From £31,594
Efficient, quiet and luxurious, the Lexus GS offers a refreshing alternative to a default-choice diesel-power German executive car

Our Verdict

Lexus GS300h

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

    Lexus GS300h first drive review

    New hybrid plugs the gap in the current GS range as a credible alternative to frugal German diesel execs; but GS300h fails to offer any driver engagement

What is it?

This is the fourth-generation Lexus GS and pretty much an all-new car. Under the skin is a 3.5-litre V6, Atkinson cycle, petrol engine mated to a water-cooled electric motor and driving the rear wheels through a CVT gearbox.

A battery pack sits over the rear axle. The headline figures are combined fuel economy rating of 46.3mpg and 137g/km Co2, a claimed 23 per cent improvement over the previous model.It’s the same length as the previous model, but is now 30mm taller, and 20mm wider. The front and rear tracks are also 40 and 50mm wider respectively. It rides and double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension. The body shell has been re-engineered with thicker panels and redesigned sections so it is 14 per cent more rigid than before.The styling walks away from the familiar form of the previous model and now has the same angular nose styling as the CT200, though it is rendered in a more aggressive, LF-A-like, form.

What's it like?

Overall, it has a refreshingly different philosophy for this sector of the market. The exterior styling might not be an improvement over the previous model, if only because the slightly square-edge side and rear elevations are not as distinctive, while the nose might be a little overdone.Inside the interior is dominated by a huge, rectangular, screen which is set deep into the dash top. The other controls, for the audio and climate systems, are squeezed in below the screen and above very substantial centre console storage.It houses for the selector for ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport Plus’ modes and a conventional auto shifter, which offers manual control of the CVT ‘box. The left-hand dial switches its display between a rev counter and a ‘eco’ meter, depending on what mode the drivetrain is in.The best thing about the GS450h is its vivid performance when both the engine and the electric motor are at maximum output. The machine smoothness of the V6 and the sheer wallop of the electric motor is distinct from the familiar nature of the high-performance turbodiesel. This hybrid drivetrain delivers the sense of pure, naturally-aspirated, performance. It’s more like a race-bred powertrain than even the most refined oil-burner.And the handling is not beyond keeping up with the pace. It was pleasantly agile on the Austrian mountain roads, stable and easy to place on the road, although away from the Autobahn hoards of public holiday traffic got in the way of really exploiting the performance.Again, it also rode well, but the Austrian roads are in far better condition than what’s typical of the UK. The brakes are impressive, too, with plenty of bite right from the top of the pedal’s travel. If anything, they could be a little hard to modulate as low speeds.There aren’t any real downsides to this car on first acquaintance. The high back seats offer good support, the boot is much bigger than on the previous model (making it quite useable for a car in this class) and, of course, it is very quiet at motorway speeds.Indeed, you find yourself turning down the climate control fan because it is so conspicuous against the background hush. You might argue that there are a couple of places where the expected Lexus quality has been eased back: the doors and boot lid feel a bit lightweight, as do some of the minor switchgear (central locking buttons and interior light console) but it still feels and looks very tightly built.

Should I buy one?

Why not? Not only does it provide a refreshing alternative to a default-choice diesel-power German executive car, but the performance at full throttle is very impressive indeed. The super-smooth drivetrain and electric assist add to the luxury flavour.You might also consider the real-world ‘greeness’ of the extremely low level of pollutants leaving the exhaust pipe. Whether you can get close to the promised 46mpg in the real world is yet to be seen, but this Lexus makes a clear case for the individualist private buyer who appreciates the occasional burst of race-track pace.

Lexus GS 450h Luxury

Price: £44,995; 0-62mph: 5.9sec; Top speed: 155mph; Economy: 46.3mpg; Co2: 137g/km; Kerb weight; 1825kg; Engine types: V6, 3456cc, petrol, electric motor/generator; Power: V6 288bhp at 6400rpm, motor 197bhp; Torque: V6 260lb ft at 4800rpm, motor 203lb ft; Gearbox: E-CVT

Join the debate

Comments
14

7 June 2012

what a refreshing review of a Hybrid. It look great to me, and sounds like a pretty decent car too. If you want a large saloon and dont need a German badge to impress the neighboughs it could be near perfect

7 June 2012

It seems Lexus have found their 'mojo',just like toyota with the recent GT-86.In agreement with Artill,it is great to see a refreshing alternative to the German over dominance.Looks great too

amh

8 June 2012

So what exactly is this a review of? GS450h or GS250? Why I'm asking you wonder? Because all these tech specs are wrong. You either reviewed the GS250 which has a 2.5 liter V6 or the GS450h which has a 3.5 liter V6 Hybrid. There is no Lexus with a 2.5 liter hybrid. 

8 June 2012

I love it that us Brits still insist on using "miles per gallon" statistics even though fuel has been sold in litres here for well over 20 years and I bet not many of us now know how many gallons we use anyway. Although we still use miles, it's actually easier to work on L/100kms as 100 kms is 62 miles (hence the 0-100 km quoted against our 0-60) ... Anyway, nice car, though I question it's "green" credentials as 137 g/km and 46 "mpg" are good, but not impressive ...

8 June 2012

Suzuki QT wrote:

I love it that us Brits still insist on using "miles per gallon" statistics even though fuel has been sold in litres here for well over 20 years and I bet not many of us now know how many gallons we use anyway. Although we still use miles, it's actually easier to work on L/100kms as 100 kms is 62 miles (hence the 0-100 km quoted against our 0-60) ... Anyway, nice car, though I question it's "green" credentials as 137 g/km and 46 "mpg" are good, but not impressive ...

137g not impressive? for this size of car...I think it is.

But i'm with you on the mpg...it's a nightmare to work out these days but it's one of those old British things we cling on to. If/when we use km's it'll make no sense at all.

8 June 2012

Thought the grille's 'gills' looked familiar...

 

8 June 2012

It is a shame that Lexus aren't prepared to do a diesel-electric hybrid. I'm guessing that real life mpg will be around 38-40mpg? Not fantastic by any means!

8 June 2012

...but like many Lexus's, not very attractive (to me).  But it's better looking than it's predecessor and looks like a more and more convoncing alternative to the class leaders.

8 June 2012

Is it just my browser, or are the pictures missing?


8 June 2012

They are missing, but Google any modern Lexus, they all look similar!  Apart from the amazing LFA. 

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