2014 Lexus GS 450h Hybrid Prices Review

the Lexus gs450h now there was a time where Lexusdominated the mid-sized hybrid vehiclesegment because no one else made one butnow this is becoming a relativelycrowded segment so we can expect anumber of these hybrid vehicle reviewshopefully this calendar year we have theMercedes E for hundred hybrid the BMWActiveHybrid five the q7 t hybrid frominfinity which is formally known as theM hybrid and of course we have thatbrand new Acura RLX which we sawrecently outtie has also indicated thatthey’re going to bring the Audi a6hybrid

to America but we haven’t seen ityet here and it’s not available for saleat this time the Lexus GS in thisredesign was the first vehicle toreceive this new Lexus spindle grille upfront and I remember it causing an awfullot of drama in automotive as well asLexus lover circles because peoplethought it looked a little bit funny orlooked a little bit too big or whateverthey thought was going on a lot ofpeople didn’t seem to like it but itreally has grown on meand if you take a look at how this hasprogressed across the lineup especiallywith the recently refreshed Lexus LXthis grille looks positively demure andpositively tiny overall I think it’s avery attractive and much more aggressivelook than was going on in the Lexus GSof before I’ll post a picture so you cansee that indeed I actually think thatthis is

a more aggressive look in yourrear-view mirror than the currentgeneration 5 series which is trying togo for more of a luxury look lately wehave the Lexus signature LED daytimerunning lamps elucha right here lookskind of like a Nike swoosh in theheadlamp and because we’re in the hybridmodel with the all the options checkedon this vehicle we have the LEDheadlights

right here there’s a full LEDlamps high beams and low beams going onright here we also have LED fog lampsright here and if you choose the rightoption package they’ll stick a radarcruise control sensor right here behindthe Lexus logo at 190 inches long theLexus GS is one of the shorter entriesin this mid-sized performance hybridsegment it has a couple inches shorterthan the 5 Series or the e-class andabout 6 inches shorter than the AcuraRLX hybrid a note about that Acura RLXbefore we go too far I don’t reallyconsider the front-wheel driveAcura RLX competition with therear-wheel driveLexus GS 350 however the

RLX hybridreally is a competitor in this classit’s priced about right it has a muchmore powerful all-wheel drive systemthat’s about thissighs overall as well the Lexus in thiscompetition has a very elegant butrestrained styling it’s very swoopy inthis generation and we have this veryelegant kink right here in the rear doorat 190 inches long at 112 incheswheelbase we have a shorter backseatthan the rest of the competition that isone thing to keep in mind but we’ll goover that more when we hop inside the GShybrid has a simple but elegant rear-endrather than the integrated exhaust tipswe see in other models we get hiddenexhaust tips you don’t really see themunder here we get an air diffuser forimproved aerodynamics and I get thesefairly aggressive LED tail lamps

righthere the Lexus hybrid system is routedreally in the Toyota Prius drivetrainthat was where this Hybrid Synergy Driveor as Lexus calls that the Lexus hybriddrive system really started and thissystem doesn’t use a transmission in thetraditional sense it uses two motorgenerator units one planetary gearsetand that’s really all that there isgoing on in the vehicle that’s part ofwhy the Lexus hybrid system as well asthat Toyota Prius hybrid system are veryreliable because there’s relativelylittle going on in the mechanical senseon the inside of the transmission that’svery different from the other hybridsystems that are out there on the marketand it’s very different from all thoseother luxury hybrids that you’ll findout competing with this Lexus GS theheart of this is a 3.5 liter v6 enginecoupled with the batteries and those twoelectric motors it produces a total of338 system horsepower that’s fairlyrobust in this segment the Mercedeshybrid is 302 horsepower the BMW is 335the infiniti beats the system at 360total system horsepower and the mostpowerful hybrid right now is 377horsepower in the all Hill Drive AcuraRLXthe important thing to know about thesystem is that it behaves kind of like aCVT a lot of people mistakenly call it aCVT because Toyota and Lexus have offand on called it an electronic CVT or ane CVT it’s really kind of a disingenuousway to describe this device because itjust is completely different thananything else out there on the marketand it behaves a little bit differentthan everything else out there on themarket big thing to know is that it’svery smooth because you don’t have atorque converter you don’t have a clutchpack like you’re doing all these othercompeting systems you don’t have anygears to shift going on in the systemand that’s why this vehicle scored about32 to 33 miles per gallon in ourweek-long test of this car decentlyhigher than all the other competitorsin this segment even though some ofthose other competitors are rated higherout on the highway or higher in the citythan this Lexus Hybrid our hybrid modelhas the optional 18 way power adjustablefront seats since the driver and II front passengerwith three positions seat memory fromboth the driver and the front passengeras

