- The Washington Times - Friday, November 7, 2008

It’s been an exhilarating week. I drove the Lexus GS 460 — a sedan with high standards on luxury and perfection. However, perfection comes with a price tag.

The RWD sedan has a base price of $52,620 and with some very desirable options the bottom line was $59,120. Enough said.

The 2009 GS 460 comes with a very powerful 4.6-liter V-8 engine that produces 342 horsepower and is able to do 0-to-60 mph in 5.4 seconds. That’s not the fastest time in the world, but it sure sets a standard for such a classy sedan. This power is linked to an eight-speed transmission that can be used in an automatic mode or switched into manual shifting when lower gear performance is desired.

Its plush interior has 10-way settings for both the driver and front passenger seat. Both front windows have one-touch up/down buttons. When backing up, a camera shows what’s behind me on the navigational screen on the dash, and the sunscreen on the rear window lowers as well.

The wood and perforated leather trim gives the GS 460 a touch of elegance and the comfortable seats set the tone for this upscale sedan.

I appreciated how the tilt/telescope steering wheel would raise upward when I shut the engine off, making it easier for me to get in and out of the car. Incidentally, I simply kept the keypod in my pocket, and started the engine by merely touching a button on the dashboard.

To lock the doors, I’d touch a small button on the door handle, and then use the keypod to unlock the car.

The test car had ventilated seating, Bluetooth, a compass on the rearview mirror and HomeLink and a power moonroof. The trunk is quite spacious for cargo carrying needs and even provides a trunk pass-through to the interior.

A feature that grabbed my attention was the sound system. It had XM Satellite radio, which allowed me to listen to commercial free stations. The 10-speaker sound system is the best I’ve ever heard. And one button allowed me to see on the screen the title and artist of each song.

Another reason the sound system is so delightful is the interior noise level is exceptionally low. The Lexus people have found a way to eliminate road noise with interior sound isolation, engine mounting refinements and a sophisticated suspension system.

An Adaptive Variable Suspension System allows for driver selectable shock absorber damping.

The GS 460’s navigational screen allowed me to easily enter a route destination and I found the accuracy of each road I passed to be amazing. My only trouble on this current system was trying to activate the voice commands to advise me when to make a left or right turn.

I drove the Lexus to give it a workout and quickly realized this car is as stable and planted as any European sports sedan. The test vehicle had rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is also available — which is suited when driving in snow, or simply for peace of mind, confidence and security.

As for the safety features, the GS 460 is standard equipped with the front and rear side-curtain airbags, seat-mounted side airbags, plus driver and front passenger knee airbags.

It also has three-point belts for all five seating positions, Vehicle Stability Control, anti-lock braking system and safety padded dashboard panel.

In other words the GS 460 has set advanced standards on luxury, safety and perfection - and that may be worth any price to pay.

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