Autoblog recently published a review of the Lexus GS 450h, detailing their impressions of the performance hybrid sedan. Along with favorable mentions for the silent electric mode capability and interior design, the review raved about the 340 hp V6 hybrid’s performance:
The GS 450h is the world’s first performance luxury hybrid, and we loved its performance. That’s right, love. Why? Because batteries rock. They make things happen right now, and anytime we dabble in acceleration our preferred phrase to begin the proceedings with is “right now.” Acceleration from a stop isn’t cheetah fast – cheetahs take time to get up to speed. This is gazelle fast. When you’re being chased by something with teeth that’s already running 60 mph, you don’t have time to meander up to speed. The GS 450h accelerates like it doesn’t want to be eaten. Instant torque, party of one, your stoplight is ready. And this is in any gear, at any speed.
The review further found the Active Power Stabiilzer Suspension System (APSSS) as rendering corner-carving flat and stable, regarded the steering as fine, and observed that brake feel was surprisingly better after extended use. Ultimately, Autoblog called the GS 450h the Lexus they would choose if their “budget was limited to $200,000” – with a caveat, namely the IS-F. (Further details after the jump).
While praising the GS 450h’s performance, Autoblog’s Jonathon Ramsey noted that the traction control was “severely intrusive”, an issue apparently remedied by the deactivation switch:
It was like unlocking an easter egg. That one little dash light transports you from elementary school to graduate school, maybe even postgraduate. Going hard into bends was an invitation to an understeer party, but you can kick the back out with a bit of throttle (if it manages to remain in the right gear) and get it to come around. We didn’t think we’d be doing such things in a Lexus – let alone a hybrid – but yes, we did, and we liked it. When you stand on the gas again and give the transmission something to do, the electric boost gets you going again immediately. If you get carried away with the two-plus tons and the GS detects things going bonkers, the TC snaps on again for last-minute bacon-saving.
After driving the conventional gasoline V8-powered GS 460 for comparison, the Autoblog reviewer preferred the GS 450h, citing faster acceleration and improved transmission response via the hybrid battery boost. However, the higher price of the GS hybrid and minute surges in electric power were regarded as detracting factors, along with transmission gear shifting behavior (here the review incorrectly states that the GS 460 and 450h have the same transmission, when the former is an 8-speed automatic and the latter a continuously variable transmission with simulated gears). The GS 450h also benefited from a significant boost in fuel economy, and the engine and road noise received mention—being regarded as performance car-like.