Five-Point Inspection: 2013 Lexus GS450h

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

An alternative fuel vehicle, the Lexus GS450h is also a major alternative to the conventional V8-powered German luxury sedan. With exceptional fuel economy, luxury and solid power, it’s the subject of this week’s Five-Point Inspection.

With the previous generation GS languishing at the back of the pack in terms of interior quality, the all-new 2013 model has leapfrogged its competitors.

From the quality of the leather and other materials to the assembly, the GS raises the bar in the segment. At the same time, the cabin features are easy to use and ergonomic, which is more than can be said for its German rivals.

But the crown jewel of the cabin shines bright; the optional 12.3-inch LCD screen, large enough to enable split screen displays showing both navigation and audio controls at the same time.

The Lexus approach to hybrid technology has long been to add power while retaining reasonable fuel economy. It won’t get your heart pumping quite like a twin-turbo V8 in the BMW 550i, but with 338 hp and a 0-60 time of just 5.6 seconds this hybrid can hustle.

It’s not just straight-line speed that impresses either. While a touch hefty, the drive mode selector firms up the car’s throttle response and speeds up shift times in Sport mode, while a new Sport+ version (included in the Luxury and F Sport packages) adds tighter steering, a stiffer setting to the adaptive dampers and limited intrusion from the stability control for real fun.

Heck, we even took it to the track and surprised more than a few lap day heroes. It’s not like we ever caught a GT3 or anything, but he didn’t get away from us as fast as you’d think.

While not at potent as the German V8s, or as expensive at $58,050 to start, the GS Hybrid delivers an extra hit of power beyond the standard V6 model while also achieving a significant improvement in fuel economy.

With 23 mpg combined in the V6, the hybrid achieves 31 mpg on average… and actually gets it.

From Beethoven to Jay Z, you’ll be floored by the volume and quality of the optional Mark Levinson audio system, outputting 835-watts of power through 17 individual speakers.

After a quick demo, my mother, the classical music buff, now wants a GS… to park in her living room.

And perhaps most impressive, at eardrum bursting levels, your music is barely audible outside, so you can crank that Carly Rae without the public shame.

Some would say true luxury motoring comes complete with a chauffeur. While perhaps not quite Jeeves, the Lexus GS will do the driving for you… almost.

Along with collision warning and a blind spot monitor, there’s lane departure warning and even a lane keeping assist to steer you back into your lane.

There’s even a radar cruise control system that will allow you to keep pace with a car ahead. Unfortunately though this isn’t the full-speed system that works in stop-and-go traffic, like on the Lexus LS.

A built in safety feature of radar cruise control, however, is a Pre-Collision System. While a car driving itself is impressive, the Lexus GS will also hit the brakes. Using a infrared camera that scans the driver’s eyes, if you’re not paying attention when a collision ahead is seen as imminent, an auto-brake feature will slow the car to reduce the severity of a crash.

Convinced the GS450h is the right mix of luxury, performance and fuel economy for you? Get more info on the car, build it to your own specification and even compare to rivals in the GS450h section of the AutoGuide New Car Shopping Section, and check out the rest of the Lexus lineup here.

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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