Lexus GS 450h Review
The new Lexus GS 450h hybrid is by no means the car that will ensure a super clean environment for future generations to come (with mileage ratings in the mid 20's), but its performance will induce many a smile on your face. This powerplant is another Hybrid Synergy Drive release from Toyota and the combination of the low end torque from the electric assist motor and the high end conventional gas horsepower of the V6 make the car a thrill to drive.
The Lexus GS 450h seems to be an attempt to leave behind the stigma of hybrids and low power outputs, since the GS 450h produces power normally associated with V8 engines. In addition, hybrid vehicles in the marketplace are more so a trendy (if not conscientious) choice, so trendy folk will applaud you. Other buyers who can afford a car of this price may just shrug their shoulders. Plans are in place to have hybrid offerings throughout the Lexus lineup which will be marketed as the premium vehicle trim.
See also the main fact sheets for the 2007 Lexus GS 450h.
- Glorious acceleration of 0-60 in 5.2 seconds
- Luxurious cabin
- Excellent handling
- Fuel mileage is great compared to other cars of similar power
- Fuel mileage is worse than hybrids like the Toyota Prius, which focuss strictly on efficiency as opposed to performance.
- Expensive compared to non-hybrid version
- Heavy (4,134 lb curb weight)
- Reduced trunk space due to batteries
Performance and Handling
Lexus engineers seemed to have been torn in what to strive for when creating this car. Power is abundant, although it is at the expense of fuel economy, which is poor compared to hybrids like the Toyota Prius. The Lexus's powerplant has a gasoline V6 which produces its peak horsepower at 4800 RPM, in addition to which an electric motor produces its peak torque at 0 RPMs. The result of this gives the GS 450h acceleration similar to a BMW 550i, Mercedes E550 and Porsche 911 Carrera 2 which is quite impressive.
Lexus has incorporated all the handling technologies under one system called VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management). This encompasses Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), stability control, and suspension amongst other things to make a well sorted ride. The system seems to do an excellent job controlling the GS 450h's weight and power, although some will be disappointed with the generally numb steering feel.
The Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) also has a manual downshift mode. This doesn't really downshift the transmittion since there are no conventional gears in the GS 450h. Instead, the manual downshift increases regenerative braking allowing the driver to slow the car into corners instead of using the brake. This has the same effect as downshifting on a manual transmittion.
- Driver and front passenger airbags including front, side, side curtain and knee
- Rear side curtain airbags
- Electronic Traction Control
- Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) electronic stability control
- Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)
- Braking Assist
- Electronic Controlled Braking (ECB) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Tire pressure monitor system
- Highly rigid body structure
- Side impact door beams
- Front and rear crumple zones
- 3-point seatbelt with Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) for driver
- 3-point seatbelts with Automatic Locking Retractor/Emergency Locking Retractor (ALR/ELR) for all passengers
- Child Restraint Seat (CRS) tether anchor brackets
- Child safety locks and window lock button on driver door control
- Full-color display backup camera
- Intuitive electronic park assist
- Theft-deterrent and engine immobilizer system
- High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS)
- Headlamp washers
- Daytime running lights
- Integrated foglamps
- Rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers
Interior and Comforts
Interior dashboard design is cleanly executed and the standard equipment level is generous. Eight airbags, a back-up camera, stereo sound system with 14 speakers, wood trim and leather seats are standard equipment. Interior space is less than many of its competitors, but this can be expected from all the extra entailments of the hybrid powertrain.
Material grades and assembly precision is among the best in the automotive industry and typical of offerings from Lexus.
Lexus has taken a new styling direction lately that suits this car rather well. The body design is a welcome break from the mundane looks of the previous GS model line. The wide stance conveys some impression of the power under the hood, combined with the exposed dual exhaust and 18-inch alloy wheels. Some people my not care for its somewhat anonymous styling while others may connect with it. The High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights offer superb output, while the rear LED tailights increase safety in addition to looking great. The 18 inch alloy wheels look interesting enough, although some prospective hybrid buyers might wish to see Low Rolling Resistance Tires offered (to aid in fuel economy).
Styles and Options
- 3.5-liter V6 gas engine coupled with a high-output electric-drive motor, producing 340 total net HP
- Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT)
- Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) advanced stability management
- Traction control
- Regenerative braking to capture energy and recharge the battery
- Lexus voice-activated DVD Navigation System - $1,900
- Mark Levinson® 14-speaker 330-watt premium surround sound audio system - $1,780
- Lexus Pre-Collision System (PCS) and dynamic radar cruise control - $2,850
- Active Stabilizer Suspension System (requires run flat tires) - $3,400
- Rear Spoiler - $200
- All-season run-flat tires - $400
- Summer run-flat tires - $480
- 18-inch G-Spider alloy wheels
- All-weather floor mats
- Car cover
- Cargo net
- Trunk mat
- Wheel locks
- XM® Satellite radio capability