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2009 Lexus GS 450h Hybrid – Performance and Emission Friendly

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When consumers talk about a performance luxury vehicle, they usually don’t put the notion of great fuel economy hand in hand.

Many people think well, 350 horsepower from a six-cylinder engine and so so fuel economy. Well, that is not the case when you are talking about the 2009 Lexus GS 450h. With the GS450h the driver can have the both lots of power, performance and of course great fuel economy from Lexus hybrid technology.

The Lexus GS 450h features an already fuel efficient 3.5 liter V6 engine coupled to a high torque electric motor. This is all managed by an intelligent electric energy management system and a powerful battery. The electric motor and gas motor can switch covertly between the 2 modes, depending on how you are driving the car (speed and acceleration). In some instances both gas and electric motors may work together to propel the GS 450h.

From standing start and at a slow pace the GS 450h will be powered by the electric motor and was the power demand increases with speed the gas engine will start to engage to propel the hybrid vehicle as well as to generate electricity to charge the battery. The gasoline motor gets a helping hand from the electric motor during quick accelerations, this activity helps to improve the performance of the vehicle as well as reduce the amount of emissions out the tail pipe. When coming to a stop the Lexus GS 450h uses its regenerative braking system to generate electric from the stopping force to recharge the battery, instead of wasting the kinetic energy available from braking.

So what is the performance for the Lexus GS 450h? Well, the 450h features a 339 horsepower in total (gas and electric). To be a little more detailed the gasoline 3.5 liter V6 engine puts out 292 horsepower, but when combined with the electric motor this helps elevate the output to 339 hp with 267 lb/ft of torque…that is equivalent to a 4.5 liter V8 engine when some geeky math is put to this equation. The outcome is great fuel efficiency which is comparable to a 4 cylinder compact car
engine rated at 8.7L/100km or 32 mpg city and 7.8L/100km or 36 mpg on the highway.

Attached to the Lexus GS 450h hybrid engine is a CVT transmission (continuous variable transmission) which provides a smoother acceleration without the jerkiness. Regular automatic transmissions have a whining noise that goes higher in pitch as you step down on the pedal, however the Lexus CVT transmission seems to accelerate without the whining noise which is great in terms of cabin noise. The GS 450h can go from a standing start to 100km (0-100km) in 5.5 seconds, awesome performance statistics for a mid-size luxury sedan that vents out the tail pipe 20% less carbon dioxide than a V8 engined vehicle. The Lexus GS 450h is a rear-wheel drive car and unfortunately not available with “All Wheel Drive”.

With accents of Californian walnut wood trim on the steering wheel and center console, the interior of the Lexus GS 450h is nothing short of premium luxury. Other luxury features are leather front seats that have 10 position power settings and are heated. If you decide to go with the “Ultra Premium Package” it comes with a superb audio system…the Mark Levinson stereo audio system with 14 speakers and CD auto changer. The “Ultra Premium Package” also comes with side airbags for the rear seats, back up camera, rear spoiler, DVD navigation system and back up sensors, lots of extras that will run you well over $5000.

At the top of the center console there is a screen which is used for many different functions in the Lexus GS 450h luxury sedan. For instance the screen can be used to display information for the stereo audio system, navigation system or to see the video of the back of the car when reversing. Other important info the screen gives are power source indicator which tells you if the GS 450h is using the electric motor or gas motor and there is also a display which tells you the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

Leg room both up front and in the back of the interior are adequate, however headroom for the passengers in the back seat will be a little cramped. The large storage battery is kept behind the back seat and this basically translates into a smaller trunk storage size than non hybrid luxury sedans.

For drivers that are looking for performance the Lexus GS 450h has them covered with different types of driving modes that can be easily activated with a switch on the center console. The driving modes are snow, normal and power mode in additional there are also modes for adjusting the suspension with 4 settings going from soft comfortable to firm suspension depending on your driving conditions of course.

The “Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management” system of the Lexus GS 450h compares the drivers input data acquired from sensors to help keep the GS 450h stable and prevent skidding or sliding by applying minute throttle, braking or steering adjustments. Other high tech wizardry to help keep the Lexus GS 450h on the road are traction control, brake assist, anti-lock braking, stability control, brake force distribution, available adaptive front lighting system and hill start assist control.

The reliability of Lexus hybrid technology is something that you do not have to worry about. The technology has been well proven by the parents company Toyota’s best selling, most sold and longest running hybrid model the Prius. Just in case you are a worry wort though the Lexus GS 450h comes with a great warranty. The Basic Warranty coverage is for 48 months or 50,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Wheel alignment and balancing are covered for 12 months or 20,000 miles, whichever occurs first. The Powertrain Warranty is for 72 months or 70,000 miles.

Overall, The Lexus GS 450h provides a wonderful blend of power, performance, environmental consciousness and luxury, so if you are
in the market for a luxury sedan with the above qualities starting at $58,000 definitely go to your Lexus dealership to have a test drive.


Related posts:

  1. 2011 Lexus CT 200h Compact Hybrid Luxury Car
  2. 2009 Lexus IS F – High Performance, Handling, Safety and Practicality

Editor @ June 7, 2010

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