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Photos: 2008 Lexus GS 460

Although the 2008 Lexus GS 460 offers a comfortable ride and practical cabin electronics, it really stands out for its performance in fuel efficiency, power, and handling.

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CNET Reviews staff
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The Lexus GS model is one down the line from the top LS model. With this new version, Lexus kept the same body style, but dropped in the engine and transmission from the LS.
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The GS is full of standard safety tech, such as adaptive lights that point into corners and the Lexus VDIM system. VDIM takes input from a variety of driving sensors, using it to keep the car on the road through traction control and the stability program.
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The 4.6-liter V-8 under the hood produces 342 horsepower, yet because of its eight-speed automatic transmission, gets 24 mpg on the highway. It's an impressive number for this big of an engine.
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The gently curving style of the GS gives it a vaguely futuristic look. The very spacious cabin is comfortable in the front and back seats.
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Dual exhausts hint at the secret racer underlying its sedan styling. The GS 460 uses electric actuators on the sway bars to counter body roll in hard cornering.
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As befits a big sedan like the GS, there is plenty of trunk space.
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Interior styling on the GS is luxurious yet simple, with nicely recessed buttons.
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The instrument panel is dominated by the LCD touch screen, which controls navigation, the stereo, and the phone system. The navigation system and premium Mark Levinson audio system come as part of a package.
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Although the GS doesn't feel like a sports sedan, it handles like one. There isn't much feedback from the steering wheel, yet the car handles hard cornering well, thanks to its active suspension.
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Lexus keeps the gauges simple on the GS, in line with its luxury character.
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This shifter controls the eight-speed automatic transmission. Along with drive, there is a sport mode and manual gear selection. The transmission shifts very smoothly, well-tuned to the V-8 engine.
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The left switch puts the suspension into sport mode, where it assumes a more rigid feel. The center button wrings maximum torque from the engine when it is in power mode, and tapers off the torque for snow mode.
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Lexus hides switchgear for mirror adjustment, the rear sunshade, and instrument cluster brightness in a foldaway panel to the left of the driver.
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The navigation system features full, brightly colored maps with good resolution, but lacks advanced features such as traffic reporting.
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Route guidance doesn't offer text-to-speech, where it would read out street names, but the graphics are helpful.
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The touch screen makes destination input easy and offers many ways to find a location. The points-of-interest (POI) database is particularly full, with mostly retail stores.
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The GS comes with a six DVD changer that can read MP3 CDs. The interface for MP3 CDs is good, letting you easily pick folders.
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Although it offers minimal settings, the Mark Levinson audio system in the GS 460 produces excellent quality sound.
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The Bluetooth system in the GS 460 uses a convenient touch-screen interface to input phone numbers, or you can use voice command.
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The Bluetooth system comes with a phone book, but you have to push each phone number to the car from your phone, or enter them manually.
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We were impressed with the fuel economy from this large engine, which came in with better numbers than many V-6 cars we've tested.

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