Fleet News

First Drive: Lexus GS 450h Luxury

Lexus
BIK List Price
£44,815
Lexus GS BIK list price
BIK Percentage
19%
Lexus GS BIK Percent
CO2
141g/km
Lexus GS CO2
Combined MPG
46.3
Lexus GS MPG

Review

Imagine yourself in a small, but comfortable room. There is a large and supportive leather armchair, but no other objects. The room is sealed. Listen. What you can hear is probably overwhelming silence, and it’s remarkably similar to what can be heard when travelling behind the wheel of the new Lexus GS 450h.

The all-new model, while making a renewed attempt at injecting more emotional appeal into the styling of the car, offers a range of exceptionally well equipped variants and far lower CO2 emissions than the six-year-old out-going GS 450h. Near-silent running comes as standard.

Advanced hybrid components and repackaging means the GS 450h comes with a decent-sized boot for the first time (room for four full-size sets of golf clubs).

Unusually, Lexus has also decided to offer an entry-level GS 250 – without the hybrid components – in the UK, which appears well priced against premium rivals, but suffers from poor fuel consumption and high CO2 emissions.

However, the company will eventually offer a hybrid version with this 2.5-litre engine alongside the 3.5-litre V6-equipped GS 450h, with an opportunity of reaching even higher levels of fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.

The 250 engine starts with SE as the entry-level trim, but this lower grade will not be offered on the 450 hybrid which starts with the Luxury – one level higher.

Customers will also be able to choose a more aggressively styled F Sport variant, with the Premier version sitting at the top of the range.

Although the GS performs the usual full hybrid trick of travelling on electric power only for short distances at low speeds, even when the engine is running – unless you’re accelerating hard – the cabin is almost impossibly quiet.

The interior has a more luxurious appearance and feel (especially at the top end of the range) than perhaps any other rival, and while it might not have the glitziness of the Jaguar XF, it certainly matches the Audi A6 for its assured solid feel if not its utterly clean appearance.

Lexus’s control interface – as in the RX 450h – has its computer mouse-like cursor with point-and-click functionality making accessing menus and actions a little easier than in some other cars.
Performance, with a combined powertrain output of 345bhp, is brisk when necessary, although the car can run in eco and sport modes, which has an effect on the throttle response.

It isn’t as involving as an XF or a 5 Series (which now has a rival hybrid), but customers probably won’t choose the GS for driving dynamics.

However, for quality, refinement and efficiency, the GS sets a new benchmark.

CO2 emissions
A decent showing for CO2 emissions given the performance of the car, but is shown up slightly by the brand's own RX 450h SUV, which achieves 145g/km - almost as low as the GS - with a less slippery shape and the benefit of four-wheel drive.
Fuel costs
Although in diesel guise a car like the GS (there won't be a diesel version, by the way) would be best suited to shortening motorway journeys, the benefits of the hybrid powertrain's fuel-saving electric motor aren't fely without a great deal of urban use.
Residual values
Residual values are competitive with high-power diesel executive saloons and BMW's ActiveHybrid 5, although less expensive executive cars will depreciate more slowly.
Running costs
Overall running costs aren't too bad for a 345bhp executive saloon, but even lower running costs could be attained by looking at smaller capacity diesel models. However, Lexus will introduce a GS hybrid based on the smaller-engined GS 250 in future.
Driver appeal
It isn't an engaging car in the same was as a BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF or even Infiniti M saloon, but the GS 450h does some things better than rivals, including quality and refinement.
FN Verdict
Hybrid cars have advanced considerably over the 12 years before the launch of this second-generation GS 450h, but they are still best suited to a good weighting of urban driving in annual mileage. However, the GS 450h still majors on the traditional Lexus strengths of high quality, refinement and equipment which will appeal to many.
Top Speed
N/A
Lexus GS Top Speed
VED band
N/A
Lexus GS Ved
Fuel Type
Hybrid
Lexus GS Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : 69.48

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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