well that means that this vehicleties with the BMW active 5 hybrid withthe sport seats for the most comfortableseats in this segment if you can’t finda way to adjust this driver seat that’scomfortable for you you probably aren’thuman we also have a six-way adjustableheadrest right here it has a butterflymotion so you can actually curve thebacks of the headrest into sort ofcradle your head like an airlineheadrest we have a power adjustable tilttelescoping steering column as well andLexus uses a partial wood wheel so thisis bamboo on the top and the bottom hereit’s a very attractive wheel one thingto keep in mind however is that unlikeother heated steering wheels out on themarket when you get the heated steeringwheel it only heats this small otherportion on the two sides of the wheelrather than the wood portion on topbecause the GS is the shortest in thisimmediate segment and it has a shortestwheelbase we have the smallest rear seatas well I’m 6 feet tall and my hair isbrushing the ceiling just barely if Isit back completely in this seat it’sbecause the GS like the other entries inthis segment have a more coupe likeprofile if you want to get something alittle bit more traditionally styledlike a BMW 5-series or Mercedes e-classthey will have a little bit more rearheadroom because of that tallergreenhouse in the back again I’m sittingbehind myself I have a few inches oflegroom left because I tend to like tosit in a fairly upright and forwardposition in the driver’s seat I moveover to this far side this passengerseat was adjusted for a 6 but 5passenger I had in the car I have aboutan inch of legroom left there there’s avery spacious car when you compare it tothe average sedan out on the road butagain the 5 Series and the Mercedeswould be a little bit bigger with theAcura RLX having by far the most rearlegroom due to its front-wheel drivearchitecture if I move to the middleseat it is a little bit tricky becausethis hump is fairly pronounced as itwould be in most rear-wheel drivevehicles again the Acura RLX has asevere advantage there it’s really notpossible to sit upright in this rearmiddle seat however you can do it if youhad a child or so but it is very veryupright because it’s a very pronouncedhumps this huge height differencebetween this outboard seat bottom andthisseat bottom the back is also veryupright as well rear passengers get thislarge and softly padded armrest with thestorage compartment we also have cupholders right here power outlet right uphere and we have the optional three zoneclimate controlwhich gives you radio and climatecontrol controls right here in thecenter console we also have a button forthat power rear window shade let’s takea quick spin around the interior hereyou can see we have height adjustableseatbelts for the driver and the frontpassenger here you can see how the sixway butterfly headrests work you canactually move this portion of theheadrest independently of the up anddown and in and out modes of thatheadrest over here on the doors we havea lot of soft touch material we alsohave some stitched pleather on the doorsthat’s

not real leather that is justimitation leather it will last a littlebit longer three position seat memoryfor the passenger we have this gorgeousbamboo wood on the dashboard and on thesteering wheel I really like the bambooin the GS hybrid it is an interestingalternative to the walnut and oak andother materials that you’ll find in mostluggage or vehicles I have this enormous12-inch information display right therein the dashboard if you want to knowmore about that follow the link at thebottom who have separated theinfotainment reviews from the rest ofthe reviews down here we have ouroptional mark levinson sound systemtri-zone climate control we control thetwo zones right here with these buttonsand the third zone you can eithercontrol from the back or from that

