The GS 450h is neither a strict performance hybrid nor a miser on fuel. With a swift 0-60 mph acceleration time of 5.6 seconds and an EPA rating of 31 mpg in combined city and highway driving, it's a carefully balanced example of a mainstream luxury sedan. More specifically, the GS 450h is estimated at 29 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg on the highway, versus no more than 20/28 mpg (city/highway) for a GS 350.
Working together, the 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine and a pair of electric motors produce total output of 338 horsepower. The gas engine itself develops 286 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. A nickel-metal hydride battery pack is mounted in the trunk area. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with two-stage torque multiplication, plus Power and Snow modes. Technical features include an adaptive variable suspension system and selectable shock-absorber damping.
Priced at $64,610 (destination charge included), the base-model GS 450h contains leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power front seats with driver memory, keyless entry with pushbutton start, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, and a 12-speaker surround-sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, and HD radio. The navigation system uses a 12.3-inch screen. Other standard fare includes automatic wipers, a sunroof, LED exterior lighting, heated auto-dimming power-folding mirrors, Bluetooth phone and audio, a padded instrument panel, laser-cut wood trim, and 18-inch five-spoke wheels.
The newly standard Lexus Safety System + includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane departure alert with steering assist. The backup camera includes dynamic gridlines. You also get vehicle-monitoring smartphone apps, as well as blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Only a handful of options are offered, including a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio, a parking-assist system, and a power trunk lid.
Considered a separate trim level priced at $69,655, the F Sport version of the GS 450h gets 19-inch split-spoke machined-finish wheels, an F Sport-tuned adaptive variable suspension with Sport S+ mode, larger front brakes, variable gear-ratio steering, aluminum pedals and interior trim, a black headliner, and sportier trim throughout. Up front, the grille gets a mesh insert. Dynamic Rear Steering also is included.
Like other luxury hybrids, the GS 450h contains more standard equipment than its conventional counterparts. Adding the F Sport option group will have no appreciable impact on performance, but should enhance handling because of its tauter suspension. Making the valuable features in the Safety System + standard adds value to the GS 450h, leaving few opportunities to spend more than the starting price.
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