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2013 Lexus GS 450h Overview
A sporty hybrid luxury car? Lexus seems to think it has it all with the unveiling of its 2013
GS 450h. Engineers went back to the drawing boards to deliver a luxury sedan with some oomf—without too much ouch at the pump. It replaces its V8 GS with this vehicle.
Inside and outside, it looks very similar to the GS 350. (Truth be told, it doesn’t look all that different from last model year’s 450h, either.) While it may be generally pleasing overall, the lack of design innovation gives it less distinction than a luxury brand should have. (Lexus estimates less than 10 percent of GS sales will be this model, so one could say it's just being economical with energies spent.)
Under the hood is where the real difference can be seen. The 3.5-liter V6 has a refigured compression rate and has been changed to an Akinson Cycle of combustion, which keeps the intake valves open longer, helping to deliver a 30% increase in mileage over last year’s model. Since it is a hybrid, there are two electric motors on board, delivering power to the rear wheels via a continuously variable transmission (The 450h can run electric-only, gas-only or a combination of the two.) All in all, the combined power of the engines is 338 hp, slightly less than last year’s version. Toyota estimates 29 mpg city/34 highway—finally delivering some results for all that promised green technology.
And since it is going for a livelier ride, the 2013 GS 450h offers two sport modes. Sport or Sport Plus can be selected via a knob, and these modes tighten the chassis and steering and give the throttle a boost. (Two adjacent buttons control EV and Snow modes.) Although it’s slightly heavier than the regular GS, the 450h still does have plenty of gusto, especially in one of the Sport modes. But when it comes to braking, it still has that hybrid feel. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard, with 18-inchers optional.
Interior features will include 8-inch multimedia display, a bamboo-accented steering wheel, USB and Bluetooth, and a backup camera. A Premium Package adds rain-sensing wipers and heated/vented front seats. The Luxury Package includes Premium features as well as high-gloss wood, adaptive front lighting, an adaptive vehicle suspension and a premium leather interior. A massive 12.3-inch touchscreen controlled by a mouse-like device is optional, which can integrate with the apps on your smartphone.
This 4th generation hybrid GS is a move in the right direction: a luxury car with some kick that delivers hybrid mileage.
by Stephen Moramarco
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