12inch display single slot CD right thereeject button volume knob tuning knobover there below that we have our heatedand cooled front seats with an automodes this will automatically heat orcool your seat depending on ambienttemperature as well as the temperatureoutside cover controls covers the largecup holders right up front these easilyaccommodated large take out sodas andthere’s really nothing around here tointerfere with those large take out sodoes either moving down we have ourtraditional shifter with our drive modeselect knob this has an eco mode normalmode Sport and Sport Plus this affectsthe engine the way the transmissionshifts as well as the suspension in thisvehicle we have an AV mode button and asnow button right there as well overhere we have the Lexus

remote touchcontroller rather than a knob like BMWor Mercedes use it uses sort of mousiestyle joystick with the menu button soup and down or zoom in and out and adirect map and repeat voice Directionbuttonthis is probably my least favorite inputmethod however in modern luxury vehiclesbehind that we have a fairly good-sizedcenter console it slides back and thenit opens right there like that we have alittle divider there we have our USBport as well as one auxilary input in anadditional 12 volt power port over onthe driver side we have a four dialinstrument cluster and this is a usualhybrid power Eco charge gauge but italso changes into a tachometer dependingon what drive mode you’re in this colorportion where it appear also goes red togreen depending on which drive modeyou’re in firstly I prefer thetachometer look so that’s how I spentmost of my time driving in the GS wealso have this small multi-informationLCD display

right there between thegauges can change some vehicle settingshave a hybrid powered display rightthere miles per gallon average economythat sort of thing as well as our tirepressure we zoom out we can see thisgorgeous partial wood steering wheelthis is really one of my favoritesteering wheels on the market right nowone thing is that this is not heavilylacquered bamboo actually so you canreally feel the natural grain of thewooddecent sport grips there wood continueson the bottom in this 3 spoke designover here we have our cruise controlcontrols phone buttons voice commandbutton back button for the display thisdisplay

button controls that littledisplay right there in the center andthen over here we have our radio buttonstrack up/down volume up/down and modethe GS has a surprisingly accommodatingtrunk even in this hybrid trim thehybrid battery pack is right back thereagainst the rear seatback so it does eatinto some of the trunk space but the GShas a fairly large trunk in all of itsversions which makes an awful lot easierto store cargo back here this is largestbag you can carry on a domestic flightas you can see you can actually put onethat was a little bit shorter than thisin an upright fashion right here in theback this is a 24 inch bag so if you a22 inch carry-on you could definitelyline up three of them right across hereand then put larger luggage deeper intothe trunk its kind of unique

in thissegment because an awful lot of thetrunks that the Lexus competes with area little bit shallow and a little bitless useful we pull this bag out it isnow time for our exclusive trunk comfortindex trunk is very easy to get into itwith a low step in height it’s also verynicely furnished in here we score 8 outof 10 points in our exclusive truckcomfortindex because this trunk even has aheadliner under here so even this top ofthe trunk is very nicely finished youalso have these nice shopping bagholders and other bag holders so you caneasily hang bags on the back and we havea power trunk lid the GS 450 Hybrid hastwo very distinct missions the first isto be the most efficient Lexus GSavailable in the United States that’sbecause the GS 300 hybrid which isavailable in Japan and other

Lexusmarkets is not sold in the United Statesand that uses a smaller engine this wasa slightly different transmission it’sborrowed from the Lexus ES 300h hybridwhich is also not available in theUnited States but the GS 450h has asecond mission and that’s to be the bestperformance GS available in the UnitedStates because we only one we get hereis the GS 350 other than this there’s nolonger a v8 GS model so it’s reallynothing to directly compete with thelikes of the BMW 550i or themercedes-benz twin-turbo v8 model eitherthat means we should talk about fueleconomy first and we’ve been averagingabout 31 to 32 miles per gallon in theGS 450h over this week that’s asignificant improvement over the lastgeneration of Lexus GS hybrid it’s abouta 35 percent improvement or so that’sall down to the engine because thisengine is now operating on a napkin s’encycle which trades power for efficiencyin general terms the result is muchimproved efficiency nowLexus also did some additional tweaks tothe engine the transmission and the restof the drivetrain to help compensate forthat power reduction so we still get the338 system horsepower which means westill get a 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds 6seconds to 60 is definitely not as fastas

the v8 competition it’s actually alittle bit slower than BMWs twin-turbo 3litre inline-six engine as well that’sin the BMW 535i however this gets muchbetter fuel economy than the 535 I infact it gets much better fuel economythan even the BMW 528i with its 2-literturbo so well we don’t have quite theperformance of that twin-turbo6-cylinder engine we have much betterfuel economy in terms of driving feelbehind the wheel and the feel as thiscar gets up to 60 miles an hour the feelis actually very similar to BMWs twinturbo engine and definitely superior tothe 3.5 liter v6 that mercedes-benz usesin the e 350 thereason for that is the electric motorsthe electric motors broaden the torquecurve in this engine the delivering offlot of torque at low end which isexactly what turbos do to a regularengine as well so you get a very similareffect in many respects part of thereason we have that six seconds 0-60 runalso is that the Lexus gs450hturns off its engine at stoplights it’svery difficult to get the car to keepthat engine on but if you do manage

