Lexus has updated its GS 450h, a five passenger hybrid rear-wheel-drive sedan that retails from about $60,000. The first generation model was produced from 2007 through 2011; a 2012 edition was not sold. The newest Lexus hybrid demonstrates that fuel efficiency and performance are not mutually exclusive, and that luxury has never looked or felt so good.
As with the first generation model, the Lexus GS 450h returns with its 24-valve V-6 gasoline engine intact. This 286-horsepower engine is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The battery pack is a sealed nickel metal hydride (NiMH) system that features 240 cells and 6.5 amp hours of battery capacity. With the GS 450h, parent Toyota has stayed with NiMH technology, preferring to update its proven system instead of making the transition to lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries that are being used elsewhere.
This model achieves an estimated 29 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, putting it at the top of the range amongst executive cars. With its 17.4-gallon fuel tank, the 450h has a maximum driving range of approximately 591 miles, allowing you to put some serious distance between fuel stops.
This Lexus weighs in at 4,190 pounds, but still manages to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds. Its top speed has been clocked at 131 mph — so much for the punchless hybrid jokes we sometimes hear.
On the outside, the 450h gains Lexus’ new face, featuring an hourglass or spindle designed grille. Lexus has been promising to deliver sportier looking models, eschewing the blandness that its critics have accused it of having for many years. Its face also features a unique three-lamp design with LED headlamps and headlamp washers.
Look closely and you’ll notice the air stabilizer fins in the lower bumper and with a concealed exhaust outlet. This model also offers LED dual rear lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels with a 9-spoke design, color-coordinated side mirrors with turn signal lights and water-repellant front door glass for improved visibility.
Open the 450h’s door and you’ll be comforted with the same level of Lexus craftmanship available elsewhere. The cabin is bright and expansive, and features soft touch materials, wood and chrome accents and leather-appointed seating surfaces. This sedan features 10-way power driver and front passenger seats with adjustable head rests, lumbar support with recline and height adjustment. You also get a fold-down rear center arm rest and front seats with heating and ventilation capabilities. This model features height adjustable head rests for all five seating positions, including for the center rear seat.
Slip behind the steering wheel and you’ll immediately take in this sedan’s 3-pod analog instrument display with electro chromatic device variable transparency glass that maintains high visibility in a variety of lighting conditions with revised instrument panel font and appearance, a combination meter and and brushed aluminum embellishments. You’ll also notice an 8-inch high resolution multi-information touch screen; a Lexus digital clock; dual trip meters with an electronic digital odometer; LCD read outs and a remote touch interface.
Like every Lexus sold, the 2013 450h offers numerous convenience feature including zoned automatic climate controls; a full suite of power accessories; a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with automatic tilt-away; a Lexus memory system for the seats, steering wheel and side mirrors; rear air-conditiong vents located on the back of the center console and a Bose 5.1 audio system with surround sound and 12 speakers. That system also includes advanced audio recognition, an AM / FM /6-disc CD changer with WMA / MP3 capability, digital signal processing and text to speech SMS. SiriusXM satellite radio is fully intregrated and includes a 90-day complimentary subscription plan.
Options and Notables
You can upgrade your 2013 Lexus GS 450h by ordering a Lexus HDD Navigation System that features a 12.3-inch screen with high resoultion. Also available is a Mark Levinson Premium surround sound audio system with 17 speakers and a luxury package that brings in semi-aniline leather seating, multi-contour 18-way power front driver seats, rear manual side sun shades, wood embellishments and 18-inch 9-spoke wheels.
Like all Lexus models, the GS 450h comes well equipped with many safety features including active front head restraints; driver and front passenger knee airbags; and front, front seat mounted side airbags and side curtain airbags. This model also comes with four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, traction control and stability control. Daytime running lamps, a tire pressure monitoring system and seatbelt pretensioners are included. You can also order a blind spot monitor, a head up display, intuititive park assist, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and a pre-collision system.
The GS 450h offers 13.2 cubic feet of storage space. A trunk pass through from the rear seat extends your storage accordingly.