This Lexus certainly knows how to use the plethora of technological features detailed in the Tech facts chapter in order to become a perfect long trip partner.
The story starts with the comfort provided by the suspension, the seats and the soundproofing. These assets mix with the technical ones, which make the car feel capable when driven up to seven tenths.
The complex electronics make sure that the vehicle is always adapted to the driving conditions, keeping both the driver and the passengers happy. Add to this the multitude of gadgets and you'll obtain a car that knows how to shorten distances.
When moving on to the sporty part of the story, the GS shows a different face, failing to deliver on its promises. That's quite a shame considering that Lexus aggressively markets this as a dynamic vehicle.
Take a look at the exterior and the cabin of our test car - they're screaming "driving dynamics!" Especially in the F Sport trim, the GS450h also doubles these features with technical ones that could allow it to be a driver's car, but this is not the case. With the exception of the launch, the acceleration fits the aforementioned profile, but the handling and the braking fall short of it.
The 0 to 62 mph sprint takes 5.9 seconds, a respectable value, but what the official figures don't tell you is that the car offers two sides in terms of acceleration. The take-off is far from spectacular, but once you're on the move, petrol and electricity work together and you really feel the force of the powertrain.
Thanks to the generous muscle, you never have the sluggish sensations offered by E-CVT transmissions working with small engines. Instead, the GS 450h delivers a constant solid push once it gets past start phase and is happy to be taken to its 250 km/h (155 mph) top speed.
The transmission also offers a manual mode, which comes with steering wheel-mounted paddles, simulating six actual gears. While the paddles themselves are pleasant to use, we didn't find ourselves in this mode very often. The system does manage to avoid feeling artificial, but this setup simply doesn't suit the car's character.
Ahead of the gear shift select lever, you can find a knob that's just as important for controlling the car. Turn this and you'll navigate through the various settings of the Drive Mode Select System: Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+.
The ECO Drive Mode offers a softer mapping for the engine and throttle pedal, as well as using energy-efficient control for the air conditioning system.
Sport S brings up the engine responsiveness, as well as the drive force available from the hybrid powertrain. In this mode, the meter back lights turns to red.
Sport S+ brings the same powertrain sharpness as Sport S, while also stiffening up the suspension and sharpening up the steering.
You can truly feel the difference between these as you move from hugging trees to hugging the road. Alas, the suspension is an exception to this. While it manages to filter road imperfections brilliantly, when you switch to Sport S+, it fails to provide the expected level of handling, still allowing a fair degree of body roll.
The problem is that when you throw the car into a corner, the aggressive four-wheel steering, which feels like a nice toy to have, generates forces that put the suspension through quite a big pain. Couple this with the aforementioned body roll level and you'll end up with a setup that's anything but inspiring.
In terms of braking, the vehicle comes with a regenerative setup. The engineers may have managed to integrate this in a way that delivers a natural pedal feel, but they haven't solved the usual problem with this kind of hardware - the lack of serious stopping power. When you're up to speed and you need to quickly loose some of it, the brakes make you regret for having gotten to that point.Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
Wow, all these gadgets are such a blast to use. My fingers can’t get enough of this Lexus. There’s always something for them to play with, so they’re extremely happy. And the part of my finger's journey that uses the materials around the cabin is even better. It may or may not be actual leather, but it feels like silk.
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