As its lower-case "h" indicates, the 2008 Lexus GS 450h Base trim comes equipped with the Lexus Hybrid Drive, which consists of a high-output electric-drive motor combined with a 297-horsepower, 3.5-liter gas-powered V6 engine. At speeds up to 15 miles per hour, the GS 450h runs silently on the electric motor. Beyond that, the gas engine kicks in, driving the car from 0 to 60 in just over 5 seconds.
The hybrid engine links to an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT), which efficiently manages the electric and gas power components, ensuring smooth acceleration and peak operation.
Thanks to its hybrid engine, the rear-wheel-drive GS 450h manages 22 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway, according to Lexus. That's not spectacular when compared to other hybrids, but quite respectable for a luxury sedan.
The GS 450h offers plenty of luxury appointments, including a choice of interior wood trim (depending on the interior color), leather-trimmed seats, heated and ventilated front seats, push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a moonroof, dual climate control, and a power rear sunshade.
Other features include performance brakes, adaptive variable suspension, regenerative braking (which recharges the battery when the brakes are applied), antilock brakes with brake assist, 10 airbags, and run-flat tires.
A Lexus 10-speaker Premium Sound System with an in-dash, six-disc CD changer comes standard, while a 14-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System with a six-disc DVD/CD changer can be ordered as an option.
The GS 450h gets high marks from drivers and reviewers for its performance, fuel-efficient engine, safety features, and luxury appointments, though some note that legroom and headroom can be tight for taller passengers.