Today, at a press conference at the New York Auto Show, Lexus unveiled the 2007 Lexus GS 450h is the world’s first hybrid luxury sedan and the first full hybrid vehicle with a front engine and rear wheel drive.
“Once again, we’ve applied our formula of no compromise engineering – this time to a luxury sport sedan which proves to us that hybrid power trains can work superbly in virtually any application,” said Lexus Vice President of Marketing Mark Templin. “It’s very important to continue pursuing substantial reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, while continuing to improve performance and driving pleasure. Our customers wouldn’t have it any other way.”
A completely new Lexus Hybrid powertrain was created to power the new 450h. The system combines a 3.5-litre V6 engine with a high-output, permanent magnet electric motor – all driving the rear wheels. Combined power output will be well in excess of 300 horsepower, with zero-to-60 acceleration in less than six seconds.
Even more impressive is how quickly and powerfully torque is delivered during mid-range acceleration. The system’s massive electric motor is capable of delivering maximum torque, immediately upon demand. This unique power delivery characteristic is most noticeable…and most useful…during 30-to-50 passing and merging manoeuvres. It is an experience that must be felt to be fully appreciated. The result is a level of acceleration performance similar to a V-8 engine, with combined fuel economy in the high twenties, a level more typical of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder compact sedan, along with one of the best EPA emissions ratings in the industry.
Based closely on the new GS luxury sport sedans, the GS 450h is designed to be the premium model in the GS series, with all of the performance, luxury and safety features befitting a flagship. Many of the optional features from the GS 300 and 430 will be standard on the GS 450h.
There are subtle visual differences like special 18-inch light-alloy wheels and a new power meter that replaces the tachometer. But the new GS 450h is designed to operate like any other Lexus vehicle such that the hybrid experience feels completely normal and seamless, all while delivering a surprising new level of performance and efficiency.
The Lexus GS 450h is targeted for sale in the US beginning in the spring of 2006, and is likely to arrive in the UK mid-2006. The new GS300 and GS430 go on sale in the UK from 15 April this year followed in June by the world’s first hybrid luxury SUV, the Lexus RX400h.