2011 GS 450h New Car Test Drive
The Lexus GS is smooth and responsive, a nice luxury sedan for commuting. It's easy to drive and delivers strong performance. Luxurious appointments, convenience and comfortable seats make for relaxing travel. The Lexus GS does everything you ask, and yet it always feels effortless. The 2010 GS offers a choice of powertrains.
The Lexus GS 350 features a 303-hp, 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic with manual shift gate. All-wheel drive is available. We found the GS 350 thoroughly enjoyable to drive. The V6 is quite responsive, propelling the GS 350 from 0 to 60 mph in an impressive 5.7 seconds and it gets an EPA-estimated 19/26 mpg.
The Lexus GS 450h combines a hybrid 3.5-liter V6 with two electric motors for improved power and fuel economy. The GS 450h hybrid is actually the quickest of the GS sedans, getting from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Fuel economy for the GS 450h is rated 22/25 mpg City/Highway on the government's EPA cycle. For 2010, GS 450h sports a more distinctive look, with a new grille, clear taillight lenses, and 18-inch wheels.
The Lexus GS 460 features a 4.6-liter V8 makes 342 horsepower and comes with an eight-speed automatic. For added performance, the eight-speed transmission includes a Sport mode that enables you to manually make sequential shifts with the console-mounted gear lever. The GS 460 is the fastest of the models, with a top speed of 149 mph and 0-60 in 5.4 seconds.
The GS 350 AWD features all-wheel drive with a fast-acting, clutch-type center differential that sends 70 percent of the power to the rear wheels under normal circumstances to help foster the sportier dynamics of a rear-wheel-drive car. When wheel sensors detect slippery road conditions, as much as 50 percent of engine power is diverted to the front wheels to increase the car's overall traction on the road.
For 2010, the standard sound system has been upgraded with iPod and USB connectivity, streaming audio via Bluetooth, and an integrated XM satellite radio receiver. The navigation option is now a hard disc drive (HDD) system that retains Voice Command casual-language voice recognition and Bluetooth connectivity, but adds Bluetooth phonebook download capability as well. The new navigation system also comes with integrated XM NavTraffic/Weather capability and includes a complimentary 90-day trial subscription.
For added safety, all 2010 Lexus GS models come with active head restraints. The 2010 Lexus GS also leads with two new telematic products. Models without navigation come standard with Safety Connect, which provides Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Enhanced Roadside Assistance (which adds GPS data to the already included warranty-based Lexus roadside service).
HDD navigation comes with Lexus Enform, which includes all Safety Connect functions plus Destination Assist and eDestination. Destination Assist agents are available via the on-board cellular equipment and can help drivers find a specific address, a business by name, a type of business (e.g., gas station, movie theater, etc.), and even Zagat-rated restaurants; and then send the coordinates to the navigation system for routing. With eDestination, drivers can go online via LexusDrivers.com to save and sort destinations in up to 20 folders, each holding as many as 10 destinations. Both products are available with a complimentary one-year trial subscription.
The 2010 Lexus GS is available in four models. The GS 350 ($45,600) sports a 303-hp 3.5-liter V6. The GS 350 AWD ($47,550) adds all-wheel drive. Both GS 350 models have a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shiftgate.
The GS 460 ($54,070) has a 342-hp V8 and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The GS 450h ($57,450) features a hybrid powertrain that combines the 3.5-liter V6 with two electric motors. It has a continuously variable automatic transmission with six preset gear ratios for the manual shiftgate.
Standard equipment on the GS 350 includes thick, regency-style leather upholstery and color-coordinated wood trim (golden or gray bird's-eye maple, or red walnut); dual-zone automatic climate control; interior air filter; power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls; cruise control; heated 10-way power-adjustable front seats; memory for the driver's seat, mirrors and steering wheel; trunk pass-through; heated auto-dimming power exterior mirrors with tilt-down back-up aid; power windows; power locks; SmartAccess keyless access and starting; sunroof; 10-speaker AM/FM/XM stereo with six-disc CD changer; WMA/MP3 playback, auxiliary and iPod/USB input jacks; vehicle information system with a seven-inch touch screen; Bluetooth wireless cell phone link; auto-dimming rearview mirror; universal garage door opener; power trunk closer; automatic HID headlights; theft-deterrent system; and fog lights. The GS 350 comes with P225/50WR17 summer tires on alloy wheels; 18-inch summer ($870) or all-season run-flat tires ($1,190) are optional. The GS 350 AWD comes only with P225/50R17 all-season run-flat tires.
The GS 460 adds heated and ventilated front seats, wood and leather steering wheel and shift knob, adaptive headlights, an adaptive variable suspension with sport and normal modes, a faster (and variable) steering ratio, more sophisticated stability and braking electronics, rain-sensing wipers, headlamp washers, and P245/40ZR18 summer tires. All-season run-flat tires are optional ($320).
The GS450h is equipped similarly to the GS 460, plus it gets front and rear park assist, a rearview camera, and a power rear sunshade. It loses the trunk pass-through, but share's the V8 model's P245/40ZR18 summer tires.
Options include HDD navigation with Bluetooth, casual voice recognition, Lexus Enform, Safety Connect, rearview camera, XM NavTraffic/NavWeather and XM Sports & Stocks; front and rear park assist ($500); Mark Levinson 330-watt audio system with 7.1 surround sound, DVD Audio playback, rearview camera, HDD navigation; active vehicle stabilizer system for the GS 460 ($3,000) or GS 450h ($3,320); adaptive variable suspension for GS 350 ($620); wood-and-leather steering wheel for GS 350 ($330); pre-collision braking system with radar-type cruise control ($1,500); rain-sensing wipers with adaptive headlights and headlight washers for GS 350 ($525); power rear sunshade ($210); ventilated front seats ($200); and a rear spoiler ($200).
Safety features that come standard include dual front air bags, front and rear side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, curtain-type head-protection air bags both front and rear, active front head restraints, and a tire-pressure monitor. Front and rear park assist and a rearview camera are standard on the GS 450h and optional on the other models. Active safety features that come standard include anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, traction control, and electronic stability control (ESC). The GS 460 comes with Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management.