Lexus GS450h
Lexus GS

There is something about a keyless entry system that, even though it isn’t restricted to just the luxury sector, oozes refinement and confuses onlookers. It’s not just the convenience of the doors unlocking as you approach with the keys in your pocket or merely pressing a button on the door handle to lock the car. It’s more about the way that the seats, mirrors and steering wheel assume their positions when you get in and the almost imperceptible feel of the engine when the start button is pressed.

All versions of the GS450h have an Electro Multi Vision touch-screen display but the SE and SE-L have sat-nav with a colour touch-screen, which is also used for the rear-view reversing camera and steering-guided parking sensors. This, along with the Mark Levinson, surround sound system including 6-disk video and DVD capability, is included in the Multi-media Pack.

The interior is stylishly sedate and there’s plenty of room for five passengers. Despite the battery behind the rear seats, luggage space doesn’t seem to be compromised and the boot remains capable of holding 280-litres of luggage or shopping.

Before moving on to the safety systems, I should make mention of the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) and High Intensity Discharge headlamps, which illuminate the road ahead better than any I have come across and High Intensity is just that and capable of stopping on-coming traffic should you momentarily forget to switch off the full beam. Ooops, sorry!

The top-of-the-range SE-L features the Lexus Pre-Crash Safety system or PCS. It uses a millimetre-wave, radar sensors to detect obstacles up to 150 metres ahead and decides whether a collision is unavoidable. If the answer is yes, the system primes the front seatbelts and the emergency Brake Assist System (BAS) an anticipation of heavy braking.

This same radar is used for the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which can automatically regulate the speed and distance between vehicles in the same lane.

Another major player is the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management or VDIM. It a system that combines the by-wire Electronically Controlled Braking, Brake Assist, EBD, TRC traction control and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with the EPS, power steering and VGRS, Variable Gear Ratio Steering. The idea is to compare what the driver wants with the position, speed and attitude of the car and then come up with a safer, more sensible version of their intentions.

The GS450h has dual-stage airbags for both front occupants, who are also protected by knee and side airbags. There are also full-length curtain airbags and on the Se and SE-L rear passengers are protected by rear side airbags.

There is far more to the car and safety system than I have space for, so I’ll end by saying that the GS450h specification needs a while to read through. It is a complicated car but the driver need never get into the intricacies of the inner workings to appreciate it.


Published : 07/03/07 Author : Melanie Carter

Lexus GS News

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