I’ve driven a Lexus before, I know to expect the trademark luxury, refinement, comfort and the executive feel but the Lexus GS450h F-Sport is so much more… It’s a hybrid that’s super fast.
Lexus’ new baby is a hybrid car and the first of its kind I’d ever driven. It made for a good start. In one moment I could pose as a tough businessman who’s made it and has a howling V6 rear wheel drive executive sports saloon to prove it. In the next moment, and at the push of a button, I could be the world-peace advocate who hugs trees.
The car has four driving modes. EV mode is when only the battery is being used. The battery has to be sufficiently charged and this mode is ideal for driving at low speeds. It’s eerily silent but highly entertaining when you sneak up on people before honking. ECO mode is when the car is powered by a combination of the electric motor and the engine. It delivers decent performance with reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Sport and Sport+ modes transform the car’s throttle response and handling to give you a sharpened, engaging and, dare I say it, a fast car to drive.
The GS450h is driven by a V6 petrol engine that delivers 213kW of power but it also features an electric motor that is capable of delivering 147kW of power. However, don’t add these figures together to work out the combined power because it isn’t 360kW. These systems work seamlessly together to deliver a combined output of 252kW of power and that is all carried to the road through a CVT gearbox.
Hybrid cars are not new to the market and they are clearly becoming more popular as consumers look for a cleaner, greener drive. BMW has recently released its hybrid models and the 5 Series ActiveHybrid is in direct competition to the Lexus GS450h. BMW claims 6.7l/100km and Lexus claim 6.2l/100km, both of which are fantastic consumption figures for cars of this size. I managed to average an 8.8l/100km and that was on the combined cycle.
Let’s not forget that we are talking about a luxury sedan capable of seating five adults in a contemporary cabin with an oh-so-crisp Mark Levinson sound system. I particularly liked the simplified facia design that has been made possible by Lexus incorporating a huge multimedia unit into the dashboard. The 12.3-inch display is one of the best on the market and carries a lot of information, should you want it. Lexus has made use of a “mouse” type controller for the multimedia display and though it is placed in an easily reachable spot it isn’t user-friendly, especially when driving on uneven surfaces. The idea is good, but the system is way too sensitive and can be quite annoying.
Further experience of the interior of this car makes you realize the levels of craftsmanship and detail surrounding you. The electric-powered seats feature heating and cooling and has technology to only feed air to the seats that are actually occupied. (These guys take energy-saving seriously). I had no issues of space in the front and rear and the boot space has not been compromised even with the battery packs being packed in there.
It’s a car that will turn heads. Looking at it, you’ll appreciate the new wave of Lexus design. The angular “spindle” grille is apparent on all new Lexus models and not counting the LFA hypercar, the design suits this car best. It’s a good looking car with some aggression and some sophistication thrown in.
You’ll also notice the Lexus logo on the front and rear of the car is surrounded by a blue hue. The color indicates the hybrid version of the car. The F-sport version that I drove also wore 19” charcoal alloys that gave it a unique presence especially as the car I test drove was black.
Choosing a Lexus GS450h F-Sport would be an easy choice for me if I was in the market for this level of car. At $88,400 it’s competitively priced especially considering the fuel-saving and emissions saving this car offers. You do have the choice of diesel alternatives from other brands, but this car does everything you may need a diesel car for. Fuel-saving? check. Reduced emissions? Check. Entertaining drive? Check. It arguably has the last word in refinement, luxury and comfort too. It looks classy but has a flair of sportiness. The drive is whatever you want it to be—civilized should you choose, or tail-wagging fun. And isn’t that what technology should be about? Giving you power and freedom to choose when you’ll use that power. This car gives you everything; you just decide how and when let it really roar.
Recent research showed that South Africans are not in love with the Lexus brand as much as they are with the likes of VW; Audi; Mercedes Benz and BMW. A few months ago, I possibly would have been in that group of South Africans, but now, I am a big fan of the brand because I’ve had a taste of luxury as Lex