The debut of the new Lexus GS450h performance hybrid is expected to create a new group of luxury hybrid vehicle advocates who will help build an understanding of and future demand for other models.

On the outside there is very little to distinguish the GS450h from the rest of the GS line. Only the GS450h rear badge, side HYBRIDD badges and distinctive 18-inch wheels set this apart from the GS430. Inside the cabin, however, a Power Meter that gives the driver ample opportunity to get involved in the hybrid experience replaces the ubiquitous tachometer.

By combining petrol and electric motors, the GS450h has the best fuel economy in the Lexus range. By comparison, the new GS450h has 31 per cent better fuel economy than the Lexus GS430 and a 32 per cent greater range on a tank of fuel.

Importantly, the GS450h delivers an additional benefit to the environment reduced emissions. The GS450hhs ADR 81/01 CO2 emission rating is 186g/km a similar rating to a 4 cylinder car. A conventional vehicle of similar performance to the GS450h would have a CO2 rating in the 280-300g/km range.

Hybrid vehicles have unique advantages in city driving situations due to the stationary idle and initial take off being operated completely under electric power only. The GS450h emits nothing from the exhaust when the car is stationary.

Hybrid technology how it works

The Lexus GS450h hybrid uses two power sources: V6 petrol engine and a high torque electric motor with integrated generator.

Hybrid technology combines an advanced internal combustion engine with electric motor technology, all managed by intelligent electronic control systems. And all, of course, manufactured to the Lexus legendary quality and reliability standards.

The creation and management of electric power is integrated with a specially developed battery and the intelligence of the hybrid system provides maximum operating efficiency, safety and comfort.

The new Lexus uses regenerative braking to save energy. When the brake pedal is depressed a generator connected to the wheels is put into action and converts kinetic energy from the vehiclees motion into a reusable form of electricity. This electricity is then stored in a high-voltage battery. This function recaptures up to 30 per cent of otherwise lost energy.

Regenerative braking recovers energy and hence significantly improves the fuel economy and emissions of a hybrid vehicle, further enhancing the appeal of the hybrid for city driving.

The Lexus GS450h not only emphasises luxury styling but also safety and the latest technology including an impressive range of exceptional features all as standard. GS450hhs substantial feature-rich list includes all-leather interior, a smart keyless entry system, Lexus Rear View Camera with Rear Guide Assist, parking sonar, hands-free Bluetooth mobile phone compatibility, touch-screen DVD-based satellite navigation, 14-speaker-premium Mark Levinson audio system with DVD capability and a power moonroof.

Luxury interior items also include dual-zone climate-controlled air conditioning with pollen filter, heated and ventilated driver and front passenger seats, tilt and telescopic steering column and seat position memory with auto entry/exit feature, and auto-on/off headlamps.

To add to the extensive list of features in the hybrid sports sedan, Lexus, for the first time, offers customers the opportunity to purchase custom suitcases to fit perfectly into the GS450h boot compartment. The integration of these features means the interior remains uncluttered and spacious.

As you would expect from Lexus, the GS450h is a technology showcase. The safety and comfort technology in the vehicle includes the Lexus Pre-Collision System, radar Active Cruise Control, Adaptive Variable Suspension, the latest generation of Lexus Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDiM), ten airbags including driver and front passenger SRS knee airbags and rear-seat side airbags.

The top 5 hybrid myths

As the Lexus GS450h debuts in Australia as the worldds first luxury hybrid sedan and with more Lexus hybrid vehicles set for Australian shores, the hybrid revolution is here to stay. The perception of vehicles powered by electric motors is very different to the reality here are five common myths about hybrid technology explained.

  1. Hybrid vehicles need to be plugged inThe new Lexus GS450h never needs to be plugged in. The battery that powers the dual electric motors is recharged automatically through a process called regenerative brakingg. The batteries for the electric motor are re-charged as the driver brakes or coasts in the car, which means the battery is always charging without ever needing to plug the car into the mains.
  2. Hybrid vehicles can run out of battery and leave you strandedThe intelligent engine management system of the GS450h constantly monitors the electrical system levels and never allows the battery to drain under 40 per cent of its capacity. When the charge level becomes low, a generator kicks in to recharge it. The battery will never run out and will never leave you stranded.
  3. Hybrids are small and underpoweredThe launch of the GS450h is testament to the fact that hybrid cars are not all small and underpowered. The GS450h shares the same visual shape as the GS430 and the Lexus Performance Hybrid engine combining petrol and electric motors produces 254kW startling and immediate performance but with the fuel efficiency comparable to a four-cylinder sedan.
  4. Hybrid technology is only a fadOil is a finite resource but by the same token, people are not going to stop using cars so as a leader in automotive technology, Lexus is developing a host of solutions to this problem. Lexus performance hybrid vehicles are leading the charge by combining petrol and electric motors to reduce exhaust emissions and petrol usage, making it more environmentally considerate. Lexus will be releasing more Hybrid models in 2006 and beyond.
  5. People buy Hybrids just to save money on fuelFuel economy is only one area where Lexus Hybrid vehicles make a difference. The GS450h offers 31 per cent better fuel economy than the GS430. The GS450h also makes a significant difference to the environment by reducing emissions to similar levels of a four-cylinder car.

RRP: $121,990
Available: Now