The arrival of the Lexus GS 450h saloon in the UK has at last solved the conundrum of balancing executive car requirements against environmental impact – as Bath’s new Mayor has become one of the first to demonstrate.
The newly appointed Mayor, Cllr Mrs Carol Paradise, has started using one of the sophisticated Lexus petrol-electric hybrids for official business. The Nordic blue car, which has been leased to Bath’s Charter Trustees for a year, was handed over by Lexus Sales Manager Gary Knott earlier this month outside the city’s Guildhall.
“I am more than pleased with the car,” said Cllr Paradise later. “It is very comfortable and the new Nordic blue colour looks good.” The GS 450h, the world’s first high-performance hybrid saloon, has a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that works with a 190bhp electric motor to deliver refined and responsive performance. The combined output is 340bhp, with 62mph reached in under six seconds – yet fuel consumption (35.8mpg on the combined cycle) and CO2 emissions of only 186g/km are no higher than for a typical 2.0-litre family car.
The vehicle is luxuriously equipped and offers generous space for occupants and luggage – a consideration for The Mayor, who will frequently be accompanied by other dignitaries, and has to find room for the City Sword and Maces too. “Some people think the Mayor should have a Rolls-Royce, others would like to swap the car for a bike.” said Councillor Gerry Curran, Chairman of the Standing Committee of Charter Trustees, which selects the Mayor each year. The Charter Trustees decided that the Lexus strikes a balance. ‘With its good looks and hybrid engine, it is both stylish and environmentally friendly.”
The Mayor expects to cover up to 10,000 miles carrying out up to 700 official engagements during the year in and around Bath, with some journeys to London and Wells. Having grown up in the Forest of Dean, Bath’s 779th Mayor has a strong environmental track record, including sitting on a council committee responsible for planting more than a million trees in the Forest of Avon, and helping to start a Wildlife Conservation Area in the Cotswolds.