The centrepiece of Lexus's stand at this year's Frankfurt motor show will be the hybrid GS450h luxury sedan, making its European show debut ahead of going on sale next year.

The 450h is the second Lexus production model to feature hybrid drive technology, following the launch of the RX400h premium SUV earlier this year. It combines a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with a high-output electric motor for maximum power output in excess of 300bhp, sufficient to move the car from rest to 62mph in less than six seconds.

At the same time, the high efficiency of the hybrid system means that fuel consumption and carbon dioxide exhaust emissions levels are claimed to be comparable with those from saloons with conventional four-cylinder, two-litre petrol engines.

Lexus will also show a so-called 'new generation' SC430 coupe-cabriolet at Frankfurt, extensively remodelled for 2006. The revisions include styling changes, improvements to the interior and a higher specification with the introduction of adaptive front lighting system (AFS). AFS, already available on RX, GS and LS models, swivels the headlamp beams in line with the vehicle's speed and steering angle to provide better illumination through bends.

The 2006 model goes on sale throughout Europe in November.

The second generation IS saloon line is likely to attract considerable attention at Frankfurt - not least from rival automakers (tape measures in hand) - ahead of its launch at the end of the year.

It is first Lexus to get a diesel engine, though only a four-cylinder common rail unit producing 175bhp and 400Nm of torque, and claimed to be the most powerful in its displacement class.

The new IS will also have an advanced package of safety systems, including 10 airbags and is claimed to be the first car in the world with a twin-chamber front passenger airbag, enabling greater protection to the neck and shoulders in an impact. Adaptive cruise control (ACC) with pre-crash safety will also be available.

Other features include a Mark Levinson 10-channel, 14-speaker 300W surround system for 5.1 home theatre DVD entertainment, controlled through the navigation screen on the centre console.

Lexus will also show the LF-A supercar concept, its fourth design study developing the so-called "new L-finesse styling principles". The LF-A is said to combine the luxury and refinement of a Lexus with the power and driving dynamics of a high performance two-seater supercar.

The LF-A's engine produces more than 500bhp, yet has a displacement of less than five litres. The vehicle also has an exceptionally compact design, with very short front and rear overhangs, and a "perfect" front to rear weight balance, essential to achieving the best possible high speed handling and stability.

 

 

 

 

 

Lexus GS450h dash
Lexus GS450h hybrid
IS sedan's optional DVD player
Lexus' first diesel - the  IS250