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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
4.6-liter V8 engine that produces 342 hp and 339 pound-feet of torque
[eight-speed automatic] changes gears frequently
GS 350 buyers aren't likely to find the V-6 wanting for power
The experts at TheCarConnection.com are willing to bet that no one will be disappointed with the performance of either the V-6-powered 2009 Lexus GS 350 or the V-8-powered 2009 Lexus GS 460.
Whether in V-8 or V-6 form, the GS sport sedans have very satisfying acceleration, in TheCarConnection.com’s experience; 2009 Lexus GS 460 models are now capable of hitting 60 mph in only 5.4 seconds, according to Lexus's usually conservative numbers. Cars.com says, "[GS] 350 buyers aren't likely to find the V-6 wanting for power," while ConsumerGuide attests that the 2009 Lexus GS 460's "4.6-liter V8 engine gives GS 460 lots of go." Edmunds reports that the latter engine "produces 342 hp and 339 pound-feet of torque."
ConsumerGuide observes that the eight-speed automatic transmission "changes gears frequently, but [is] smooth overall and a good match to the engine." Edmunds says "it drives the rear wheels through...with automanual shift control"—meaning those who have to do their own shifting can. It was first offered in the LS 460 flagship, with quick downshift responses. Six-cylinder models make do with a six-speed automatic, though. Six-cylinder Lexus GS sedans also may be outfitted with all-wheel drive.
With its slightly smaller engine, the 2009 Lexus GS 350 gets somewhat better fuel mileage; according to Cars.com, mileage estimates for the V-6-powered vehicle are "21/30 mpg (city/highway),” but the EPA lists the vehicle at 19/27 mpg. The 2009 Lexus GS 460 does offer surprisingly good gas mileage for a V-8; EPA estimates are 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway, which Edmunds says are "above average compared with other V-8-powered cars in its class."
Both 2009 Lexus GS sedans offer "various supplemental handling assists," according to Kelley Blue Book, and they can "be switched off completely by anyone who really does want to press to the edge of the envelope." One of these is "electronically-boosted variable power steering," which they say is "both quick and precise." Cars.com reports that the 2009 Lexus GS's steering actually "changes the steering ratio for tighter or wider steering depending on the speed of the car." ConsumerGuide acknowledges that "cornering lean is modest, and grip and balance are both good," but while "stopping control is strong...to some testers, the pedal action is either too mushy or too sensitive." Options include an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system, which gets four different firmness settings.
"Some drivers find [2009 Lexus GS brakes] non-progressive and a bit touchy at first," but the braking system "otherwise stops the nearly 2-ton [2009 Lexus] GS 460 quickly and with reassuring authority,” says Edmunds.
The 2009 Lexus GS sedans offer hard-charging power and supple handling with great stability in corners.