Government emissions
21 February 2006

Lexus has announced that its GS450h hybrid will be on sale in the UK from May. The car’s 3.5-litre V6 is mated to an electric motor, giving a combined output of 355bhp, 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds and 35mpg on the combined cycle.The manufacturer has cheekily suggested that the GS might be a better choice for Cabinet ministers than the Jaguar XJ or Toyota Prius they have just been offered by the Government Car and Dispatch Agency. Whilst the GS is faster than the XJ, it does rather fall down on the made in Britain front. That is part of the Government’s rationale for the decision to let every Cabinet minister choose between the XJ and the Prius. The other part is that all cars added to the fleet will either be hybrids or capable of running on biofuels. The Jag has been chosen as a British-built, reasonably fast, reasonably economical (35mpg again) option that can run on biofuel. Viewed from that perspective, it makes some sense. Nevertheless, the bill for Cabinet ministers’ cars is bound to rocket as they all cite the extra security, space and pace of the XJ as necessary to their jobs and leap out of the Vauxhalls most of them are currently tooling around in. Good luck to those trying to make a quick getaway in the Prius, with its 0-60 time of 10.9 seconds. Still, David Cameron is apparently hoping to swap his Omega for a Prius; will environmental cachet come to outweigh security?

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