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GS450h F-Sport : The Best Hybrid Toyota Won't Sell You

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Old 09-01-13, 01:47 AM   #1
natnut
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Default GS450h F-Sport : The Best Hybrid Toyota Won't Sell You

Lexus GS450h F-SPORT: The best hybrid Toyota won’t sell you
Chris Davies, Aug 31st 2013


Toyota‘s best-selling hybrid car is the Prius; it’s best hybrid car period could well be the Lexus GS450h F-SPORT. While Toyota hybrids have capitalized on the earth-friendly, fuel-sipping potential of models like the Prius, over in the Lexus stable the addition of electric has been with more driver-friendly enhancement in mind, emphasizing the marque’s legendary smooth drive with the lashings of quiet torque the technology can deliver.

None represents that green madness better than the GS450h F SPORT, and so unsurprisingly we jumped at the opportunity to test out a car that had been specially shipped over to show us what the US is missing.



The GS has evolved into a handsome car from its somewhat anonymous starting point as an almost-LS, and it looks better still in F Sport form. Lexus’ new spindle grill still keeps its upper chrome, but the gaping lower intake is clear of glitz and the grey-finish aero work around the lower spoiler and rear diffuser keeps things on the discrete side of aggressive. Of course, the special F SPORT 19-inch alloy wheels with their smoked 10-spoke design mean the car is unlikely to be mistaken for its regular “Luxury” form, and there’s F Sport badging on the front wings, though not the trunk lid.



Inside, meanwhile, the GS450h F-SPORT cabin wisely bypasses Lexus’ tendency toward pale wood, option instead for – in the case of our test car – red leather sports seats, aluminum inserts in the dash and door trim, and perforated black leather on the wheel and shifter ****. The F SPORT logo makes another appearance on the scuff-plates front and rear, and there are pleasingly snicky little paddles behind the wheel for when you don’t want to let the CVT gearbox do its thing automatically.



As you might expect, the standard equipment level isn’t at all bad, though we’d be unable to resist ditching the 12-speaker DVD audio system with 8-inch display and navigation that comes by default, in favor of the incredible 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Sound system with its 835W of amplification and huge, bright, and engaging 12.3-inch widescreen display. Lexus has made big improvements in its infotainment system, though we’re still not entirely convinced by the company’s angle on the mouse-analog. The controller, down to the side of the gear shifter, feels like it should be a regular joystick but, rather than springing back to a center default position, actually notches left and right as you step through the menu layers.



Still, F SPORT drivers are probably more concerned with a different type of electronics – the car’s hybrid drive system – and here we have no complaints. Lexus pairs a 3.5-liter V6 with Dual VVT-i with a 200kW electric motor that muster 352 Nm and 275 Nm of torque respectively, with a potential top speed electrically limited to 155 mph and a 0-62 mph time of 5.9s.

Up until around 25 mph, the GS450h F SPORT can rely solely on electric power, complete with the instantaneous surge of immediate torque that such motors are notorious for. After that, the gas engine kicks in with rumble, recharging the batteries when it has some power to spare, or simply throwing the car in the direction of the nearest corner.



Those corners needn’t be an issue, either. The regular GS450h added rear-wheel steering to the original car, and the F SPORT hooks together that system with variable gear ration steering and more intelligent response from the electric power steering. Sport+ mode makes the gas pedal response more crisp, the power steering more direct, and tightens up the rear-wheel steering and the car’s dampers



The result is faster turn-in and the overall feel of a much smaller, more aggressive car. In fact, it’s easy to mistake the GS450h F SPORT for a compact sedan, and while the steering is still on the lighter side, all the power feels controllable. It’s much more engaging using the paddles to manually flip through the CVT’s virtual gears, we found.



Of course, since this is a Lexus, there’s the expected nod to comfort. The steering wheel eagerly motors out to meet you when you sit down and start the engine, and the front seats are electrically adjustable in multiple directions (16 ways for the driver, 10 for the passenger) including lumbar support. The rear seats may be fixed – none of the airline-style ottoman seating of the LS600hL, for instance – but passengers back there still get an electric rear sun blind, and the car is more than comfortable for four adults.



