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To bring you a conclusive review that helps you make sense of whether the Lexus GS 350, GS 460, or GS 450h is right for you, TheCarConnection.com has first compiled excerpts of some of the Web’s leading reviews in this full review. Then the editors of TheCarConnection.com have brought their firsthand experiences driving each of these models and top rivals to a definitive Bottom Line that will help you make the best choice for a new luxury vehicle.
The 2010 Lexus GS is a series of V-6- and V-8-powered mid-size sport sedans. Primarily rear-wheel drive, the GS models aren’t as roomy inside as the comfort-oriented, front-wheel-drive Lexus ES 350. Instead, the GS models’ strengths are performance, along with convenience- and safety-oriented tech features.
The GS hasn’t changed significantly in many years, though a restyled front, integrated side-mirror turn signals, and new wheel designs were introduced last year. Inside, the GS has a curvier, more cockpit-like theme than the comfort-oriented ES and LS models, with an overall feel that’s a little more European inspired.
With either the 303-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 in the 2010 Lexus GS 350 or the 342-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 engine in the GS 460, these sedans move authoritatively. With either automatic—the 350 and 450h get six speeds, the 460 picks up eight—the transmission has a silky, unobtrusive demeanor in normal driving, but paddle-shifters allow you to manually access all those ratios. The 2010 Lexus GS 450h has a full-hybrid powertrain pairing a 292-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with an electric motor system, propelling the rear wheels and charging its battery pack when coasting and braking. Altogether, the hybrid powertrain makes 339 horsepower and can push the 450h to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds—faster than the V-8-powered GS 460. According to Lexus’ usually conservative numbers, the GS 460 is capable of hitting 60 mph in only 5.4 seconds. The GS 350 is additionally available in an all-wheel-drive version. Whichever way you have them, the GS sedans handle well, with impressive stability even over rough surfaces, thanks to a double-wishbone front suspension and multilink rear setup. The electric-assist power steering is well weighted, but the lack of road feel could be an issue for hard-core sport-sedan aficionados.
People will likely select the hybrid for its greener reputation and the promise of significantly higher fuel economy, but TheCarConnection.com doesn't manage to achieve the 450h’s EPA ratings of 22 mpg city, 25 highway in real-world driving. As such, it’s not much better than the GS 350’s EPA figures of 19/27 mpg.
The otherwise inspiring performance in the 2010 Lexus GS sedans, however, is marred by limited headroom inside the cabin and a surprisingly tight backseat. Some will also find the ride a little too firm; it can be rough on pitted pavement. But the GS models are extremely well put together, and the brushed-aluminum and dark gray bird's-eye maple wood trim are at once classy and stylish. Refinement is top-notch as well; there’s not nearly as much road noise in the GS compared to other sport sedans, and the engines are just as refined and smooth as they are powerful and responsive.
Safety features are well represented in the 2010 Lexus GS sedans. Standard features include front side bags, side curtain bags, and dual front knee airbags; Lexus’ more sophisticated VDIM stability control system and anti-lock brakes are also included across the line. Among the available electronic aids that might also help improve safety is the Pre-Collision System (PCS) included with the optional laser cruise control, which prepares safety systems for an anticipated collision. The Variable Gear Ratio Steering is both a safety feature and convenience—bringing quick response at low speeds or when it's needed, as well as stability at high speeds. Overall, crash-test safety is good but not quite perfect; federal results aren’t available, but in insurance industry-supported IIHS tests, the GS earns top "good" ratings in both frontal and side impacts, with a "marginal" rating in the seat-based rear-impact test.
Technology features remain one of the main emphases for this sport sedan. On the 2010 Lexus GS 460 and GS 450h, ventilated seats and adaptive lighting are among the standard features, with an intuitive park-assist system and an active stabilizer system—which provides the advantage of a heavier stabilizer bar almost instantaneously without sacrificing ride quality—among the options. Standard features on all the models include keyless entry, Bluetooth, and an excellent navigation system, but that's not even scratching the surface. Options include an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system, which gets four different firmness settings, plus laser cruise control, adaptive front lighting, ventilated cooled front seats, a power rear sunshade, and a DVD audio/video-compatible, 14-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.