The all-new 2012 Lexus GS 450h has made its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.
On the outside, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the new hybrid variant from the GS 350 revealed last month, with its blue-hued badge and three-lamp headlights standing out as the only obvious difference. For a real styling difference, you’ll need to wait until November when the new Lexus GS F Sport styling and handling-kit debuts at the SEMA show in the US.
Apart from the new looks on the outside, the inside gets a proper makeover too. The driver environment is more driver-focused than the old with lots of clever technology, including a new energy-saving AirCon system, a plethora of high-end sound-system options and the world’s biggest on-board multi-information display screen. There’s also a hybrid monitor, as well as a bamboo steering wheel, further emphasising the car’s green credentials.
Like the GS 350, power for the GS 450h is provided by a 3.5-litre petrol engine – but this one is also the world’s first Atkinson cycle V6 to drive a premium large sedan. The V6 engine is paired with the Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which incorporates an electric motor and gives owners the choice of all-petrol, all-electric or combined hybrid driving modes. The paired powerplants are combined with an Electric CVT transmission to deliver 252 kW, giving the new GS 450h a 0 – 100km/h time of 5.6 seconds.
Lexus has kept fuel consumption and emissions data a secret for now, but insists a number of enhancements will see the new model improve over the current GS 450h’s averages 7.9 L/100km and 186 g/km of CO2. Lexus’s engineers say the engine’s high 13:1 compression ratio, new mid-port intake tumble generator, and the implementation of the brand’s latest D-4S direct-injection technology all lead to improved efficiency. Revisions to the hybrid system’s Power Control Unit, the range of the regenerative brakes, and the electric motor’s lighter mounts and reduced friction also contribute to greener figures.
The driver dynamics – which Lexus are making a big deal of – are thanks to a re-engineered bodyshell, all new suspension setup, bigger brakes and techno-goodies like Active Variable suspension and Dynamic Rear Steering. Which, if reports by those who’ve driven it are to believed, really do transform the on-road manners of the new GS. Optionally, you can grab the Lexus Dynamic Handling System (it’s that ‘Dynamic’ word again) which integrates the AVS, DRS and Variable Ratio Steering to really give a proper edge to the handling.
Like the GS 350, the standard safety package includes 10 airbags, while a pre-collision safety system designed to reduce the severity of crashes will be available as an option, along with head-up display, blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning and other preventative features.
Full pricing and specification details will be revealed closer to the launch of the 2012 Lexus GS 450h next year.