In fact, twirl the driving mode dial over to EV, Eco, or Normal, and the GS450h carefully sets its F SPORT abilities to one side and becomes a comfortable cruiser, easily capable of the sort of magnetically-smooth highway surfing the company’s cars are legendary for. Then, Lexus claims, you could see a combined mpg of around 38 miles per gallon; there are no official US figures, as the car has not been submitted for EPA testing.



That’s because Toyota, in its (questionable) wisdom, has opted not to launch the GS450h F SPORT in the US market. Lexus hybrid sedan fans will be able to buy the regular GS450h, but not its more fiery variant. That, the company told us was down to Toyota of America deciding the F SPORT premium was something US drivers simply wouldn’t pay, though Toyota Japan offered to supply both the GS450h F SPORT and the smaller IS300h, which also won’t get a US release.



What exactly might that premium be? In the UK, where the F SPORT model is already on sale, it commands roughly 14-percent more than the regular model, which based on US pricing could put it at around the $70,000 mark were Lexus ever to offer it. That’s undoubtedly expensive, but we can’t help feel short-changed nonetheless.

Lexus GS450h F SPORT test-drive:



LINK : http://www.slashgear.com/lexus-gs450...-you-31295574/
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Old 09-01-13, 06:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by natnut View Post
Lexus GS450h F-SPORT: The best hybrid Toyota won’t sell you
Chris Davies, Aug 31st 2013


Toyota‘s best-selling hybrid car is the Prius; it’s best hybrid car period could well be the Lexus GS450h F-SPORT. While Toyota hybrids have capitalized on the earth-friendly, fuel-sipping potential of models like the Prius, over in the Lexus stable the addition of electric has been with more driver-friendly enhancement in mind, emphasizing the marque’s legendary smooth drive with the lashings of quiet torque the technology can deliver.

None represents that green madness better than the GS450h F SPORT, and so unsurprisingly we jumped at the opportunity to test out a car that had been specially shipped over to show us what the US is missing.
Great review, this all made me sad that they didn't offer this to the US market as I really wanted one.
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Old 09-01-13, 07:16 AM   #3
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Glowing review. My car has everything it does except try hybrid tech. So mine is faster and has as mic as the hybrid. One to point out is the tire choice. Michelin Pllot Super Sport tires. Just what I had installed on mine. So even Lexus knows its better than those crapstones.
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Old 09-01-13, 07:17 AM   #4
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I too would have wanted one UNTIL I saw the price of 70K. But I do also own a Prius.

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Old 09-01-13, 07:37 AM   #5
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I too want the option of sport & hybrid
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Old 09-01-13, 07:59 AM   #6
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No interest in the GSh for me.
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Old 09-07-13, 08:27 PM   #7
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I haven't test driven the GS450h in F Sport, but I have driven the normal luxo model in the past.
The old 3GS450h had instant response, and genuinely flat torque curve was great, but one could not fit a suit case in the boot, and the ride on 18" was too bumpy.

The new 4GS450h is just a wonderful car; absolutely wonderful.
The boot is now virtually full size.
The ride is now majestic!
The instant throttle response, and the genuinely flat torque curve puts the BMW 3.0 in-line six twin turbo to shame.
Personally, I can't stand the turbo lag, and the peaky rise and fall of the torque curve on the BMW 3.0 turbo six; I'm sure others would disagree with me here.

The 4GS450h is so isolated from the engine and road on cruising - a true luxury car.

On the negative side, I could feel the additional weight of the hybrid in the straight line, and around corners.

Once again, horses for courses.
If you want the ultimate luxo cruiser, get the hybrid.
If you really wanna throw the car around, and don't mind forfeiting some bottom end punch, then get the GS350.
If you wanna really really throw the car around, get the 3IS250 with a nice light nose behind the front axle...

Last edited by peteharvey; 09-07-13 at 08:44 PM.
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