The 2007 Lexus GS 450h luxury sedan with a hybrid powertrain system is finally going to dealerships in Europe and the United States.
Although the hybrid vehicle was initially designed for the local customers only, the Japanese company was so much impressed with good reaction from the general public that the car received last year in Frankfurt and New York, that now Toyota’s luxury sub-brand plans to begin selling the hybrid on some overseas markets.
The first lot of Lexus GS 450h will reach American dealerships starting April, 2006.
The gasoline-sipping vehicle is equipped with the unique Lexus Hybrid Drive gasoline-electric powertrain designed specifically for the rear-wheel-drive cars.
The employed system consists of a 3.5-liter 2GR-FSE V6 internal combustion engine that works on petrol and produces 292 hp and 267 lb-ft, and a pair of permanent-magnet electric auxiliary motors that supplies additional power of 197hp.
Combined, these two engines produce almost 490 hp and make the car run similarly to a vehicle powered by a 4.5-liter powerplant while ensuring fuel efficiency of a 2-liter engine.
Belonging to a rare class of “full hybrids,” the system makes it possible to move the car exclusively on electric power, which may come handy if you find yourself in a traffic jam with your gas tank almost dry.
It takes the car only 5.2 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour giving its main competitors -the Mercedes-Benz E-Class W211 and the BMW 5-Series E60- a nice run for the money.
Lexus claims that Lexus GS 450h will run 33 miles per gallon on average, although it’s obvious that the mileage may vary depending on your driving habits.
Toyota plans to sell around 1800 GS hybrids a year in Japan and about 5700 units globally.
The hybrid system is a pretty expensive piece of gadgetry, so buyers will have to pay heavy premium to drive such an environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient car.
As usual for the Japanese brand, with this car they have once again expressed a somewhat strange idea of “luxurious interior”. Like cargo cult followers imitate things without truly understanding their nature, Lexus interprets European approach to luxury in a sort of mechanical way. They know that a premium car’s interior must sport lacquered wood and nicel leather, so they place the veneered panels (often in strangest places) and wrap the seats in cowhide, but they seem to have no idea that wood and leather don’t go very good with grey, boring plastic that seems to be all over the place.
On the other hand, their interiors are usually quite comfortable with ergonomic seats that allow you to travel hundreds of miles without feeling too tired. The instruments cluster on this particular model, too, seems to be quite legible with all the necessary information presented right in front of you so that you don’t have to take your eyes from the road for too long.
Prices for the Lexus GS 450h start from about $57,950. For this money you get EPS with Variable Gear Ratio Steering, air conditioner, heated/ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, rear side air-bags, 18-inch alloy wheels etc.
See also: BMW 7-Series may run on liquid hydrogen
2006 Lexus GS 450h hybrid sedan technical specification
Body Type: 4-door sedan
Layout: front internal combustion engine + two electric motors
Engine: 292 hp, 267 lb-ft (361 Nm) of torque, 3.5-liter, 2GR-FSE V6 + a pair of electric motors with 197 hp of total power output
Transmission: 2-Speed CVT w/OD
Top Speed: 250 km/h (155 mph)
0 – 62 mph: 5.9 seconds
Fuel Economy EPA city / highway cycle mpg (l/100 km): 25 / 28 (9.41 / 8.4)
Exterior Dimensions (L/W/H/Wheelbase) inches: 190.0 / 71.7 / 56.1 / 112.2
Ground clearance (inches): 5.1
Track (frt/rr): N/A / N/A
Curb to curb turning circle (feet): 36.7
Curb Weight: 4134 lbs
Coefficient of Drag (Cd): 0.27
Seating Capacity: 5 (2/3)
Cargo capacity, max (cu ft): 7.5 cu.ft.
Payload (max w/ occupants and cargo): N/A
Towing Capacity (max): N/A
Direct Competitors: Don’t look surprised, but there is virtually none. Of course, if you don’t choose between the ultra-luxurious Lexus GS 450h and some “affordable” Toyota Camry Hybrid.