2015 Lexus GS 450h Review

GS 450h

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2015 Lexus GS 450h Overview

Lexus, since 2007, has had a pretty nifty hybrid screamer out there with its GS 450h midsize luxury performance sedan. For 2015, the Japanese automaker (and Toyota subsidiary) adds an available F Sport sub-trim to the already capable Base trim, thereby upping the performance factor even further, while pampering up to 5 passengers with a few added bells and whistles. The F Sport variation, introduced in the non-hybrid GS 350 a couple of years ago, adds a bunch of upgraded suspension components in the hybrid edition, as well as some unique styling tweaks inside and out and a few extra techno-goodies. A brand new split-screen infotainment system with a 12.3-inch monitor boasting iHeart, Pandora and Slacker radio also can be delivered as an option in both the Base GS 450h and its F Sport sub-trim.

Also new for the upcoming model year are the 18-inch alloy wheels that come standard aboard the Base trim, while up-styled 19-inch alloy wheels adorn the F Sport iteration.

Of course, the 2015 GS 450h in either iteration is delivered with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD), but for those expecting to commute in wintry weather, both can be equipped with available all-wheel drive (AWD) to meet traction challenges.

Power-wise, in a flip-flop of traditional performance factors, the GS 450h’s combination of a 3.5-liter hybrid V6 gasoline engine and a pair of 650-volt DC electric motors actually puts out significantly more power than does its GS 350 sibling’s non-hybrid V6. An electronic continuously variable transmission (ECVT) manages the gas/electric powerplant to the tune of 338 total horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, look for driver-selectable Normal, Eco, Sport/Sport + and EV modes to adjust throttle response and shift points to suit your mood of the moment.

Meantime, regenerative braking helps the V6 juice up the sealed nickel-metal hydride battery, while the ability to run for short distances on electric power alone (EV mode) results in mileage numbers running 32 mpg city/28 highway in standard RWD trims and 30/28 in AWD-equipped versions.

Standard appearance features for the Base GS 450h include those new 18-inch alloy wheels as well as the return of a power sunroof and heated, reverse-tilt and power-adjustable mirrors.

Inside, look for the Base trim to sport leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, full power accessories, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Bluetooth-interfaced Enform directions and connections technology, with an 8.5-inch screen, Remote Touch and Siri Eyes-Free voice-recognition gear, also returns for 2015, as do a heated steering wheel, memory for driver's settings, a remote garage door opener, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a rear-view camera and dual-zone auto climate control. Of course, all of this is embraced by wood, leather and simulated alloy cabin accents.

Tech-wise, expect the standard CD/DVD player to return in 2015, again featuring 12 speakers, satellite radio, a video monitor and an auxiliary audio input (USB connections).

The debuting GS 450h F Sport sub-trim, meanwhile, adds an adaptable sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, upgraded leather upholstery and accent materials, a rear spoiler and larger brakes to all of the above.

Alas, hybrid tradition once again dictates that the rear-mounted battery pack in the GS 450h cuts trunk space from the standard 14.1 cubic feet in the non-hybrid GS 350 to a still-okay 13.2 cubes in the gas/electric version.

Options include a hard-drive-based navigation system that’s now complemented by the abovementioned upgraded split-screen capability in the 12.3-inch touchscreen.

Further noteworthy available add-ons in either package or standalone form include a Mark Levinson 17-speaker Surround Sound audio upgrade, as well as Intuitive Parking Assist, a cold weather package, enhanced Enform infotainment with Smartphone apps, a head-up display and rear-seat DVD entertainment.

Finally, standard safety features aboard the 2015 GS 450h include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), front and rear side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, daytime running lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors and front fog/driving lights. Additionally, self-leveling high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights and Enform emergency telematics also come standard, as do a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm. Available safety equipment, meantime, includes a blind-spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking support, lane-keeping assistance and an upgraded antitheft system with glass-breakage sensors.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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