What's New for 2010
For 2010, the Lexus GS 460 gains a few additional standard technology features, including an iPod/USB port, streaming Bluetooth audio, satellite radio, emergency telematics and active front head restraints. The optional navigation system gains enhanced voice recognition and real-time traffic and weather.
It takes a lot to get noticed in the midsize luxury sedan segment, especially those models equipped with a V8. This is a different sort of purchase, one that takes into consideration prestige and style as well as refinement, quality, technology and performance. The 2010 Lexus GS 460 certainly delivers on all these counts, but we question whether it delivers enough to dissuade you from purchasing one of its many desirable competitors from Europe.
The GS 460 is one of three GS models available (the V6-powered GS 350 and hybrid GS 450h are covered in separate reviews). It features a 342-horsepower 4.6-liter V8, which puts it on the low end of V8-powered sedans -- only the base Jaguar XF has less power. Therefore, we're not sure the V8 is really worth the added cost over the nearly-as-quick V6 model; both models otherwise share the same flawless fit and finish, a quiet and sumptuous cabin, refined handling and ride balance, and a similar list of luxury features customers are looking for.
Those features have been increased for 2010, with the addition of a standard USB port and iPod interface, Bluetooth audio streaming, satellite radio and Lexus' new Safety Connect emergency telematics system. The optional navigation system gains enhanced voice recognition and real-time traffic and weather. Most of these features have come to be expected in this class, so their presence in the GS is more an instance of keeping up with the Joneses rather than trend-setting.
Aside from its lackluster power, the GS 460 also gives us pause because of its uninspiring handling aptitude, overly sensitive brakes and a lack of headroom for above-average occupants. However, the 2010 Lexus GS 460 suffers the most because it's facing very stiff competition. From Germany, the BMW 5 Series (whether the present model or upcoming all-new replacement) is the choice for those who want the most performance and space. The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is impressively well-rounded and obviously comes with the panache of Benz's three-pointed star.
Another option, the Jaguar XF, is a stunning example of style inside and out. Those interested in the Lexus' value relative to the Germans should consider the Hyundai Genesis, which cannot be matched for its bang for the buck. The Audi A6 and Infiniti M56 are also worth considering. Overall, we'd still say Lexus' sterling reputation and service reputation garners the GS 460 a look, but among all-stars, this otherwise solid entry is simply overshadowed.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Lexus GS 460 is a five-passenger midsize luxury sedan available in one trim level. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive variable suspension, automatic HID headlights, foglights, auto-dimming mirrors, sunroof, power trunk closer, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats (includes power lumbar and driver memory functions), heated and cooled front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel trimmed in leather and wood, Bluetooth, Safety Connect emergency telematics and a 10-speaker stereo with satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack, USB port, iPod interface and a six-CD changer.
The Luxury Value Edition package adds a hard-drive navigation system, real-time traffic and weather, a rearview camera, voice controls and extra telematics services. A 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound stereo can be added to the Luxury Value Edition. Other options includes a power active stabilizer (enhances control during cornering and limits body sway), adaptive cruise control (includes Pre-Collision system), run-flat tires (all-season or summer), an automatic parking system and a power rear sunshade.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Lexus GS 460 is rear-wheel drive and features a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 342 hp and 339 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission with manual override is standard. Lexus estimates the GS 460 will accelerate to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, which is only 0.4-second quicker than the V6-powered GS 350. Estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined, which is above average for the class.
Lexus added standard active front headrests and Safety Connect emergency communications to the 2010 GS 460. Other carryover features include antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control, front and rear side-impact airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags and front active head restraints.
The optional adaptive cruise control includes a pre-collision system that detects impending collisions and responds by pre-tensioning the seatbelts and activating brake assist. The Lexus GS 460 received the highest rating of "Good" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
As you'd expect from any Lexus, the 2010 GS 460's interior is flawlessly assembled, and genuine wood and aluminum trim add a luxurious feel to the cabin. Although the GS technically seats five, only four adults fit comfortably, as the elevated rear center seat is narrow and can feel cramped. Overall headroom is also a bit limited and may be confining for taller occupants. The display on the optional navigation system is easy to see, thanks to its high-resolution touchscreen.
However, we found the integrated audio system controls to be a bit finicky, especially the new iPod interface. Minor complaints include the highly polished wood trim that occasionally produces a troublesome glare, and the drop-down dash control panel to the left of the steering wheel impedes driver entry and egress if left open.
The 2010 Lexus GS 460 artfully balances sporting performance and luxurious comfort. With the standard adaptive suspension set to Comfort mode, the ride quality is decidedly plush and compliant; in Sport mode, damping is distinctly firmer. Opting for the active stabilizer suspension delivers significantly less body roll during cornering. Still, the steering is a letdown and in general, the GS's competition will elicit more driving pleasure. Initially, we found the brakes to have a bit too much bite and they took some getting used to -- but they were certainly effective when needed. Whether one is commuting leisurely or pushing the limits of performance, the GS 460's cabin manages to remain eerily silent, insulating passengers from the powerful V8 as well as the world outside.