The Lexus GS is the fourth generation of the mid-size sport-luxury sedan and is all-new for the 2013 model year. This week we’ll be testing the substantially revised GS 450h hybrid variant that is the fastest and most fuel-efficient in the GS range. The new GS GS 450h is sporty and can be considered a true sport sedan as all Lexus GS models are rear-wheel drive. The GS range is designed for driving enthusiasts looking for more than just a luxury ride. The GS 450h hybrid offers the best of both worlds and is quick and economical.
Akio Toyoda is a new kind of CEO at Toyota and is bringing a new feel and attitude to the Lexus brand. We are seeing new sporty models, and the Lexus GS is a good example of the changes that are coming to Toyota’s luxury brand. The 2013 GS features a drivetrain that is an updated version of the third generation, while the majority of the 2013 Lexus GS represents wholesale change.
The most improvement is seen in the rear seats
It starts on the inside with the GS 450h cabin featuring all the luxury you would expect from Lexus. It comes with the traditional luxuries of quality materials, excellent fit and finish and full power accessories that are complemented by the latest electronics and communications. This tester came with the optional Luxury Package ($5,645) that features the best-in-class heated front seats, and heated rear-seats with space that has grown considerably over the previous generation model. The rear seats see the most improvement with more head and leg room than ever for taller passengers.
The Luxury Package upgrades with semi-aniline leather upholstery, espresso woodwork, wood/leather steering wheel, 18-way power front seats, three-person passenger memory, rear audio/climate controls, rear side sun shades (manual), adaptive headlights, adaptive variable suspension and 18-inch wheels. The Lexus GS 450h cabin is inviting, stylish and has a decidedly premium feel. It features real wood on the dash, doors, console and the steering wheel too.
Not only fast but green
Toyota has been an industry leader in their hybrid technology, and it shows up in a big way in the 2013 GS 450h. The new 450h hybrid brings 338 horsepower and is quick and is a driver’s car. If you consider the drive half the fun of getting there, the rear-wheel drive GS 450h is your kind of car. Hybrid technology is here to stay and the electric motor can give a boost in power to any internal combustion engine, either gas or diesel.
The 2013 GS 450h model uses a 286-horsepower version of the 3.5-liter V6 coupled to a dual electric motor and transmission unit for an impressive output of 338 horsepower. The GS 450h is rear-wheel drive only and has impressive power and performance. Thanks primarily to new electronic technology, the hybrid is a tenth quicker than the GS 350. That may not sound like much, but it translates to a fun driving experience on the road. It’s not only fast, but it’s the greenest Lexus GS.
Quicker than the Lexus GS Sport variant
It has excellent acceleration, and it’s also the most fuel-efficient GS. The GS 450h is up from 22/25 on the old version and the new 450h gets an EPA estimated 29/34 city/highway mpg. In the week of driving, the 450h had plenty of power traveling up I-70 at altitude and was more than responsive in passing situations on the highway.
The hybrid feels like a sport sedan and is even quicker than the Lexus GS Sport variant that is supposed to be the performance version. We may be seeing a new trend in performance vehicles in the future that will feature gas engines combined with electric propulsion for an extra boost in power. Lexus is on the leading edge of this green, clean and fast technology.
The driver gets a feel for what Lexus has in mind for the GS 450h with the six-speed automatic that has been revised for 2013 for quicker shifting. The steering wheel paddle shifters give it away and the driver realizes the manual changes though electronics are all about performance. Shifts are seamless and well-timed and provides a fun driving experience.
Updated AVS sport suspension
This GS model also comes with AVS adjustable dampers that stiffen the shocks for better control on winding, undulating roads and high speeds. The new system has a firmer ride and keeps the 450h fat in the corners with very little body roll. And the luxury car felt extremely stable at high speeds in the mountains west of Denver. The Drive Mode Select gives the driver the ability to get a firmer ride in Sport (or Sport+) and also get higher engine revs and shift points.
Overall, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h is a drivers car and anyone looking for a performance luxury sedan will not be disappointed. It offers precisely what you’d expect from a Lexus sports sedan. It comes with a well-appointed luxury cabin, hallmark quietude, the latest technology and more aggressive tuning. And if you want excellent fuel mileage, that is the icing on the cake with the 450h hybrid technology.