It wasn't that long ago when sedan shoppers who desired equal helpings of luxury and performance faced a very short, European-dominated menu from which to choose. Introduced 15 years ago, the original Lexus GS was aimed squarely at sport sedans from Germany in an attempt to field a legitimate contender in the premium midsize sedan class. Although it was a stylish and well-crafted alternative, the GS' weighty luxury bias and underwhelming power didn't pose much of a threat to more serious rivals. With the addition of V8 power and continual massaging over the years, however, Lexus engineers have succeeded in making the GS a much more desirable alternative for those seeking a refined and fun-to-drive luxury sport sedan.
The third-generation GS series arrived in 2006 equipped with the same 4.3-liter V8 seen in the previous car, but upped the ante with a bit more power. The 2008 Lexus GS 460 raises the stakes again with a new 4.6-liter V8 sporting 342 horsepower, which now surpasses the GS 350's 303-hp V6 by an appropriately healthy margin. By also adding a new eight-speed automatic transmission, the GS 460 further cements its status as a true contender against such segment stalwarts as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Like the rest of Lexus' midsize sedans, the GS 460 also receives a mild cosmetic makeover this year with a restyled front fascia, sideview mirror turn signals, revised gauges and handsome new aluminum trim adorning its instrument panel and console. Carrying over are the same rakish styling, flawless build quality, exemplary ride and handling, and full complement of luxury features Lexus customers have come to expect.
The 2008 Lexus GS 460 is one of the few midsize luxury sedans that offers an adjustable suspension plus an optional active stabilizer suspension system to reduce body roll and improve vehicle control when cornering. Even so, those looking for sport sedan reflexes that emphasize maximum feedback should also take a look at the BMW 5 Series or Infiniti M45, as they engage the driver more fully. But if you have a luxury bias and appreciate an elegant sedan that serves up performance and refinement in equally large portions, you won't go wrong choosing a GS 460.