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Lexus GS is coming out of the closet

The Lexus GS460 gets an improved engine and some small visual tweaks.

Overshadowed by the volume-selling IS sedan and larger, lavishly equipped LS sibling, Lexus is now focusing on the GS.

A revised GS range has just been unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show and arrives here in time for the Melbourne Motor Show.

The big changes are under the skin, though the car does get a mild cosmetic makeover.

The big news is the flagship GS gets the same 4.6-litre V8 as the range-topping LS sedan. The GS460 develops 255kW at 6400 revs and 460Nm at 4100 revs. That's 47kW and 43Nm more than the 4.3-litre GS430, which it replaces.

The GS300 and GS450h carry over.

Lexus Australia chief executive John Roca says the power gains bring the range-topper in line with the performance of the GS450h.

However, compared with the LS460, power and torque are down in the GS460 because it misses out on the LS's direct-injection system.

The V8 does share its eight-speed automatic transmission with the LS, which is lighter and more compact in the GS than the six-speed automatic it replaces.

Despite the reduced power, the 4.6-litre in the GS is no slouch, hitting 100km/h in 5.8 seconds and reaching a top speed of 240km/h.

Roca says apart from improved engines, the sedan gets some small visual tweaks.

On the outside there is a chrome grille surround, new integrated indicators in the door mirrors and new alloys.

Both bumpers have been restyled.

The GS 450h gains several styling cues from other Lexus hybrids, relating to badging and hybrid blue highlights.

Inside, audio and telephone controls on the steering wheel have been revised and the boot and fuel filler releases have been moved outside the drop-down switch module.

All models now have an input jack for portable music players.

For added security, the doors have an automatic locking function triggered when the vehicle is on the move.

Roca says GS sales stalled last year, in part because the car was in run out mode.

“We will refocus on improving the GS's share this year,” he says.

GS sales were down 21 per cent last year, compared with 2006, while overall Lexus sales were up 14.5 per cent.

The IS250 remains the best seller in the range, accounting for about half of sales.

GS pricing is expected to be decided next month.

Roca hopes to hold prices at current levels. That means the entry GS300 Sports should stay close to $95,000 and the new 4.6-litre V8 GS460 about $138,000.