2010 Lexus GS 450h Road Test Review

Arv Voss - CAP staff
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As it enters its third model year, the Lexus GS 450h remains the only hybrid-powered luxury sport sedan in the midsize luxury market segment, featuring advanced technology content, high performance capability and high end luxury appointments. 

The GS 450h is a full hybrid that is capable of operating in either gas-only or electric-only mode – or, a combination of both.  Power comes from a version of Lexus' Hybrid Drive System that, in this iteration, combines a 3.5-litre V6 with electric drive propulsion.  The hybrid system powertrain collectively produces 340 horsepower from the gas engine and two motor/generators.  The first motor/generator is a permanent magnet, water-cooled unit that serves as primary generator and engine starter, while also controlling engine speed.  The second motor/generator is also a permanent magnet, water-cooled motor with a maximum voltage of 650V (DC) and maximum output of 197 hp (147 kilowatts) that drives the rear wheels and provides regenerative braking. 

The battery pack is a sealed Nickel Metal Hydride unit with 240 cells (6 cells x 40 modules) in a nickel-plated metal container with a nominal voltage of 288V, which can be boosted to 650 volts with the power circuit delivering a power output of 35 kilowatts.  The V6 is one of Lexus' new generation engines that incorporates an electronic throttle control system along with a dual fuel injection system that blends the benefits of both direct injection and port injection. 

Power is geared to the rear drive wheels by an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with a three-stage torque multiplication: Normal, Power and Snow modes. 

The GS 450h features double-wishbone front and multilink rear suspension and unlike the GS 460 gas powered models, is equipped with standard Adaptive Variable Suspension – a driver-selectable shock absorber damping system.  The GS 450h rides on unique 18x8-inch alloy wheels, shod with 245/40 R18 Z-rated tires as standard, while all-season run-flat ties are optionally available.  An Active Power Stabilizer is also available. 

Handling and stability are enhanced by active and passive safety equipment that makes up a large part of the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system.  The system integrates the benefits of electric power steering, variable gear ratio steering, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, stability control, adaptive front lighting, and traction control. 

The latest in available advanced safety systems abound in the GS 450h, including the optional Pre-Collision System and Intuitive Park Assist.

Exterior styling displays the Lexus brand's "L-finesse" design language.  The long, sloping hood, rear-set cabin, and short rear deck blend to serve up an athletic stance exhibiting smooth lines in a simple yet elegant form.  Moving to the inside, premium polished wood trim accents appear on the steering wheel, centre console and all four doors in a variety of wood examples. 

My test Lexus GS 450h came with a base price of $71,900 and an exterior finish in Matador Red Mica, complemented by a Parchment leather interior and Red Walnut wood trim.  There are no options.  Even the Mark Levinson audio and navigation system are standard, and that standard equipment and feature inventory is an impressive and lengthy one – too long to list here. 

The 2010 Lexus GS 450h is a most impressive luxury sport sedan with hybrid technology added as a major plus.  The fuel economy, despite its full hybrid status is nothing to do cartwheels over however, at 8.7L/100km city, 7.8 highway and 8.2 combined, but then again these numbers are better than all rivals and keep in mind that the GS 450h uses its hybrid system for performance, first and foremost. 

Acceleration is instantaneous and the adjustable damping should prove capable of pleasing both the performance oriented driver, and the driver seeking a more luxurious ride.  The ECVT transmission is seamless when set in normal mode, and exceptionally smooth in its pseudo-manual mode. 

It will undoubtedly take an extended familiarization period to master all that the GS 450h has to offer in terms of its technology.  Not everything is completely intuitive. 

Several exclusive design features, including the grille, clear taillamp covers and 18-inch alloy wheels have been updated and unique badging appears distinguishing the GS 450h from the gas-powered GS 350 and GS 460. 

All Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/80,000-km basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months with unlimited km.  Hybrid related componentry including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module, and inverter with converter receive coverage for eight years/160,000 km.  Coverage is also in place for the powertrain, restraint system and for corrosion protection. 

All in all, the GS 450h is one fine automobile, if not the ultimate in economy and affordability.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, Hybrid, HEV, Lexus, 2010, GS 450h, $50,000 - $74,999,

Organizations: Lexus

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