Lexus GS450h

| December 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

 

Although some might say that road test journos are spoilt, driving a different car or van every week, this isn’t always the case, particularly when the car you are testing isn’t as practical as one would hope, or in the case of a van when it only has two seats, meaning it’s useless for taking both kids to school.

Rarely though, does a test vehicle surprise you & it was with some trepidation that I stepped into David Camerons old car, a Lexus 450h in November 2012. This I thought, is an old mans car, instantly forgetting that I am 47 & will drive just as an old mans car should, boringly & comfortably. I was certainly right about one thing, the 450h is a comfortable luxury saloon, but completely wrong about it to drive, as in the words of Cilla Black, what a ” Surprise surprise ” !
Neither the colour of my test car, crimson red nor the trim inside, ivory leather, were inspiring me as I dropped the delivery driver at Altrincham station. Indeed, it wasn’t until I took the GS450h for a drive along the M56 that evening, that the first chinks in my preconceptions began to appear.  Boy the GS450h is quick ! With a 0-62 mph time of 5.9 seconds & a top speed of 155 mph, it was rapid. More impressive was the handling & the brakes. I had picked an evening of terrible weather to go for a spin, heavy rain & spray from trucks made overtaking treacherous & under normal circumstances, I would have taken it easy. But, the Lexus inspired confidence. The ride was sensational & the braking unbelievable in such wet conditions, here truly was a great car, hidden behind a rather unexciting exterior & the misconception of mine & many others, that the GS450h was a grandads car. It most certainly is not.
It is beautifully crafted if a little bland inside. THere isn’t any bling one associates with BMW, Audi or Mercedes, just a sensible dashboard & an easy to use intuitive Lexus media system, containing  your HDD sat nav, Bluetooth, radio/DAB tuner/CD/i Pod connection with an 8″multimedia screen with remote touch control & rear view camera with guide motor. The full leather interior is amazingly comfortable & lulls one into a relaxed ambience as one drives around, a lot like Willem Dafoes character in Light Sleeper.
The 2.5 litre V6 engine develops 288 bhp with 197 bhp of electric assistance. This makes the GS450h fast, but as I’ve already mentioned, the speed is not in any way detrimental to the comfort & handling of this car, far from it. It’s as smooth to drive as Des Lynam but is as agile as Jess Ennis & all in one cosseted interior. Brake quickly at 80 mph on wet roads & the GS comes to a standstill in impossibly quick time, with absolutely no problems at all. This really is a great drivers car & an incredibly safe one to boot.
Another reason to love the GS is it’s fuel economy, with a claimed combined of 45.6 mpg & CO2 emissions of just 141g/km & a BIK of 19%, your fleet manager or company accountant will love it & so too will your clients who see you arrive in a Hybrid.
Is there a downside ? It’s expensive retailing at £44,995, a price that may put some people off, particularly those who want  to be seen in a Deutschmobile. It looks underwhelming, but perhaps it is meant to, as why else would are current PM have had one whilst in opposition ? How would he have appeared  to voters in an S Class, 7 Series or A8 as an old Etonian toff ?
Lexus have showed me that you can produce a luxury hi tech car that simply gets on with the job, whilst offering great drive ability & relatively low emissions. It’s not that common either so all the more reason to give one a go. Come on I dare you !
A Christmas Cracker 4/5.

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Category: Lexus

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