Lexus GS450h
Lexus GS 450h

Most of the LHD components are a good bit smaller than those in the RX400h, SUV hybrid and this makes a difference both in weight and space-saving. This is particularly true of the new and supposedly unique automatic transmission system – the Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission or E-CVT, featuring fully automatic or a 6-speed sequential gear-change.

Unlike the old DAF CVT, the Lexus E-CVT has a good deal more than Drive, Reverse and somewhere vaguely in the middle, Neutral - the modern version is like comparing an iPod to a gramophone. Electronic gizmology now allows the six ‘steps’ in sequential or ‘S’ mode to provide better control, a sportier drive and a form of engine-braking.

So, the GS450h is a Sports Saloon and as well as being cleaner than most in this segment, it retains the swiftness associated with the label. With on-demand torque from the ‘get-go’ the 0-62mph time is 5.9seconds and the top speed is 155mph but that’s not at the expense of good fuel consumption. The published figures are; 31.7mpg for the urban cycle, 39.2mpg for the extra-urban and the combined works out as 35.8mpg. Tailpipe emissions are measured as 186g/km CO2, no NOx whatsoever, only 0.01 g/km hydrocarbons and 0.10g/km of carbon monoxide, which puts the GS450h in VED Band F (£180).

With the 3.5, V6 and the added powerboost from the electric motor, performance is assured and a scrunch of the toes on the accelerator is enough to prove it. On motorways, the car feel like a magic carpet ride, such is the smoothness and minimal noise intrusion and this is where the car is at its best.

The torsional stiffness makes the car feel very solid and agile on minor roads and twisting lanes but the low-profile tyres on the 18-inch wheels means that every bump and undulation is felt. This is the case whether the Adaptive Variable Suspension is set to Comfort or Sport.

Although Lexi (?) have always been noted for their build quality and prowess, the biggest niggle was the lack of feedback for the driver. The GS450h is different - the problem has been solved introduction of Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS), which is part of the Electric Power Steering system. VGRS does what it says on the tin, altering the weight of the steering according to the speed but also manages to improve the feedback at the same time.

The GS450h comes in three versions; standard, SE and SE-L with prices ranging from £38,058 to £46,808 and apart from getting a lot of car for the money the BIK rate is 21 per cent.

The test car was the SE-L, which means it was fitted with a lot of goodies, many of which are also in the SE. Taking comfort as a starting point, the owner of an SE-L will benefit from leather-clad seats, 8-way adjustable front seats, both of which have lumbar support, memory settings and heating and ventilation. There’s wood trim on the rake and reach adjustable steering wheel as well as the doors and part of the centre console and a dual-zone climate control with air-filter.

Lexus GS News

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