Lexus Gs 450h

By: Joe Ratzkin

Environmental care for most people means driving a Toyota Prius.

But now, at the forefront of hybrid technology, Lexus brings the GS 450h - the world's first high performance hybrid saloon. Lexus is the luxury division of Toyota, which brought the car industry saying "oh!" into the 21st Century with the noble Prius.

The Lexus GS 450h is a big car that has a conventional 3.5-litre, V6 petrol engine delivering 292bhp which is supplemented by an electric motor powered by a battery pack in the boot, which adds another 197bhp.

The GS 450h can run for just 2km in electric mode only. But the petrol engine gives the car a chance to recharge its batteries through regenerative braking. Other neat touches include the engine shutting off and then restarting when it is time to pull away at traffic lights. This is a car full of creative tricks.

The actual total output from the two power plants is 335bhp when working in combination, which is enough to propel the GS 450h to 62mph in 5.9s and on to an electronically limited top end speed of 155mph.

For a more customized car, can be added to this big one.

Acceleration is completely gives you less effort for the engine is so quiet and smooth, even under hard acceleration and with a seamless CVT automatic gearbox. This car assures no rough noises, or squirming torque-steer, or roars to the red line.

The car runs quick and everything is finger light, thereby giving relaxed ride and relatively few sporting pretensions.

The adaptive variable suspension has a Sport setting, which also minimizes the steering ratio. The gearbox have a sequential-shift mode, with six pre-set gears; but somehow, using these, given the beyond adequate response in the normal settings, is hardly necessary.

The GS 450h claims that it is a mighty impressive car when judged against the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class and Audi's A6. That is a tough competition, but there is no other place for the elegant Lexus and the pure petrol-powered 460 that won the World Car of the Year Award.

As regards styling, the Japanese brand has combined the huge interior space of a big Mercedes with a sloping, near coupe-style roofline to come up with a shape that belies the car's iconic five-meter length. Lexus might not quite compete with what the finest cars Europe has to offer when it comes to looks, but the pay-off comes with their legendary build quality and reliability, as well as the ever so gentle sense of smugness.

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