Lexus compensates for the shortcomings of the first-generation Lexus GS model with the launch of 2013 Lexus GS 450h. 23mpg combined mileage, curbed weight, stability control system and lifeless steering proved to be a disappointment for both hybrid geeks and driving aficionados. To top it all, the V6-powered first-generation GS hybrid was more expensive than V8-powered Lexus GS460 by $3000. Hence, Lexus is rolling out 2013 Lexus GS 450h hybrid that is 35% more fuel efficient than its 2011 counterpart. Let us have a closer look at 2013 Lexus GS 450h in this review.
2013 Lexus GS 450h Features
The wheelbase of 2013 Lexus GS 450h is equal to that of 2013 GS 350. However, 2013 Lexus GS 450h is wider and taller to 2013 GS 350 by 2 inches and 1.2 inches respectively.
Taking a break from all-sheet metal body, 2013 Lexus GS 450h becomes 14% stiffer with the inclusion of more laser welds. At the same time, 2013 Lexus GS 450h is lighter than the previous model by 13 pounds. Front double wishbones are chiefly made of aluminum. 2013 Lexus GS 450h sedan also sports new rear subframe that is a part of aggressive geometry.
Because of the increased height and width, 2013 Lexus GS 450h offers greater interior space. That is to say that this sedan offers more legroom and headroom for taller people. 2013 Lexus GS 450h offers at least 3 cubic feet more cargo space. Unlike the exterior, the interior comprises of lightweight components. This has been done to make home for more infotainment features.
The most prominent change in 2013 Lexus GS 450h is the lowered driver’s seat to make long driving even more comfortable. Seats wrapped in premium leather offer a warm welcome. The steering wheel made of bamboo adds elegance to this sedan and enhances its sustainability. If Lexus could get rid of the plastic HVAC controls keys, the last trace of cheap feeling would have departed from 2013 Lexus GS 450h. This sedan comes with navigation system (optional) that comprises of 12.3-inch display controlled by proprietary Remote Touch Controller. Enform App Suite enables the driver to access apps stored on your mobile phone from the car’s display. The Enform App Suite supports apps like Facebook, Pandora, Bing, MovieTickets.com, Yelp and OpenTable.
Being a series-parallel hybrid, 2013 Lexus GS 450h can be operated either individually or in combination of gas and electric modes. It is powered by 3.5L V6 engine that renders 286 horsepower. However, use of Atkinson cycle in this model improves its fuel efficiency. The new compression ratio stands at 13.1:1 as against the earlier 11.8:1. 2013 Lexus GS 450h also sports better intake tumble generator at mid port. Combination of port as well as direct injection, namely D-4S, is also on board. Presence of second power source compensates for narrow power band of Atkinson cycle.
However, the extra power source of prime importance in this hybrid car is the 30kW water-cooled electric motor that renders 41hp power output. The electric motor is powered by Nickel-Hydride battery pack. Those who would want increased power output with the electric motor should opt for Sport mode. In this mode, battery power output jumps to 52hp. Another thing to notice about 2013 Lexus GS 450h is that rear wheels are powered independently by electric motor and gasoline engine. Both may work in conjunction with each other to power the rear wheels if the driver desires so. Total power output of the sedan is 338 horsepower.
Power control unit in this hybrid model is well equipped in minimizing fuel consumption. For better fuel efficiency, drivers can choose the Eco mode that sets the 500V limit for the electric motor. To achieve greater fuel efficiency, 2013 Lexus GS 450h sports extended braking range. Hence, EPA estimates of fuel economy for 2013 Lexus GS 450h are 29mpg in the city, 34mpg on the highway and 31mpg combined.
These figures have massively improved over those of the first-generation GS hybrid i.e. 22mpg in the city, 25mpg on the highway and 23mpg combined. 2013 Lexus GS 450h touches 60mph mark in just 5.6 seconds and has top speed of 131mph.
This hybrid model comes with AVS (adaptive variable suspension). Thanks to AVS that 2013 Lexus GS 450h continuously adapts to road conditions. Drivers can also adjust them. It offers four driving modes namely Sport, Sport Plus, Normal and Eco. Toggling between these modes can be easily done by the Drive Mode selector. Sport, Normal and Eco modes are concerned with throttle calibration. But Sport Plus mode offers much more than mere throttle calibration. For example, it boosts steering, tightens shocks, and raises intervention point of stability control.
Sport Plus basically compensates for the shortcomings of the Sport mode. On high-speed cruises, the sedan feels heavy in Sport mode. Switching on Sport Plus mode enhances precision as well as body roll. In this mode, steering feels weighty.
Although 2013 Lexus GS 450h promises to achieve V8 performance with a V6 engine supported by Atkinson cycle, it fails to deliver that characteristic growl and smoothness of a sedan driven by V8 engine. CVT holds back the drivers’ enthusiasm by steadying down throttle surge. The brakes fail to stop the sedan smoothly and kick in abruptly. For casual driving, however, 2013 Lexus GS 450h is seamless. At lower throttle levels, this sedan surprises with the gushing speed.
Unlike most sport sedan, 2013 Lexus GS 450h unfortunately records lag in transmission chiefly because of the connection between electric motor and gasoline engine.
2013 Lexus GS 450h Sedan Price
2013 Lexus GS 450h is priced at $62,060. The official pricing details have not been released yet. Buyers can upgrade to Mark Levinson audio by paying $1380 extra. Navigation facility costs $1735 extra. Pay another $2000 for adaptive cruise control with pre-collision system. Buyers can also add three other driver assistance features by shelling out $500 for each of them. These features are active parking, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitor.
2013 Lexus GS 450h is definitely an improved hybrid sedan. The improvement is more pronounced in terms of interior design and feel, lightweight nature, comfortable handling, better fuel economy and improved performance. So, if you want to hit the road in style and speed without emptying your pockets in gallons and gallons of fuel, 2013 Lexus GS 450h is your cup of tea.