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Lexus GS 450h

Lexus GS 350 interior
Lexus hopes to turnaround sales slump with new models

Toyota's Lexus division has been having a rough year. For starters, the product line is aging and lacks the visual "punch" of many of competitors from Germany. As a result, both BMW and Mercedes have surpassed perennial luxury sales leader Lexus this year in sales. Part of this can be attributed to the devastating earthquake in Japan that hampered production, but the loss of momentum can mainly be blamed on the lack of new blood for the brand.

After teasing the LF-Gh concept in April, Lexus last month unveiled the first in a multi-pronged attempt to claw back at the luxury market. The 2012 GS 350 rides on an all-new platform (the engines are mostly carryover), and features an impressive new interior. Today, Lexus has unveiled the hybrid counterpart to the GS 350: the GS 450h.

The second-generation GS450h gets its motivation from a 3.5-liter V6 engine (Atkinson Cycle) and a water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor. Total system output is 338hp and is good enough to push the 4,190-pound midsize luxury sedan to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. 

Interestingly, Toyota is still sticking with a NiMH battery pack for the GS 450h instead of lighter, and more powerful lithium-ion batteries like its competitors. Toyota is usually at the forefront of hybrid/battery technology, so we're assuming that the company decided to maximize cost cutting instead of maximum performance/efficiency.

“The all-new GS 450h will provide our customers with an exciting blend of performance and precision in a new hybrid package,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager in the U.S. “With its dynamic exterior styling, roomy interior and advanced technology features, the GS 450h further demonstrates Lexus’ mastery of the luxury hybrid.”

Lexus will not only be battling diesel and hybrid models from Germany with the 2012 GS 450h, but it will also be battling the M Hybrid which has total output of 360hp and EPA ratings of 27/32/29 (city/highway/combined). Lexus has not yet released EPA numbers for the new 2012 GS 450h, but the existing model is rated at 22/25/23 (city/highway/combined).

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Exponential rise in popularity?
By jtemplin on 9/12/2011 7:46:39 PM , Rating: 2
I can't remember the exact statistic but I recall Road and Track (or was it Car and Driver) calculating, based on sales in US and number of cars on the highway, the odds of ever seeing the original high end Lexus hybrid sedan as akin to winning the lottery.

I wonder if the current "green awareness" will lead to skyrocketing sales for this model?

RE: Exponential rise in popularity?
By MonkeyPaw on 9/12/2011 8:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
I find the green movement puzzling. Luxury Hybrids, 100 mile electrics, $20,000 solar panels on your house. I watched a TV series where a wealthy family bought a house, then tore it down to build a "Green" house. It cost way more, and the house that was there was just fine. People blow a fortune on these type of things, when these "green" things just might do more harm than the "polluting" item they are so superior to. what's the C-footprint of hybrid battery production? Solar panels might be nice until that first hail storm, and your investment is never recovered in real savings--try better windows, more insulation, and ceiling fans. Build a "green" house? Why not reuse all those houses that already exist, and just make them more energy efficient! Lots of them are built really well, out of trees that were cut down decades ago!

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being environmentally friendly--but you don't need to bankrupt yourself to save the planet. Anyone remember "reuse, reduce, recycle"? Something new isn't always the answer!

RE: Exponential rise in popularity?
By Spuke on 9/12/11, Rating: 0
RE: Exponential rise in popularity?
By therealnickdanger on 9/13/2011 8:35:34 AM , Rating: 2
My family has been in the home construction and remodeling business for about 50 years. Most homes built today won't last half as long as houses built decades ago. Between the cheaply made materials, cheap labor, and other cost-cutting measures, you'll be lucky if your new roof isn't leaking within 10 years.

Age isn't the issue, but rather neglect. I've seen brand new homes in the inner city torn down within just a couple years. Between people literally sh*tting in the walls or letting pipes burst and not reporting it, there's plenty of ways for new homes to be worse than homes 60 years old.

Speaking of which, my home was built in 1954 and it's tight like a drum. The only thing I had to do upon moving in was replace a couple of corroding steel drain pipes and run new electrical and CAT6. All the appliances are updated, but almost everything else is original and working fine. Good foundation, good materials, good build quality, good neighborhood, attentive previous owners.

Yes, a newer home may have an efficiency advantage, but I could probably point out plenty of new and old houses alike that leak like sieves.

It's just like cars in some respect. Sure, you could sell your perfectly running 1977 Honda CVCC for $500 to buy a new $25,000 Prius... but is 10MPG really worth it?

RE: Exponential rise in popularity?
By Spuke on 9/13/2011 10:13:02 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, a newer home may have an efficiency advantage, but I could probably point out plenty of new and old houses alike that leak like sieves.
Oh I agree 100%. That's why I used the word "crappy" next to typical track home in my post. New homes might be more energy efficient but they're still crappy. But I've seen enough older homes that were obviously not built to any code to know that blanket statements about older homes being better is not true either.