ifyou sort of brake torque the engine putyour foot on the brake and then tap onthe accelerator just a little bit to getthe engine going then you can get a 0 to60 time it’s about two tenths of asecond faster compared to the otherhybrids out on the market the Lexusscores towards the bottom end of thepack in terms of 0 to 60 performancethis is definitely slower to 60 and theBMW the infinity or the Acura hybrid wehaven’t had a chance to test theMercedes II 400 so we don’t have anynumbers on that onebut by the by the looks of things that’sprobably going to be just a little bitslower than this Lexus GS with the LexusGS however really shines is in thehandling and feel out on the road verymuch like the GS 350 the GS 450h has avery good varied precise feel on thesewinding mountain roadsit feels very accurate it feels verynimble it also feels very light in thefront which is an excellent thing inthis categoryin contrast the BMW 335 as well as theBMW twin-turbo v8 just feel an awful lotheavier they’re less willing to changedirection they feel less connected thesteering feels of just a little bit lessprecise part of that’s just because ofthe engineering effort that Lexus putinto the GS 450hand part of that is because BMW has beenredesigning themselves as a solidEuropean luxury player rather than asports maker first so they’ve reallybeen getting a little bit softer and alittle bit heavier as a result of thatconflicting new mission on the flipsidebecause of electric power steering wehave

the ability to change not only thegear ratio and the steering wheel butalso the amount of boost that the car isgiving you to the steering that’sadjustable by that drive mode selectthat we saw earlier in the centerconsole they have several differentmodes ranging from eco to normal toSport and Sport Plus and those affect anumber of different vehicle systems notonly the steering but also the way thethrottle is mapped some engineperformance numbers as well as thedamping in the suspension the suspensiongoes from a moderately firm to a firmrange it’s neverare gonna be that harsh because this isa luxury vehicle and it’s not somethingthat’s trying to compete with an m5 oran AMG vehicle so it’s not going to bereally stiff but it does have a nicefirmness to it the dynamic suspensionhelps compensate for the fact that thewheelbase in this car is among theshortest in the group it really doesimprove the highway ride I would easilyrank this among the best in the segmentin terms of ride quality the GS is asurprising amount of fun to drive out onthese winding

mountain roads even thoughthe transmission behaves quite like aCVT again I don’t really have a problemwith CVT s in general so it didn’tsurprise me that I really took to theway the GS 450 feels out on the roadit’s definitely an endless amount ofpower going on in this engine feels verytorquey definitely feels like it has alittle bit more than 337 horsepowerlike most hybrids there is an easy modebutton in the dashboard but if we pressit we’re going to get a beat from thecar that’s because this car will onlyoperate an e mode up to about 25 milesan hour or so the car will actuallyoperate as ayperi v without turning onthe engine up to about 40 miles an hourbut it won’t engage evey mode for youand you have to treat it really gentlyin order to do that up to about

40 milesan hour that top-end EB speed is reallydictated by the battery pack and not themotor these motors are about 300horsepower or so in this car that’s justthe way the transmission is designedit’s the battery pack that can’t put outquite that much power it’s limited tosomewhere around 25 or 30 horsepowerdepending on who you believe Toyotadoesn’t exactly have specific numbers onthe power output capabilities of thatbattery pack like most of the otherhybrids in this segment the GS isrear-wheel drive only that’s animportant thing to keep in mind for afew reasons if you live in the snow beltyou might want to look at something elsethe gasoline-only version of the GS doeshave an all-wheel-drive varietyavailable so – something to keep in mindif you’re in one of those snow proneareas the other thing to keep in mind isthat front wheels do the majority of thebraking in a vehicle it’s just theweight balance thing going on in the carbecause this is rear-wheel drive and therear wheels are the only things that areconnected to the motors in this car theregenerative braking feel is a littlepeculiar and it’s probably the mostpeculiar of this immediate competitiveset the problem is that

