On the down side, there's a surge in the powertrain while cruising at a steady speeds, most likely tied to the hybrid system's regenerative braking/charging activities – it was subtle, but noticeable. Fuel economy dipped to between 23 and 27 mpg, depending on driving style.
Fun to Drive
In fact, one editor had this to say: "I can't think of another car that was so easy to drive at high speeds so smoothly – no, I'm not suggesting a Lexus sedan beats the best performance cars on the market, but the GS 450h will surprise with its balance, at least when fitted with run-flat tires."
On a more positive note, the trunk floor is low enough so as to make for easy loading, and the opening is wide. The lid and trunk are nicely finished with a lining, large mat, and light.
Price of Test Vehicle: $62,744 (including a $695 destination charge)
Engine Size and Type: Hybrid 3.5-liter V6
Engine Horsepower: 292 hp at 6,400 rpm
Engine Torque: 267 lb.-ft. at 4,800 rpm
Primary Electric Motor: 650V; 180 max hp; engine starting and engine speed
Secondary Electric Motor: 650V; 197 max hp; drives rear wheels; regenerative braking
Battery Pack: 288V; 35 kW output; sealed nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH)
Total Estimated Horsepower: 339
Transmission: Continuously-variable automatic
Curb weight, lbs.: 4,134
EPA Fuel Economy (city/highway): 25/28 mpg
Observed Fuel Economy: 23 mpg
Max. Cargo Volume: 7.5 cubic feet
Lexus GS 450h – Chris Wardlaw's Opinion:
During my commute, it was fun to go easy on the throttle in an attempt to maximize fuel economy by running on pure electric power for as long as possible. But, if you are in a hurry, stomp the gas and a combined 339 horsepower rockets the Lexus GS 450h to speed. There's a bit of a delay right off the line, and the continuously-variable transmission takes some getting used to, but the driver can select a manual shift mode that does a fair imitation of a regular manually-interactive automatic.
Just cruising? With the exception of the rather harsh ride from the use of the run-flat tires and the occasional "hiccup" in the smooth powertrain, the GS is perfect for how most people drive.
Photos courtesy of Ron Perry