From £31,594
The Lexus GS 450h F Sport hybrid executive saloon builds on its predecessor’s refinement and performance qualities and adds extra driver involvement

Our Verdict

Lexus GS
The Lexus GS is unusual in the part of the market in not offering a diesel option

The Lexus GS has been injected with a few ounces of sportiness, making it a left-field contender in the mid-size exec category

  • First Drive

    2016 Lexus GS450h F Sport review

    The Lexus GS450h might offer plenty of pace and reasonable running costs on paper, but diesel alternatives make more sense
  • First Drive

    2016 Lexus GS F review

    Our first UK drive of the Lexus GS F; strong, naturally aspirated V8 and neat handling are let down by an indecisive gearbox
19 November 2011

What is it?

The outgoing Lexus GS 450h was a car you bought with your head and not your heart. But with this all-new model, Lexus if promising much greater levels of driver reward and performance to go with the mightily impressive – and equally improved - economy figures its petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain provides.

The all-new Lexus GS 450h sits atop a two-model range that will reach the UK in summer 2012, the entry-level GS 250 sitting below it. Its bold new design eschews the white-goods looks that have plagued recent Lexuses and will be rolled out across the next-generation of models.

The new GS is slightly wider (20mm) and taller (30mm) than before, but its length remains the same. Interior room is increased, and a change in the installation of the nickel-metal hydride battery pack has resulted in a 60 per cent increase in boot capacity.

Dynamically, Lexus is promising increased rigidity, agility and ride comfort from the all-new platform and double-wishbone front/multi-link rear suspension set-up. Additionally, F Sport models get an Adaptive Variable Suspension system to offer even greater control to the enthusiast driver. These range-toppers can also be specced with the Lexus Dynamic Handling package, essentially a four-wheel steering system.

The 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine has been retained and updated and is mated to Lexus’s second-generation hybrid system, which incorporates an electric motor and battery pack that can power the GS 450h for short bursts on its own or in tandem with the efficient Atkinson cycle engine. Combined power is 338bhp and torque is 254lb ft.

For those who ask why Lexus doesn’t do diesels, the firm will direct you to the performance and economy figures of this hybrid drivetrain. It can crack 0-62mph in 5.9sec and reach 155mph, yet still return 47.9mpg and 137g/km. Impressive stuff.

What’s it like?

What’s instantly striking about this car is how remarkably smooth and refined it is. It runs off stealth-like electric power alone at start-up and when the petrol engine kicks in at higher speeds, it’s seamless. Certainly, it is a very relaxing car to drive both around town and on the motorway, a pre-requisite for most GS 450h buyers.

Those looking to steal a march at the traffic lights will also not be disappointed. The performance claims seem genuine, and the GS 450h possesses an overtaking ability not normally associated with cars equipped with CVT gearboxes. The GS 450h is more than fast enough for almost all everyday situations, and you’ll rarely be found wanting more power.

The new suspension set-up and increased rigidity to the body shell have resulted in impressive ride quality and body control, both of which feel much improved over the old GS 450h. One niggle was the ride being prone to fidgeting at low speeds on the 19-inch F Sport alloys of our test car, but this wouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Our go in the GS 450h included a trip to a test track to see if those claims of new-found levels of driver involvement were genuine. And the four-wheel steering system succeeds in making the GS 450h feel nimble and more stable at higher speeds. Very little input is required to the steering such, something which can make the car seem lacking in feel at first, but ultimately results in much sharper turn-in.

The extra involvement can be heightened by selecting the most focused Sport S+ mode from the four on offer with the Drive Model Select (Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+). The engine speed is increased, along with a sharper throttle response and manual control of the gearbox using the steering wheel-mounted paddles.

Inside, it’s hard not to find a good driving position with the 18-way adjustable electric front seats. The quality is as you’d expect from a Lexus, and the large display screen is a welcome addition at being a one-stop-shop for everything from the sat-nav, to minute-by-minute economy.

But despite the boasts of extra space, the interior does feel a touch cramped. Whether this is down to the disappointing visibility, dark materials of our test car or the sheer amount of buttons and controls on the dash and centre console was hard to precisely pinpoint in this initial test.

Should I buy one?

However much Lexus improves the dynamic ability of the GS 450h to appeal to the enthusiast buyers, the car is still likely to be snapped up by wealthy private individuals who are more drawn by the hybrid drivetrain than its ability on a track. They will be pleased to hear the economy figures, like the performance and handling claims, are no gimmick and were largely achieved on our test drive.

That’s not to say the enthusiast should overlook the new GS 450h. It successfully builds on the performance and refinement of the old model and throws in extra agility and responsiveness. It’s unlikely to be cheap to buy, but the particular type of buyer who the GS 450h appeals to is unlikely to be disappointed.

Lexus GS 450h F Sport

Price: £50,000 (est); Top speed: 155mph; 0-62mph: 5.9sec; Economy: 47.9mpg (combined); CO2: 137g/km; Kerb weight: 1900kg (est); Engine: V6, 3456cc, petrol plus electric motor; Power: 338bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 254lb ft at 4600rpm; Gearbox: CVT

Join the debate

Comments
10

DKW

23 November 2011

If the car's a decent steer then perhaps the journos need to lighten up on the Asahi the night before - there's a lot of knocked over cones ... [quote Autocar]the economy figures, like the performance and handling claims, are no gimmick and were largely achieved on our test drive[/quote] Rarely true even with non hybrids, so well done Lexus. I'd like one, though the cockpit looks smart but too busy.

23 November 2011

I'm about to hand the keys back on an RX450h after 3 years and have to say that I'm sceptical about the fule consumption claims, my average is 30mpg in the real world, when Lexus were claiming early 40's. That said they are well screwed together and equipped, dull to drive with fussy switchgear and the dealers have taken daylight robbery to a new level, way beyond my previous experiences with Merc and BMW. Never again.

23 November 2011

Seems like an interesting alternative for those who don't want a diesel but would like the economy and emissions of a diesel. And of course if you are tired of german cars.

Fal

23 November 2011

[quote drive africa]And of course if you are tired of german cars[/quote]

What the review doesn't go into though is how it measures up against them though.

It will be interesting to see how the forthcoming BMW 535ih (or what ever it will be called) compares to this.

23 November 2011

Certainly seems to be an attractive package, especially for those that don't want a diesel.

The deal breaker here though is going to be the price. If the projected cost is going to be circa £50k, then there is going to have to be a lot kit (or kudos) to compensate for the £10k premium over something like the 530d.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 November 2011

This new Lexus GS seems very promising inside and out.If it rides and handles better than the outgoing model it may well find a whole new customer base.

24 November 2011

[quote blue62]the dealers have taken daylight robbery to a new level[/quote]

It would be interesting to hear your experience of the dealers -especially as they seem to always come out on top in the surveys. I have long wondered if they really are "that good."

24 November 2011

Still with two distinct hybrid problems £50k price is far too much and weighing in at 1900kgs it is too much of a biffa.

24 November 2011

Incredible figures for such a hefty car. Lower emissions than a three cylinder Polo, yet better acceleration than a Honda S2000, all in a big, luxury car.

I still doubt that we'll see many in the UK.

24 November 2011

[quote DKW]...though the cockpit looks smart but too busy.[/quote] "Too busy" - cor, not 'alf, it looks like the Lexus designers have spent too much time in too many Maplin stores!

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run