Hybrid gets an overhaul

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 June, 2012, 12:00am


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The Lexus GS mid-range executive saloons are popular on airport or cross-border runs. The new GS hybrid version, the GS450h, updates the comfort and may cut the cost of driving on business.

Launched on June 1 at the Japanese marque's Gloucester Road showroom, the new GS450h is available in Hong Kong in three versions, the Ultimate (HK$896,730), F-Sport (HK$896,730) and Luxury (HK$766,900).

Redesigned with a new grille, LED daytime running lights and more pronounced body lines, the GS450h has earned a reputation in Japan for being fun to drive and environmentally friendly.

The cars are fitted with a 345-horsepower, 3.5-litre V6, 24-valve Dual VVT-i Atkinson Cycle Engine and electric motor that promises 100km/h in 5.9 seconds, the 'first of its kind to achieve this level of dynamic speed', says Hong Kong dealer Crown Motors.

The model has five driving settings: Normal Mode, without any particular electronic prompts; EV Mode which runs the car almost silently on electric and eliminates emissions; and Eco Mode, which can limit fuel consumption to about 6.13 litres per 100km and carbon-dioxide emissions to 142g/km, 'the best among all sedans in its class', the dealer says.

An optitron meter shows these modes in a eco-blue light, but it turns red for the Super Sport S Mode, which boosts acceleration and sharpens the responsiveness of the engine and transmission, while the Super Sport S+ Mode electronically adjusts the suspension and steering for more aggressive driving 'which brings out the true power of the GS450h in the form of a roadster experience', the dealer says.

The car offers lots of new technology inside, such as the 'world's first' 12.3-inch, high-resolution multimedia display and 'the industry's widest' in-cabin screen for air conditioning status information. It also helps navigation, monitors parking and describes the hybrid's energy flow, the dealer says.

Lexus has fitted the GS450h with a Second Generation Lexus Remote Touch, which it says improves the ergonomics and safety of its applications.

There is also a voice control on the navigation system, enhanced Bluetooth audio streaming, an automatic phonebook and a head-up display.

The Ultimate version has the world's first bamboo-trimmed leather steering wheel, and the marque's latest climate control and 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio System as standard. The GS450h's safety has been upgraded with 12 SRS airbags supported by the model's stability, braking, parking and hill-hold electronics.