The Lexus GS range has been comprehensively revised for 2008, the changes led by the introduction of a sophisticated and powerful 4.6-litre V8 engine in the new GS 460. Delivering a maximum 342bhp and matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, it gives the GS stronger performance and more driving character than ever before.

The new engine benefits from Lexus’s D-4S dual-port fuel injection, as used on the hybrid power GS 450h. It is the only system on the market to use two injectors per cylinder – one on the intake port, the other in the combustion chamber itself – delivering the advantages of both direct and indirect injection to maximise power and torque throughout the rev range.

The V8 is also equipped with Dual VVT-i, which is motor-driven on the intake valves for more effective performance at low engine speeds and oil temperatures than hydraulically controlled valve timing. It ensures prompt response and greater flexibility, with improved torque and fuel economy at all engine speeds.

The transmission is a version of the world’s first eight-speed automatic, which made its debut on the LS 460 limousine. It is lighter and more compact than the six-speed transmission previously used on the GS 430, and is quieter and more fuel-efficient, too.

Thanks to the new powertrain, the GS 460 becomes the performance flagship of the GS range, cutting the nought to 62mph acceleration benchmark to 5.8 seconds; top speed is limited to 155mph. The efficiency of the engine and transmission enables the GS 460 to return an official fuel consumption figure of 25.7mpg in combined cycle driving, again improving on the performance of the previous GS 430 model. Carbon dioxide emissions are also reduced.

The GS 460 carries forward the comprehensive specification of the GS 430, including Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) and a Multimedia Pack that includes a 14-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, satellite navigation with dynamic route guidance, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-DVD autochanger.

The GS 460 is on sale now, priced £50,500.

The launch of the new Lexus GS 460 is accompanied by a series of styling and specification detail changes for the entire GS range.

On the outside the new elements include a chrome surround for the front grille, new door mirrors with integrated indicators and new-look door handles. The front and rear bumpers have also been gently restyled, with new-shape air intakes.

New 17-inch (GS 300 and GS 300 SE) and 18-inch (GS 300 SE-L and GS 460) alloy wheel designs have been introduced and the palette of body colours has been changed, with the introduction of Byzantine Silver and Namibian Gold.

The GS 450h adopts a number of styling cues shared with other Lexus Hybrid Drive models. These include blue shading to the headlamp covers and the Lexus badging front and rear, a blue Hybrid logo in the side moulding, blue illumination of the scuff plates and a blue logo on the engine cover.

Inside the GS the audio and telephone control buttons on the steering wheel have been revised and the boot and fuel filler release have been relocated outside the drop-down switch module. The gearshift gate has also been adjusted , increasing the area of wood trim around the shift lever.

There are further premium quality touches with the adoption of superior semi-aniline leather upholstery for the GS 460 and SE-L grade models. A paler grey leather with light wood trim combination is newly available. Leather upholstery is now standard on all versions of the GS 450h

For 2008, Lexus extends the availability of technically advanced ride and handling systems across the GS range. Both Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) are provided as standard on all models. The GS 460 and 450h models retain Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS).

As well as adopting AVS, GS benefits from retuned shock absorbers and springs and revised underbody aerodynamics, which have helped reduce the GS 300’s CO2 emissions to 226g/km, a drop of almost four per cent. Keeping pace with the latest developments in digital music technology, all GS models now feature an input jack for connecting portable music players to the car’s sound system. For added security and safety, the doors have an automatic locking function triggered when the vehicle is in motion.

Lexus GS price list

GS 300: £33,100
GS 300 SE: £38,000
GS 300 SE-L: £40,290
GS 460: £50,500
GS 450h: £39,965
GS 450h SE: £43,140
GS 450h SE-L: £45,085