The RX400h hybrid will get a saloon sibling when the GS450h goes on sale

The Frankfurt motor show next month will see the European debut of the second Lexus hybrid, the high-performance hybrid GS 450h saloon. Due to go on sale in mid-2006, the GS 450h is the second production model from Lexus to feature a hybrid engine, following the RX 400h off-roader. The electric motor is coupled with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine to deliver a power output of over 300bhp. This is enough, claims Lexus, to propel the car from 0-62mph in under six seconds.

As with the RX 400h, increased fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions represent the most significant benefits of the hybrid powertrain. In these areas Lexus claims that the GS 450h should be comparable to a conventional four-cylinder, 2.0-litre petrol saloon. No price has yet been decided, but expect it to start at under £35,000.

Also featuring at Frankfurt will be the new generation IS, to be launched at the end of the year. It is the first Lexus to feature diesel power, with a 2.2-litre four developing 175bhp and 295lb ft. It will also feature a comprehensive safety package including ten airbags and and the world's first twin-chamber front passenger airbag, which is designed to offer increased protection to the neck and shoulders in a crash.

Elsewhere on the Lexus stand, the revised SC 430 takes a bow and there will be a repeat appearance of the LF-A supercar concept. The 2006 SC 430 goes on sale in November this year, and will offer tweaked exterior and interior styling, as well as the addition of an Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS).

Our Verdict

Jaguar XK

A smooth, svelte all-rounder which can equally cosset and thrill

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