Lexus, which now has five vehicles in its hybrid lineup, has debuted the 2013 GS 450h. It’s the first premium performance sedan equipped with a V6 Atkinson cycle gas engine and two-motor hybrid system in a front engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle.
The hybrid version of the 2013 GS 450 incorporates improvements to its hybrid powertrain and is equipped with a second generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system. With a total system power output of 338 hp, the GS 450h will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds.
Conversely, fuel consumption is expected to be improved by more than 30 percent. The GS 450h is targeting certification as a Super-Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle II (SULEV II). The new GS hybrid also features a Drive Mode selector. In addition to the Normal mode, the driver can customize the driving experience using Eco, Sport S, Sport S+ and EV modes.
In addition to the gas engine and electric motor, the new GS 450h’s hybrid drive system a generator; a high-performance nickel-metal hydride battery; a power split device which, via planetary reduction gears, combines and re-allocates power from the engine, electric motor and generator according to operational requirements; and a compact power control unit to govern the high speed interaction of the system components.
The standard 17-inch alloy wheels are paired with 225/50R17 tires while the optional 18-inch alloy wheels are equipped with 235/45R18 tires. The GS 450h’s Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) system characteristics have been modified to provide greater responsiveness from the first touch of the pedal.
Like the GS 350, the GS 450h will be standard equipped with 10 airbags, including a knee airbag for both driver and front passenger. Rear seat occupants have seat-mounted side airbags, and all four outboard occupants are equipped with side curtain airbags.
Also standard are new Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seats that reduce the space between the occupant’s head and headrest, to help limit excessive head movement, and help decrease the severity of whiplash-type injuries in certain types of collisions. Standard seatbelts with pretensioners with force limiters used for front and outboard rear seats further assist occupant protection.
Article Last Updated: September 4, 2013.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.