RE: Exponential rise in popularity?
By danjw1 on 9/13/2011 12:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
Most "Luxury" hybrids don't get all that great gas mileage, in the mid 20s mpg. The Lexus CT, HS and RX as well as the Lincoln MKZ are the only ones that are rated greater then 30mpg. So, most high end hybrid buyers are not really all that concerned with the environment. I think the only reason they buy hybrids, is because they feel like it is the 'in' thing to do.

RE: Exponential rise in popularity?
By GulWestfale on 9/12/2011 8:08:09 PM , Rating: 2
this incredibly boring and plain design is never going to sell well. i mean, just look at this:

what would you rather drive?

RE: Exponential rise in popularity?
By Spuke on 9/12/2011 8:33:35 PM , Rating: 5
Sorry but that looks like a tampon.

RE: Exponential rise in popularity?
By jtemplin on 9/12/2011 8:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno about

But the nose definitely looks like a Jag/Aston Martin.

RE: Exponential rise in popularity?
By Samus on 9/13/2011 2:12:17 AM , Rating: 2
If you ever visit Chicago, you'd be surprised how many Lexus Hybrid SUV's (RX 450h) are on the road. I see at least a dozen of them, almost always black (an ironic color for a hybrid?) during my daily commute.

By someguy123 on 9/12/2011 9:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
All front no back. I like the way the front looks on BMWs, but looking at it in its entirety it just looks awkward. Same mercedes.

By SilthDraeth on 9/13/2011 1:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
I think the Lexus looks way better.

make it really green
By MadMan007 on 9/12/2011 11:04:43 PM , Rating: 2
*sigh* So a 'fuel-efficient' hybrid that can do 0-60 in 5.6 seconds is where the luxury hybrid movement is going? At least people shopping in that price range are willing and able to pay the asking prices, unlike trying to push $35k+ mid-size hybrid Chevys, but if they really wanted it to be 'green'-ish they wouldn't have such jacked up horsepower and would instead make a *gasp* 7-8second 0-60 car that gets truly great fuel efficiency.

The green-ness of this and other hybrids of its ilk is purely status, I suppose that matches the cars themselves but still...too bad cars are sold on ego inflating emotion and not logic.

RE: make it really green
By Spuke on 9/13/2011 12:23:30 AM , Rating: 2
The GS450h is a luxury car. That's its purpose. You want a car compromised towards fuel efficiency? Buy a Prius. That's its purpose. If I'm spending Lexus money, I don't want slow. Tons of other cars fill that niche.

RE: make it really green
By Landiepete on 9/13/2011 3:38:18 AM , Rating: 2
The 450h also fits a niche. The niche with all the folks that want to convince other folks they're doing something about the environment, but actually only care about the government tax break you get.
If Dodge sold a car with a 8L 600 horse V10 and 2 2A 1.5V rechargable NiMH batteries that qualified for a tax break they'd sell lots.

RE: make it really green
By MadMan007 on 9/13/2011 9:12:12 AM , Rating: 1
7-8s only seems slow because of the silly horsepower wars that have been going on for the last 15 or so years. Wtf do people need sub-6s 0-60 times in a 2 ton luxury sedan for? It's pure penis stretching. 15 years ago 7-8s 0-60 time was 'hot hatch' territory, reducing the horsepower of today but still keeping things reasonable is a completely obvious way to increase fuel efficiency. Egomaniac emotional car buyers keep this from happening.

RE: make it really green
By Spuke on 9/13/2011 12:04:48 PM , Rating: 2
7-8s only seems slow because of the silly horsepower wars that have been going on for the last 15 or so years.
Look, I owned 7-8 sec 0-60 cars until my present one. They were fun to drive but they were cheap. It was what it was and I'm not angry about it. But, if I'm spending Lexus money (once again), I don't want a car that's ANYTHING like I was driving before. Otherwise, I'd just continue to drive the same type of car. What's the point of Lexus or any other luxury brand if they're just Sentra's with leather seats? YOU are FREE to drive the Prius or any other car compromised towards fuel economy. The luxury buyer wants a car compromised towards LUXURY and fast is a luxury. To address needs, seriously, who NEEDS a car? And don't give me that crap about going to work. Walk or ride a bike, take public transportation. If you're too far from work, live closer. Cars are luxury items in themselves and we all justify owning one but they are FAR from being a need.

By thejerk on 9/12/2011 11:59:25 PM , Rating: 3
Want to be green? Recycle: Buy a used car.

RE: sighs...
By Spuke on 9/13/2011 12:24:45 AM , Rating: 2
Want to be green? Recycle: Buy a used car.
Yep, I agree 100%.

RE: sighs...
By silverblue on 9/13/2011 3:09:02 AM , Rating: 2
Worked for me. Sure, I paid a little more considering it was a turbodiesel, but I don't regret it one bit.

These hybrids are pointless..
By Rob94hawk on 9/13/2011 4:20:38 AM , Rating: 2
These hybrids have no purpose when they still weigh over 2 tons. Sounds like their still keeping the weight high purposely. My question is why? Still stuck in the 1970's?

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