited headroom and a V8 engine that paled in comparison to its rivals while offering little advantage over its V6-powered sibling. As such, we would stick with the cheaper GS 350 model or go for a different V8-powered luxury sedan.
Most Recent Lexus GS 460
Technically, the Lexus GS 460 was a new model for 2008. However, the 460 part of its name is more of a reflection of the car's 4.6-liter V8 than any actual redesign. Prior to this car was the GS 430. Other than their powertrain, GS 430s from 2006 and '07 are largely identical to the 460 that was produced before being discontinued following 2011.
The GS 460 was motivated by a 4.6-liter V8 engine that produced 342 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. It was coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. The standard adaptive suspension offered four modes that allowed the GS 460 driver to vary the shock absorber damping to prioritize ride comfort or handling. An optional stabilizer system reduced body roll and generally improved the car's balance during cornering.
Every GS 460 came fully equipped with a long list of features that includes adaptive xenon headlights, an adaptive suspension, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, wood trim, dual-zone climate control and a 10-speaker sound system. Models from 2010 and onwards received an iPod/USB audio interface as well as streaming Bluetooth audio as standard equipment. Major options were a superb Mark Levinson audio system, a navigation system and adaptive cruise control.
Inside, the Lexus GS 460 was luxurious and finely trimmed, Depending on the interior color, genuine maple or walnut complemented the rich leather, and the gauges were surrounded by classic chrome rings. A drop-down dash panel concealed many of the lesser-used switches and secondary controls; it was a nice touch, though it could occasionally get in the way if left open. Unfortunately, there was less headroom in both front and back than in competitor models. Taller occupants may find their noggins uncomfortably close to the headliner.
The V8 was somewhat of a disappointment, as it was outclassed by eight-cylinder power plants found in its competitors. Considering that the V6-equipped GS 350 model (reviewed separately) was just a tad slower, we suggest saving some money and avoiding the GS 460 in favor of the 350. The hybrid GS 450h may also be worth a look considering it was just as quick as the 460, but more fuel efficient.