News Column

The Lexus GS 460 Upgrades Your Driving

May 22, 2008

Ralph Gray

 Lexus GS 460

A sporty Lexus may seem like a contradiction--but it isn't in the Lexus GS 460's case.

That's "sporty," not "sports," so there's plenty of room for the traditional Lexus smooth comfort. The GS will handle most bendy roads just fine, but it's not a true sports sedan. Not with the name Lexus.

In true Lexus tradition, the GS 460 can make the driver look good. That's not only by the car's stylish appearance but on the road as well.

The GS can make an average driver seem like at least a neo boy racer. At the same time the GS cossets driver and occupants with Lexus luxury.

The driving magic comes from a vehicle dynamics integrated management system (VDIM) that nudges enthusiastic motorists back on course. Hit a puddle and there's no tug on the wheel. Wind gusts push the GS one way and VDIM pushes it back.

That helps drivers whose motor skills are not what they were 25 years ago, says Lexus. It ties in other safety features, they say.

"The car has assumed more of the responsibility of driving," adds Lexus. It reduces over and under steering and makes drivers better.

Unspoken is that years may have taken their toll on Lexus buyers motor skills. Some wags have called the VDIM system a kind of automotive Viagra. Lexus shuns that notion.

"It makes you a better driver," Lexus says.

So naturally we tried it out. The VDIM is as advertised. It gracefully puts the car on the proper track (and the road) when drivers overreach.

That helps the handling to be top notch. It's not in the league of a European autobahn basher, but the GS 460 won't embarrass anyone.

The VDIM handles brakes, steering and stability control. Adding to that is an adaptive variable suspensions, or AVS, system that provides four settings that include "sport" for tighter control. It automatically selects the right suspension for the driving condition.

The 4.6L V-8 kicks out 342 horsepower that zips the GS 460 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. That is rapid, indeed, for a four-door sedan.

That power drives through an eight speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels.

An available 3.5L V-6 engine produces 303 horsepower and is a bit slower. Fuel economy goes up to 19 city and 27 highway. All-wheel drive slims that to 18/25 while the big V-8 gets 17/24.

The GS 350 has been a favorite because of that all-wheel drive. The vehicle feels more nimble and responsive than its big brother and the all wheel drive (AWD) glues it to the pavement.

In either flavor, the GS satisfies. Goodies include heated and ventilated power seats, wood and leather interior and the trademark four round and separate headlights.

And 5.7 seconds 0-60 mph in style.

Lexus GS 460 Lexus GS 460

•Engine: 4.6L V-8

•Dimensions: 112.2" wheelbase; 190.0" length.

•Base price: $52,620/tested $58,664.

•Fuel economy: 17/24 mpg.

Source: (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

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