Lexus GS 450h
The new Lexus GS450h promises high performance and eco credentials; but how far does it charms really extend, we find out
What is it? The Lexus GS 450h is a family-sized saloon designed with the environmentally aware, tech savy car buyer in mind.
Who is it aimed at? Designed to outshine all other hybrid vehicles, the GS 450h is all about combining fuel efficiency and performance in a bid to woo a different kind of Lexus customer.
Styling? Given an entirely new look inside and out the exterior styling is now edgier and more aggressive. With hints of the LFA supercar the flared wheel arches, lightening design and spindly shaped grille all combine to give it a more dynamic and modern look. It may not push the boundaries for car design but it is a huge improvement on the previous version.
Under the Bonnet? The GS 450h is a full hybrid car so this essentially means it has a petrol engine and an electric one and can switch between both. Despite the GS’s eco credentials the petrol engine and electric are capable of whisking it from 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds; which is good for any performance saloon but particularly impressive for a hybrid one.
What’s it like inside? Behind the wheel it’s a feast of technology with brightly lit gauges and switches. The dashboard is dominated by a 12.3inch LCD screen the biggest ever seen in a production car. The driving position is excellent and it is supremely comfortable. Head room and overall space is good throughout. A common issue with hybrid cars is the lack of space in the boot due to the battery but in the GS overall luggage space has been increased by 60% to give it 465 litres so there is no compromise there.
On the Road? In keeping with Lexus’s push to appeal to a new type of customer, on the road the car handles far better than its predecessor. Despite its weight it feels nimble and soaks up bumps with ease and corners with confidence but the steering feels a little too numb for our tastes. Switch it to sport mode and things improve. There are four other driving settings including a snow mode to alter the car’s power and an “Eco” mode for optimal fuel economy.
And Safety? The new Lexus GS is equipped with some of the most technologically advanced pre-emptive, active and passive safety and driver assistance systems available on the market today.
Options? Entry point to the new GS range is the GS 250 SE, powered by a 206bhp (154kW) 2.5-litre V6 Dual VVT-i petrol engine. Both the GS 250 and full hybrid GS 450h are offered in Luxury and F Sport grade. At the top of the range, the GS 450h Premier is fitted with 18-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels and the same bi-xenon headlamp system as the F Sport models. The F Sport’s adaptive suspension and selectable drive modes are also part of the Premier’s specification.
How about Fuel Economy? When it comes to the pumps, this hybrid gives, as expected, good economy and averages 46.3 mpg.
Okay so the verdict? The Lexus GS450h makes a refreshing change and a worthy alternative to a German badged saloon. It combines advanced technology, good fuel economy with guilt free performance. In addition it comes equipped with the best of Lexus luxury and the premium styling expected by this segment. On the downside the starting price £44,995 for this model is pricey and the lack of a diesel offering in the GS range limits its overall appeal.
Why you’ll buy one: Guilt free Performance; Space
Why you won’t: Pricey; Economy while good is matched by an efficient diesel
Porsche Cayenne Hybird £61,074
BMW 530i ActiveHybrid 5 £46,885
Infiniti M Hybrid £42,010
Engine: 3.5-litre V6 petrol hybrid (Combined with electric) putting out 345bhp and 252Nm of torque
Max speed: 155 mph
0-60mph: 5.9 seconds
Insurance group 1-50: 42
Model price range: £32,995 – 50,995
No of Doors: 4
Euro NCAP: Not yet been tested by Euro NCAP
Fuel type: Petrol/Electric
Urban MPG 42.2
Extra Urban MPG 51.4
Combined MPG 46.3
Boot Capacity Seats up: 465 Litres
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings
Service interval (miles) 10000
Warranty (years) 3
Warranty (miles) 60000