The hybrid Lexus GS 450h emphasizes performance over fuel efficiency, with its gasoline engine and hybrid motors combining to make 340 horsepower, which about matches the 342-hp GS 460. The GS 450h has no hybrid competitors. The hybrid is a smidge faster than the GS 460. Lexus says the GS 450h can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, while the GS 460 takes 5.4 seconds. The GS 450h's combined city/highway gas mileage is 23 mpg. That means it sips gas on par with the V-6-powered GS 350. There's a more compelling case when it's compared with the V-8-equipped GS 460, which has a lower combined city/highway estimate of around 20 mpg.
New for 2009
The GS 450h receives no significant changes for 2009.
Virtually identical to the GS 350 and GS 460 sedans, the GS 450h sports Lexus' familiar face with its steeply raked headlights and thick C-pillars. An adaptive suspension continually senses road conditions to modify damping appropriately. A Sport mode incorporates tighter damping, and an optional active stabilizer system mitigates body roll even more. Several features that are optional on other GS sedans are standard on the GS 450h, including:
- High-intensity-discharge headlights
- Rear park assist
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers
- 18-inch wheels
An electric-power meter replaces the tachometer in the leftmost instrument pod, while a dashboard information screen displays energy consumption statistics and an animation of real-time power routing. Otherwise, the GS 450h's interior is identical to other GS models. Because of intrusion from the hybrid system's two battery packs, trunk volume shrinks from 12.7 cubic feet in non-hybrid GS models to 7.5 cubic feet in the GS 450h.
- Standard heated leather seats
- Standard ventilated front seats
- Standard dual-zone automatic climate control
- Available electric rear sunshade
- Standard 10-speaker audio system
- Available navigation system
- Available 14-speaker audio system
Under the Hood
The GS 450h's direct-injection, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is shared with Lexus' smaller IS 350 sedan.
- 3.5-liter V-6 making 292 hp, not including the electric motors
- V-6 teams with two electric motors — one providing power during startup, the other boosting acceleration — for a combined 339 hp
- Regenerative braking to charge the batteries for electric motors
- Engine shutoff when car is at a standstill
- Moves solely on electric power during light-load situations
- Continuously variable automatic transmission
A full complement of electronic safety features centers around Lexus' Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system, which is standard.
- Electronic stability system
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic steering
- Electronic brakes
- Adaptive front lighting system swivels the headlights several degrees during turns to better illuminate corners
- Front knee airbags
- Side-impact airbags
- Side curtain airbags
- Available adaptive cruise control can sense impending collisions and alert the driver