Full 2011 Lexus GS 460 Review
What's New for 2011
The 2011 Lexus GS 460 carries over mostly unchanged from the previous year, adding only a brake override system.
On its own merits, the 2011 Lexus GS 460 is a fine choice as a luxury sport sedan. It delivers performance, prestige, comfort and plenty of upmarket features to please some of the most discerning of shoppers. Pit the GS 460 against some of the competitors from Europe, however, and its appeal fades as those sedans seem to do most things just a little bit better.
The GS 460's drawbacks, as minor as they are, include a bit less headroom and a less responsive suspension. For average-sized drivers with little desire for athletic handling, these faults are easily forgiven, since the Lexus excels in nearly every other category. The quiet and calm cabin delivers segment-leading comfort while enveloping occupants in top-notch materials and expert craftsmanship.
The 4.6-liter V8 produces an ample 342 horsepower to give the GS 460 relatively swift acceleration, which should satisfy the vast majority of luxury sedan buyers. It is worth noting, though, that it is down on power when compared to other V8-powered luxury sedans. There is also a V6-powered GS 350 for drivers with a smaller appetite for performance, and a more fuel-efficient GS 460h hybrid -- both of which are covered in separate reviews. Regardless of which GS model you may be interested in, you can expect an abundance of standard features and state-of-the-art safety systems.
Among the GS 460's competitors, the biggest threat comes from Germany. The 2011 BMW 5 Series offers more space and higher performance. The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is hard to beat in terms of style and prestige, while the 2011 Audi A6 presents a well-rounded and understated alternative. Luxury sedans hailing from Asia are also worth a look, with the 2011 Hyundai Genesis representing a relative bargain, as does the 2011 Infiniti M56 with its focus on performance. Even though the 2011 Lexus GS 460 may not be a front-runner in this segment, its reputation for reliability and quality should not be overlooked.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Lexus GS 460 is a midsize luxury sport sedan that is offered in a single, well-appointed trim level that includes 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive variable suspension, adaptive automatic xenon headlights, foglights, a sunroof, power trunk closer, automatic wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping wood-trimmed steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, 10-way power front seats with driver memory and lumbar adjustment, Safety Connect emergency telematics, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a 10-speaker stereo with six-CD changer, satellite radio and USB/iPod interface.
Options include a hard-drive Navigation System package with real-time traffic and weather, a rearview camera, voice controls, Bluetooth phonebook downloading and Lexus Enform enhanced telematics features. A 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system may also be paired with the navigation system. Other options include a rear spoiler, rear parking sensors, a power rear sunshade, a power active stabilizer (enhances control during cornering and limits body roll), adaptive cruise control (includes a pre-collision system) and run-flat tires (all-season or summer).
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Lexus GS 460 is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 342 hp and 339 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual override. Lexus estimates the GS 460 will accelerate from zero 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.
Standard safety features on the 2011 Lexus GS 460 include antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control, front and rear side-impact airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Safety Connect, a traditional telematics service with automatic collision notification, stolen-vehicle locator and emergency assistance button is also standard. Adding 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the GS 460 its highest rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact collisions.
Interior Design and Special Features
Upholding Lexus' reputation for finely crafted interiors, the 2011 GS 460's cabin surrounds occupants with supple leather, rich wood and aluminum trim. Average sized adults will fit comfortably, but taller passengers may desire a bit more headroom -- at least compared to other sedans in this class. This is especially true for those relegated to the center rear seat, which is slightly elevated compared to the outboard seats. Our gripes are minor and include less-than-intuitive audio controls and a distracting glare from the highly polished wood trim. The GS reclaims some points for its optional high-resolution touchscreen and easy-to-operate navigation system.
The 2011 Lexus GS 460 delivers an abundance of power to please the majority of drivers, along with a comfortably smooth ride and respectable handling. The standard adaptive suspension allows drivers to select Comfort mode for a decidedly plush and compliant ride; or Sport mode, with distinctly firmer damper settings. The optional active stabilizer suspension adds more athletic handling by significantly reducing body roll during cornering.
Those expecting the type of responsive suspension found in other sport sedans may be disappointed with the Lexus' more leisurely steering reactions when cornering. The brakes can be a bit touchy at first, but they offer solid feel and competitive performance. Overall, the GS 460's cabin remains blissfully silent, insulating passengers from the powerful V8 as well as the outside world.