Lexus continues to rock the luxury car market as it unveiled yet another ground-breaking hybrid vehicle, with the Lexus GS450h taking the stage today at the New York International Auto Show.
Based closely on the new GS luxury sport saloon that goes on sale in the UK next month, the GS450h is the world’s first hybrid luxury saloon and the first full hybrid vehicle with a front engine and rear-wheel drive.
While the application of hybrid power to a high-performance luxury sport saloon is certainly new ground, Lexus is using hybrid technology proven over several years and hundreds of thousands of miles of testing and consumer use. The result is sports-car like performance, with 0-60 acceleration in substantially less than six seconds and combined fuel economy more typical of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder compact saloon, along with one of the lowest emission ratings in the world.
A completely new Lexus Hybrid powertrain was created to power the new GS450h. The system combines a 3.5-litre V6 engine with a high-output, permanent magnet electric motor – all driving the rear wheels. Combined power output will be similar to a 4.5-litre V8 engine, delivering in excess of 300 bhp.
Even more impressive is the torque delivered during mid-range acceleration. The system’s massive electric motor is capable of delivering maximum torque, immediately upon demand. This unique power delivery characteristic is most noticeable, and most useful, during 30-50 mph passing manoeuvres.
The Lexus GS450h is targeted for sale in the middle of 2006. The new GS300 and GS430 go on sale in the UK from 15 April this year followed in June by the world’s first hybrid luxury SUV, the Lexus RX400h.
Lexus GS450h Preliminary Specifications (USA model)
- Engine / electric drive motor – 3.5-litre V6 engine / permanent magnet electric motor
- Power – bhp equivalent to 4.5-litre V8 engine
- Driven wheels – Rear
- 0-60 mph – Under 6 seconds
- Fuel economy – Similar to the average 2-litre, 4-cyl. compact saloon