if you apply thebrakes moderately to gently everythingseems normal and the transition betweenregenerative braking and frictionbraking happens very normally but ifyou’re a little bit more aggressive onthe pedal there’s this momentabout a second or so into the breakingwe’re all of a sudden you get an awfullot more grab it’s very disconcertingit’s

difficult in moderate to moderatelyheavy breaking to have a goodprogressive break feel in this car itmakes the other passengers in the carfeel like you don’t know what you’redoing while you’re driving if howeveryou need to panic stop that feelstotally normally so gentle stops panicstops totally fine it’s really justeverything in between where the GSdislikes the Polish that you’ll find ina Prius or the Lexus ES 300h or in theLexus CT hybrid which are all very goodin terms of regenerative braking feeland the interaction between thatregenerative braking and frictionbraking somehow this lexus GS just getsit a little bit wrong we also didn’tnotice this problem in the lexus LShybrid which is a very very expensivehybrid so you’d expect it to be betterbut that’s also all-wheel drive so thatmay

have something to do with that the450h is without a doubt the best GS thatLexus has ever madeunfortunately the competition hasn’tbeen standing idly by and they reallyhave made significant progress withtheir hybrid models as well as theirmid-size luxury sedans in general therest of the competition almost withoutexception have twin turbo enginesavailable even the Cadillac CTS has atwin turbo v6 that puts down an awfullot more power and gets reasonable fueleconomy the CTS also has by far the bestfeel out on the road in terms of everymodel of course Cadillac doesn’t have ahybrid model at this point so it’sreally difficult to compare any versionof

CTS directly to this GS 450hbut I do have to say that the Cadillacis probably the best driving car in thissegment the Germans of course have theirtwin-turbo v8 which produce an awful lotmore power and really kind of in aleague of their ownthat leaves Lexus in some ways tocompete more directly with Infiniti andAcura just because they don’t have acomplete lineup pressing for the 2014model year starts at 60,000 $430 and ifyou get crazy with the options you canget your GS 450h up to seventy sixthousand four hundred ten dollars thatmakes this the second most expensivestarting entry in this segment it’s moreexpensive than everything except thatBMW

ActiveHybrid 5 however if you getreally crazy with the options on both ofthe German options you’re going to getfar more expensive than this Lexusgs450h the Infiniti q70it is relatively value-priced incomparison but probably the bargainentry in this segment really is thatAcura RLX because it starts about thesame price final pricing is a little bitunsure from Acura at this point in timebut it’s gonna start right around this$60,000 mark it’s gonna go up to aboutsixty six thousand dollars fully loadedwhich would represent about a tenthousand dollar discount versus thisLexus model that our LX is also the onlyall-wheel drive

hybrid in this midsizeluxury sedan market out II will ofcourse be bringing their Audi a6 Hybridto the market but we don’t have manydetails on that at this time thissegment is very competitive that all theentries are very good entries somethings to keep in mind however whenyou’re shopping around in this segmentis that the infiniti model even thoughit has a new name it’s not a new vehicleit hasn’t been refreshed in a little bitand that 400 even though we have a newnose on the car the interior is gettinga little bit old that means that theLexus is probably my number two ornumber three pick in a segment I reallylike that BMW active five hybrid

but Ireally like this GS as well the newAcura RLX is an interesting entry Imight place that second I might place itjust a little bit above the Lexus justbecause of the value we haven’t had thatfor a full week so my opinion may changebe sure to stay tuned for that videocoming up the Lexus does have someexcellent things going for it howeverit’s probably the best handling vehiclein this segment and that may surpriseyou especially with the BMW active 5hybrid being here with its inline 6engine and very well balanced nature buthonestly if you have them out on thetrack like I have this is a much betterhandling vehicle than that BMW it feelsan awful lot lighter it feels moreresponsive it feels much more connectedto the road so if you’re after the besthandling vehicle the best driversvehicle in this segment oddly enough aLexus Hybrid with AE CVT is going to beyour option the q7 t is definitely thegadget lovers car we have an awful lotmore autonomous driving technology goingon in that infiniti than any other entryin this segment the BMW is oddly thebest luxury pick it has the best ride Ithink of all it’s a little bit softerthan the Lexus it’s also in a little bitmore luxurious we have an awful lot moreroom there in the back if your goal isto carry passengers especially in theback then you’re going to need to stickwith those Germans

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