Lexus GS 450h review
The fourth generation Lexus GS has arrived in Ireland in 450h form. Is it a real rival for the German marques?
Shane O' Donoghue
Shane O' Donoghue

Published on June 7, 2012

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Lexus has never had a diesel GS and continues in that vein for the fourth generation. However, the new hybrid is even more efficient than before - sitting in Band B - and yet just as quick. As a bonus, it finally has a usefully sized boot.

In the metal 3.5/5

The more expensive models in the new GS line-up - specifically the more aggressively styled F Sport version - look more interesting, though overall the new car brings Lexus' design language to the GS size successfully - if in a subdued manner.

In contrast, the interior is awash with interesting details and is of the highest quality. Soft leather abounds and every switch operates with satisfying precision. The three-spoke steering wheel is a particular delight and we also love the design of the analogue clock. We're not so enamoured with the digital readouts for the climate control, nor the action of the Remote Touch Interface, though no doubt an owner will soon get used to such things.

Crucially, boot space has been increased by 55% over the outgoing car's - thanks to repositioning of the battery pack.

Driving it 4/5

Comfort and refinement are the name of the game in the new GS. Though Lexus has sharpened up the steering and added a Sport mode, the new car should never be compared to the likes of the BMW 5 Series for driver interaction. This Executive model does without the adaptive damping so the fixed settings are optimised for comfort. It excels at cruising and is a highly relaxing car to travel in. In town that's aided further by switching into EV (electric vehicle) mode, which is virtually silent.

Not that that V6 petrol engine is noisy. Most of the time it's completely inaudible. Even if you put your foot down it emits a cultured sound, without ever being loud. Do that and, following a brief delay as the transmission decides what best to do, the GS is hurled forward with real vigour. There's no reason to question the impressive 5.9-second 0-100km/h time, nor the maximum 345hp output.

And while the GS's chassis copes with the performance, it doesn't encourage you to use it all. This is a car built for cruising and it's something it does very well - even at relatively high speeds.

What you get for your money 4/5

Lexus will offer the GS 450h in three grades: Executive at €59,950, F Sport at €72,950 and Premium at €76,250. Only the entry-level version can lay claim to Band B emissions, as the others are in Band C with slightly higher emissions and fuel consumption. Even so the figures are impressive for such a car - and comparable with many of the diesel offerings from other brands. Though the purchase price of the GS puts it into contention with higher-end versions of the likes of the 5 Series, A6, E-Class and Jaguar XF.

In spite of that the GS deserves four stars, as it's generously equipped. Even the Executive model tested here features the full arsenal of safety equipment, parking sensors all-round, auto lights and wipers, 17-inch alloys, heated door mirrors with electric retraction, aux-in and USB ports, Bluetooth, a leather interior with heated and ventilated front seats (also electrically adjusted) and dual-zone climate control - and much more. This is expected to be the volume seller due to the significant price jump to the other models in the line-up.

Worth Noting

The amount of technology squeezed into the new GS is staggering, but the air conditioning system fitted to the Premium model got our attention. First up, if you select 'S-Flow' the system changes its output based on whether or not it senses occupants in each of the passenger seats. Vents are automatically shut in those areas to enhance efficiency. Along with that the system incorporates what Lexus calls 'nanoe' technology. Here's how it works:

'It releases 20 to 50Nm diameter nanoe particles - negatively charged ions wrapped in water molecules - into the cabin via the driver's side dashboard air vent.

By attaching themselves to airborne particles and molecules, the nanoe ions have been said to have both an air purifying and odour eliminating effect. They also deodorise vehicle seats and ceiling to create a cleaner cabin environment.

In addition, because nanoe moisture content is approximately 1,000 times that of conventional ions, the emission of ions bonded to water molecules is said to have a moisturising effect on skin and hair, acting to enhance occupant well-being.'


If you're in the market for a high-end premium saloon and you reckon there are enough Audis, BMWs, Jaguars and Mercs around, the Lexus GS may be ideal. It's highly refined and comfortable, efficient, quiet and packed with technology and equipment. It also promises to remain relatively rare in Ireland.


Tech Specs

Model testedLexus GS 450h Executive
Price€59,950 (test car was fitted with options on top of that)
Engine3.5-litre V6 petrol engine mated to AC synchronous electric motor
TransmissionElectronic-Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT), rear-wheel drive
Body stylefour-door saloon
RivalsAudi A6, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF
CO2 emissions139g/km
Road taxBand B, €225
Combined consumption6.0 litres/100km (47.1mpg)
Top speed250km/h
0-100km/h5.9 seconds
Power345hp total system maximum
Torque352Nm at 4,500rpm for engine, plus 275Nm for motor
Boot space465 litres