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2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Review

MPG-o-Matic 2013 Lexus GS450h Review Summary: With a starting price of $58,950, the 2013 Lexus GS450h is targeted at the more affluent among the eco-conscious crowd. This elegant hybrid sedan makes a design statement unlike anything else on the road, with a positively scrumptious bamboo-trimmed interior. The GS450h’s stirring performance and a combined EPA gas mileage rating of 31 miles per gallon (MPG) is clearly intended to make those who might be shopping the Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec and new Audi A6 TDI clean diesel sedans stop to consider the alternatives.


The 2013 Lexus GS450h is powered by a hybrid drive train with a DOHC 24-valve VVT-i (“dual continuously variable valve timing with intelligence”) 3.5-liter V6 engine and permanent magnet electric motor that produces a total of 338 horsepower (HP). The rear-wheel-drive (RWD) GS450h is fitted with an Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT).

The official fuel economy estimates for the 2013 Lexus GS450h are 29 city / 34 highway miles per gallon.

In our week-long test with a Meteor Blue Mica review unit, we trumped the official mileage estimates, scoring an average of 38.2 MPG on the Interstate highway (test abbreviated due to rain) and 32.3 MPG combined with temperatures ranging from the sixties through the high eighties.

Interstate highway testing temperatures were in the mid seventies, with varying degrees of rain. Our test vehicle was equipped with the optional 18-inch split-nine-spoke alloy wheels, clad with 235/45-18 Dunlop SP Sport 5100 Ultra High Performance All-Season tires, and was delivered with a bit over 3000 miles on the odometer. Seventeen-inch wheels and 225/50R17 tires are standard equipment. The GS450h can also be delivered with Bridgestone Turanza ER33 Grand Touring Summer or Michelin Primacy MXM4 Grand Touring All-Season Low-Rolling-Resistance tires. Data was not available regarding the Green X Michelin tires potential for a higher level of fuel economy.

Highway driving range is quite good. The 2013 GS450h is fitted with a generously sized 17.4 gallon fuel tank and is designed to run on premium unleaded gasoline. The 240 cell Sealed Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack is rated at 6.5 amp-hours. The GS450h’s remarkably slippery 0.26 Coefficient of Drag are no doubt key to its excellent highway fuel economy results.

The four-wheel-disc ABS brake system uses 13.1-inch vented rotors on the front and 12.2-inch vented rotors at the rear. The GS450h weighs in at 4,190 pounds with a nearly equal 51/49 weight distribution between front and rear.

Straight line acceleration is quite thrilling for a sedan of this heft, with a 0-60 mile per hour (MPH) factory rating of 5.6 seconds.

The GS450h provides a wealth of visual feedback for fuel-conscious drivers, with an analog power/eco/charge gauge, a thermometer-style Current MPG readout, and a Trip Information Chart on the gigantic optional 12.3-inch LCD display.

Ride and handling are top shelf, as one would expect from a sporting luxury sedan with a starting sticker price of just under $59,000. Paddle-shifters are standard for those that prefer to click through simulated gearing. The GS450h’s Drive Mode can be switched between Normal, Eco, Sport S, Sport S+ and EV modes.

The cabin is sumptuous, with a unique bamboo and leather heated steering wheel that feels like a fine piece of sculpture. Who else would think to use bamboo for interior trim?

Seating is exceptional with the standard driver and passenger front bucket seats providing 10-way power adjustment, along with three-level heating and ventilation through perforated leather upholstery. Our tester was equipped with the Luxury Option package, with the multi-contour front buckets offering 18-way power adjustment with four-way lumbar, articulating backrest, extendable lower cushions, and side bolster controls.

The standard twelve-speaker Lexus Premium audio system with Enform includes iPod support, Hands-free Bluetooth, streaming audio, and automatic phone book download. The system is controlled via the center console. While it’s gorgeous to behold, Enform’s advanced app features were not compatible with my old iPhone 3G. Subsequently, we were not able to put them to the test. Moral of the story? If you can afford a GS450h, you can afford a new iPhone

The voice controlled navigation system includes SiriusXM NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, Stocks and Fuel Price information.

A 12-volt outlet is located in the center console, along with auxiliary audio and USB inputs. A 120V outlet can be found at the back of the center console.

The GS450h offers a range of high-tech options, including a Blind Spot Monitor, Heads Up Display, Intuitive Park Assist, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Night Vision System, as well as a Pre-Collision System with Driver’s Eyes Monitor and Adaptive Cruise Control.

The rear seats are quite accommodating, with 37.8 inches of headroom and 36.3 inches of legroom. Rear seat heating is optional. The center armrest allows rear seat passengers to take charge of the audio system, rear climate control and sunshade. The trunk provides 13.2 cubic feet of cargo area, along with a handy first aid kit.

All-in-all, the Lexus GS450h luxury sedan is a formidable competitor to the Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec clean diesel sedan, with excellent driving characteristics, and a superb level of comfort. Fuel economy is quite good for a vehicle of this caliber. Those willing to buy the ticket and take the ride should have no qualms with ponying up for premium fuel.

Warranty Information:
Basic – 4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain – 5 years/70,000 miles
Rust Perforation – 5 years/unlimited miles
Hybrid battery/component – 8 years/100,000 miles


2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Review

4.5
Daniel Gray
2012-12-12

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2 comments ↓

#1 Rich on 12.12.12 at 11:12 pm

That level of features would keep me occupied for years. And apparently 7 paragraphs down it even turns into an FR-S. 😉

#2 mpg-o-editor on 12.13.12 at 7:27 am

D’oh! Thanks for the eagle eyes, Rich! Every once in a while a typo slips through …

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