Review and Test Drive: 2017 Lexus GS 450h Sedan

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DRIVING THE 2017 LEXUS GS 450H

The GS 450h invites the driver in with the refinement Lexus has carved out a reputation for. The current GS 450h features a recently updated 3.5-liter V-6 with Toyota’s D-4S direct and port injection system paired to an electric motor. Together they develop 338 horsepower and drive the wheels via a CVT.

Once underway, the powertrain impresses with a composed and smooth ride and, for a car equipped with a CVT transmission, the GS 450h has an uncanny ability for overtaking on the highway.

What also impresses is Lexus’ integration of driver assistance features. They work together in seeming harmony, from blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, pre-collision with pedestrian detection (we didn’t test this but it didn’t generate any false alarms), radar cruise control that is legitimately stop-and-go, bringing the vehicle to a complete stop and resuming speed with a quick tap of the accelerator pedal. Also in this symphony of driver assistance technologies were intelligent high beam headlights, and lane departure warning with automatic steering correction keeping the car in lane.

The driver’s (and passenger’s) 10-way power seats are infinitely adjustable and reports from the rear indicated that two adults could indeed not only survive but flourish back there.

In my week with the GS 450h, driving largely in the New York metro area with a 50-50 combination of highway and urban driving, I averaged 30.5 mpg (7.7 l/100 km), close to the EPA combined estimate. With zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) acceleration in 5.6 seconds, don’t expect the fuel economy of a plug-in hybrid like the BMW 330e or the Audi A3 e-tron but rest assured it does outperform its non-hybrid GS kinfolk nicely.

BOTTOM LINE

Well-rounded. That just about sums up everyone’s comments here about the Lexus GS 450h, which marries efficiency with fun, competent handling, and an extremely well-appointed interior. Quiet and understated, it doesn’t scream hybrid and it doesn’t scream luxury. Perhaps its buyers simply don’t want it to.

THE DETAILS

  2017 Lexus GS 450h
Base price/price-as-tested $63,635/$67,965
Drivetrain Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 3.5-liter V6 with electric drive motor
Horsepower/Torque (total) 338 / TBD
Transmission CVT
Curb weight (lbs) 4,112
Wheelbase (inches) 112.2
Length x width x height (inches) 192.1 x 72.4 x 57.3
0-60 mph (seconds) (est.) 5.6
Fuel economy (mpg) (city/hwy) 29/34

 

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

 

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