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Avg. Price Paid:$18,427 - $20,170
Original MSRP: $44,550 - $53,020
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2008 Lexus GS Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Lexus GS was new.

The majority of reviews find the 2008 Lexus GS driving experience rewarding, packing ample power and comfortable cruising. Car and Driver calls the GS has "excellent" performance and is "delightful to drive, with a quiet and velvety power delivery."

Popular Mechanics says "The GS has reflexes sharper than any Navy jet jockey's." Auto writers from Kelley Blue Book agree, calling the Lexus GS a "cruiser" on the highway. Consumer Guide finds the ride "comfortably unruffled." With an upgraded engine, the GS 350 underwent a "personality transplant," says The Family Car, turning into an authoritative and confident passing accelerator.

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Lexus GS offers two engine options between the three trim levels. The Lexus GS 350 comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, while the Lexus GS 460 has a 4.6-liter V8 engine. The redesigned Lexus GS 350 gained a bigger 3.5-liter V6 engine that Forbes calls "more muscle to go with an all-new set of clothes."

 Kelley Blue Book auto reviewers call the GS 350 "the most powerful V6-powered sedan in its class." With 303 horsepower at 6200 rpm, the GS 350 engine is "smooth and quiet, as expected from Lexus," says Road and Track. The GS V6 "whisper quiet and super smooth," states The Family Car, but with a "merely adequate response."

The 2008 Lexus GS 350 has an estimated EPA fuel economy of 19 miles per gallon (mpg) during city driving and 27 mpg during highway cruising for the RWD model and 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway for the AWD model. The Family Car says GS 350 owners "won't be shelling out much more at the pump," with the 2007 engine upgrade. The GS 350 requires premium fuel.

The 4.6-liter V8 engine on the GS 460 delivers 342 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 339 pound-feet of torque at 3600 rpm.  The GS 460 has an estimated EPA fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Few reviewers have tested the new engine.

Both Lexus GS trims are mated with six-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission, which most reviewers find suited for a smooth ride. Road and Track says the automatic transmission "matches up quite nicely" with the V6 engine. Yet, Kelley Blue Book auto reviewers note an oversight with the GS, which "still lacks one of the rudimentary tools desired by die-hard driving enthusiasts: A manual transmission."

Handling and Braking

A majority of auto reviewers found the electronically assisted steering and class-leading handling on the Lexus GS impressive. The high-tech electric power steering is "exceptionally sophisticated," quotes New Car Test Drive. The system matches wheel angle to speed at which the driver is turning the car and offsets any delay in response. Auto writers from MSN note that this feature on the GS also corrects for wind gusts in a crosswind, and finds the steering "quick" coupled with the "powerful new braking system," that provides short, sure stops. "However, the steering, although accurate, is a bit numb," finds The Family Car.

The GS 350 is fitted with a front independent double-wishbone suspension, with coil springs, gas-pressurized shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar. The GS 460 is equipped with independent double-wishbone suspension with coil springs, gas-pressurized shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar. Forbes calls this suspension "sophisticated" and credits it for delivering good road feel, ride comfort and cornering. "The suspension configuration delivers optimal suspension geometry for good handling, while gas-charged dampers and coil springs promote a resilient, long-legged ride," finds New Car Test Drive.

The GS 460 comes with an electronic suspension Adaptive Variable Suspension, with electronically modulated damping. The Adaptive Variable Suspension continuously adjusts shock-absorber damping rates to help provide appropriate ride comfort and precise handling. Writers from Forbes find the suspension, along with the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system intelligently operated to coordinate the car's power steering, stability control and electronic brake system. The GS is "firmer and sportier than one might expect. Its new electronically controlled suspension allows quick moves while retaining the car's composure and a good ride on poor roads," finds MSN. "And when the road gets narrow and twisty, the GS is eager to keep pace with its European counterparts," quotes Kelley Blue Book.

All Wheel Drive

The all-wheel-drive performance on the GS 350 receives ample praise from auto reviewers for its ability to endure weather conditions without compromising speed, handling or fuel economy. Road and Track found the all-wheel-drive version "suited to its mission and position in the market: It is a luxury sedan but with some sporting ability." The all-wheel-drive system, according to Forbes, "adds an extra degree of surefootedness in inclement weather, and it also improves the car's handling on dry pavement."

Performance Options

GS 350 RWD

The GS 350 rear-wheel-drive comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission. The 350 delivers 303 horsepower and 274 pound-feet of torque. It also comes with traction control, an Adaptive Variable Suspension and electronic speed-sensing rack-and-pinion steering.

GS 350 AWD

The GS 350 all-wheel-drive comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission. This 350 has same specs as the rear-wheel drive model but with a four-wheel drive drivetrain.

GS 460 RWD

The GS 460 rear-wheel-drive has a 4.6-liter V8 engine with an eight-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission. The GS 460 delivers 342 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. It also comes with traction control, Adaptive Variable Suspension and electronic speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering.

Review Last Updated: 2/4/09

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