Lexus has introduced its new full hybrid GS 450h which offers significant levels of increased luxury inside, whilst its exterior executes a blend of style and performance.
Prices for the new GS commence from €59,950, my test car was the €72,950 F Sport variant, this comes complete with a host of additional equipment to the entry-level Executive grade. It’s aimed at motorists with a keen interest in driving, offering sporty characteristics throughout. There’s no mistaking the F Sport, its styling is aggressive aided by the large sculpted front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper and rear lip-spoiler. It sits low on large 19” alloys which nestle immense 356mm brake discs that offer outstanding braking power. The interior also has some unique elements with subtle F Sport logos carefully positioned, amongst luxurious leather upholstery, specific to this model. The driver’s seat has no less than 16 adjustments all operated electrically ensuring a secure and comfortable fit for all drivers. The sports theme is evident with a black roof lining and adornments of aluminium across the dash, with drilled aluminium pedals for the driver. There’s a decent amount of space on offer, with increased legroom and headroom for front seat passengers. Rear seat occupants are also granted additional leg room which sees an increase of 20mm over its predecessor, whilst headroom gains 25mm also. This increase in space is attributed to the repositioning of the hybrid battery which is lower and further forward than previously. The most significant outcome of this is a 60 per cent increase in luggage space, the GS now has a credible boot for a car in this class.
Powering the GS 450h is a two-motor full hybrid system that utilises a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that’s mated to an electric motor. It’s a powerful unit producing a energetic 345hp and 352Nm of torque, this power is transferred to the rear wheels by means of an Electronic-Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT). This new GS features Lexus’s second generation Hybrid Drive system, offering increased performance whilst reducing fuel consumption. This F Sport variant offers a respectable 6.2l/100km (45.6 mpg) on a combined run, although during my week-long evaluation I only managed to achieve an average of 7.6l/100km (37.2 mpg). Whilst it’s no remarkable feat, it’s fairly impressive for a car of this size which offers such performance. You can select from five different driving modes, EV, ECO, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+, for the majority of my driving I drove in Normal guise which I found to offer the optimum balance between comfort and performance. For a more spirited drive the two sports modes set the GS alive with instant response achieved from inputs to the throttle and steering. The Eco power meter in the dash instrument binnacle automatically changes to a rev counter whilst the backlighting also changes from blue to red. If pushed on the GS offers stable cornering with a competent chassis and suspension setup. Whilst it’s capable it doesn’t have the edge on handling from its BMW 5 Series rival. The GS 450h will no doubt compete for sales from BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 customers, on looks alone it certainly offers something more unique. Its pricing however may be a stumbling block to its closest competitors.
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