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.
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.
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
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
quote: Want to be green? Recycle: Buy a used car.