Want to go “green” but don’t want to skimp on luxury? If you’re looking for a midsize sedan, the 2014 Lexus GS 450h is a great option. With a beautifully crafted interior, trimmed with top-of-the line technologies, an elegant exterior and an impressive 34 mpg highway, the GS 450h is the complete package for those who can afford the luxury price tag.
The GS 450h has the same sweeping, coupe-like profile of the GS 350 gas model, but its hybrid identity is revealed by such differences as an available three-light design that combines high and low beam LEDs and turn signals in a single horizontal row. At the rear, the GS 450h shares the gas model’s L-shaped LED taillights and stabilizing fins in the bumper’s lower section and also conceals the tailpipes. Discrete blue hybrid badging completes distinguishing features.
The GS 450h is powered by the Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive system that delivers 338 hp total. The system also delivers EPA fuel economy ratings on par with cars that have half its power — 29 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined, a 35 percent improvement over the previous generation GS hybrid model.
The Lexus Hybrid Drive system teams the output of an Atkinson cycle 3.5-liter V- 6 engine with a water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor through a continuously variable transmission. Independently or in parallel as needed, the gas engine and electric motor drive the rear wheels. The high performance nickel-metal hydride battery pack uses a stacked design to improve trunk space. Thanks to high system torque at all speeds, and a zero-to-60 mph acceleration in just 5.6 seconds, the GS 450h feels more like a V-8, but it uses fuel like a four-cylinder engine. The GS 450h has a Lexus Drive Mode selector with five modes of operation. Normal mode offers a balance of efficiency and performance response ideal for everyday, smooth –driving. Two other modes, ECO and EV, focus on fuel economy. ECO mode sets throttle mapping, seat heating and climate control systems to prioritize energy conservation. When driving in ECO mode, instrument meter lighting changes to blue. The EV mode allows the vehicle to be driven short distances, under certain circumstances, using only the electric motor.
And then there are the SPORT S and SPORT S+ modes. SPORT mode gives the car a sharper throttle response and transmission control. And the dashboard instrument meter lighting changes to red when driving in SPORT S mode.
SPORT S+ mode engages the Adaptive Variable Suspension, electric power steering system and Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM), adding a sporting edge to the handling while maintaining the smooth and comfortable ride that Lexus is known for.
The MSRP on the 2014 Lexus GS450h is $60,430.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or by addressing email to Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.