Blog: Dave LeggettLexus GS450h

Dave Leggett | 16 May 2006

I've 24 hours in southern Spain from tomorrow looking at, hearing about and driving the new Lexus GS450h - h is for hybrid. At first sight, it strikes me the model is positioned in an interesting way: you can have performance with green credentials; have your cake and eat it, as it were.

But I'm not sure that the green thing is all that significant now; it serves more as a technological differentiator for a premium marque. All the Lexus hybrid variants are well specced up and top-of-the-range.

In the RWD (a hybrid first) GS450h there's a 3.5-litre V6 mated to an electric motor that gets you from 0-60mph in under 6 seconds. Lexus claims it is equivalent to a 4.5-litre V8 with more than 300 hp. And, if you are interested, there's fuel consumption along the lines of a typical 2-litre 4-cylinder engine. Saves gas and hauls ass. But it is far removed from a Toyota Prius and Lexus is clearly pitching GS450h to people attracted to the performance in the first instance.

Something I have just read suggests that Lexus sees a selling point also on fuel filling-up time: one trip to the petrol station a week rather than two. Time is money and all that.

Not a car for saving the planet perhaps (ask Dave Cameron). And maybe the main point is to sell more Lexuses rather than sell more hybrids.


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