Quiet, comfortable, excellent build quality; available all-wheel drive; available hybrid; latest in safety features
New in the Lexus GS lineup for 2011 is a standard brake override system. When the brake is applied, the system cuts engine power even if the accelerator pedal is also applied, allowing the car to be safely slowed and stopped.
The GS packs a lot of amenities into a very reliable 4-door sedan starting with a powerful engine. No GS has an output under 300 hp, which adds a strong performance punch to the sedan. Safety technology includes Lexus's Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system, which coordinates a slew of sensors to keep the car headed where the driver intends it to go. For fuel misers, the full-hybrid 450h gets 22 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, better than 10% improvement over its gasoline-only siblings.
There are three variants of the GS available--the 350 (in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive), the 460, and the 450h. The base model carries a 303-hp, 3.5-liter V6 under the hood, while the 460 has a 4.6-liter V8 producing 342 hp. The hybrid is powered by both a 3.5-liter engine and an electric motor, for a total system output of 340 hp. The 350 comes with a standard 6-speed transmission, but the 460 comes with eight ratios. The 450h is in a drivetrain class of its own, with an electronic continuously variable transmission. All three models can reach 60 mph from a standstill in just over 5 seconds.
The GS has a lot of high-tech goodies, such as the SmartAccess sensor system, which allows the car to be unlocked by touching the door handle or trunk, and then started with the push of a button. Holding the unlock button on the key fob as you approach the car rolls down all the windows. Available parking assist provides alerts to objects in the way and dynamic radar cruise control maintains a safe distance from the car in front while cruising on the highway.
Safety systems are state-of-the-art, too. Direct tire pressure monitoring, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, a 10-airbag setup, traction control and rain-sensing windshield wipers are standard. The Vehicle Dynamics Integrate Management system prevents a loss of traction using individual-wheel braking and throttle activation. On the 460, it works with the variable gear-ratio steering to maintain control. The available adaptive headlights that help drivers see around bends in the road are standard on the 450h. New this year on both 350 and 460 models is a standard brake override system. When the brake is applied, the system cuts engine power even if the accelerator pedal is also applied, allowing the car to be safely slowed and stopped.
Inside, heated and ventilated seats keep front occupants comfy, as does dual-zone climate control. Leather interior with wood trim adds to the GS luxury feel. The standard audio system includes an iPod and Bluetooth, but music connoisseurs will want to upgrade to the Mark Levinson 14-speaker system. The available navigation system can incorporate a rearview camera, as well. The biggest difference between the gasoline-only GS interior and the hybrid is an energy monitor that shows the power flow from engine to motor and back again.
Vehicle Price: 59,825.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
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