Based on the next generation GS platform introduced last year, Lexus turned up the heat with the introduction of the GS 450h sedan. Billed by the automaker as the world's first hybrid-powered performance luxury sport sedan, the GS 450h offers V-8 performance with greater fuel efficiency.
With its advanced technology, high performance and indulgent luxury, the rear-drive GS 450h is the flagship model of the GS series.
The GS 450h is equipped with a unique version of the Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain that combines the new 3.5L V-6 (used in the GS 350 sedan) with a compact, permanent magnet electric motor - all driving the rear wheels. The hybrid powertrain collectively produces 340 horsepower and boasts a 0-to-60 time of 5.2 seconds. Midrange acceleration is aided by the hybrid system's electric-drive motor, which can deliver maximum torque immediately upon demand.
A full hybrid, the GS 450h is capable of operating on gasoline-only or electric-only modes, or a combination of the two. The gasoline V-6 engine uses a "dual" fuel-injection system that combines the benefits of direct injection with those of port injection, and an Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i). Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) operates on the intake and exhaust valves to further enhance power and torque across a broad engine speed range.
The GS hybrid powertrain uses two motor generators: MG1 and MG2 (the drive motor). Each performs specific functions and can operate as both a motor and a generator, although MG1 is used as a starter motor and has no motive force.The engine-driven generator (MG1) can charge the battery pack or provide additional power to MG2 as needed.
The GS 450h carries a planetary gear-type electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT). The special transmission, which eliminates specific gear ratios, features a two-speed torque-multiplication device that allows drivers to select from among three driving modes: power, normal and snow.
The obvious question is "how does it drive?" The GS 450h is fast, quiet and smooth. Fun and willing, this car is many things all at once: elegant, sophisticated, powerful and seamless. The Lexus hybrid sedan loses nothing in translation with respect to performance or acceleration.
The Lexus hybrid's responsive handling, an ultra-comfortable ride and sport-sedan handling are managed by the GS 450h's double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension systems.
As the top model in the GS line for 2007, the GS 450h sedan features the highest level of standard luxury equipment and includes features that are optional on other GS models such as power moonroof and power rear sunshade as well as heated and ventilated front seats.
Safety features include dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, front seat knee airbags, vehicle stability control, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, brake assist and traction control.
High intensity discharge headlamps, adaptive front lighting system, rain-sensing wipers, tire pressure monitoring system, SmartAccess with push button start/stop, daytime running lights, parking sensors and rearview monitor are some additional safety features included.
Optional safety features include Lexus Link communications system, navigation system, pre-collision system and power active vehicle stabilizer.
Engines: 3.5L V-6 (gasoline) with 292 hp and 267 lbs.-ft. of torque;
MG1 (electric) with a 650-volt and 180-hp maximum;
MG2 (electric) with a 650-volt and 197-hp maximum
Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with two-stage torque multiplication, power and snow modes
EPA Fuel Economy: City: 25 Highway: 28
Starting MSRP: $54,900
Ken Chester, Jr. - Motor News Media Corporation