Although luxury hybrids are about more than just efficiency, the midsize GS 450h tries hard not to disappoint buyers who expect high mileage from any hybrid, no matter how many other virtues it presents. We think even those eco-conscious folks will agree that the 450h does justice to the original intent of hybrid power.
What's New For 2015
The 450h gets revised infotainment controls, and the F Sport package debuts.
Choosing Your Lexus GS 450h
The GS 450h is neither a performance hybrid nor a miser. With a zero-to-60 mph time of 6 seconds flat and a rating of 31 mpg in combined driving, it's an incredibly balanced example of a mainstream luxury sedan. The 3.5-liter V6 and a pair of electric motors produce a total 338 horsepower. Also aboard is a nickel-metal hydride battery pack mounted in the trunk area. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The GS 450h features an adaptive suspension system and selectable driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus). New this year are standard 18-inch wheels.
The interior gets leather upholstery, ventilated and heated front seats with driver memory, keyless ignition, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, and a 12-speaker surround-sound system with a six-CD changer and satellite and HD radio. Other standard fare includes automatic wipers, a sunroof, LED exterior lighting, heated auto-dimming mirrors, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth phone and audio. You also get additional smartphone apps this year and a friendlier infotainment control interface. A navigation system can be added separately.
The Luxury package adds upgraded leather upholstery, wood interior trim, LED fog lights and adaptive headlights. Rear passengers are treated to climate and audio controls, manual sunshades and (optional) heated rear seats. The F Sport version of the GS 450h gets 19-inch wheels, a more aggressive suspension, larger front brakes and sportier trim throughout. Perforated leather front sport seats are also included.
A number of safety tech features are available on an individual basis, including lane departure alert and assist, blind spot monitoring, a head-up display, an automated parallel parking system and adaptive cruise control. A power trunk opener and 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system are also available.
Like other luxury hybrids, the GS 450h carries more standard equipment than its conventional counterparts. The Luxury package is nice, but not really essential. Ditto for the F Sport treatment, which doesn't have an appreciable impact on performance. We would spend our options budget on the safety tech features, which you can add as you like.