2014 Lexus GS 450h Sedan (3.5L V6 Hybrid CVT Automatic)
Driven On 4/1/2014
Design both inside and outside the GS 450h is executed at a very high level. It's quick and highly efficient thanks to its hybrid powertrain. Standard adjustable suspension allows it to offer both comfort and a high level of performance. Like any luxury hybrid or diesel, however, the price is high relative to conventionally powered cars in the segment.
PerformanceLexus says GS 450h is the quickest GS you can buy, but our tests show it slightly slower than the standard car. Its handling is intuitive and well balanced though it lacks the outright grip of F Sport-equipped cars. Still, this is a solid performer with rewarding driving character.
Acceleration is smooth and uninterupted with 60 mph arriving in only 6.0 seconds, which is average for the segment. The GS feels rapid and responsive thanks to abundant torque.
Overall braking composure is good but very savvy drivers will notice low-speed inconsistency in response. The GS stops from 60 mph in 122 feet which is average for the segment.
Steering is intuitive in most situations on the road. Effort is adjustable but feedback is minimal. The GS strikes a good balance between everyday usability and available performance in its steering tuning.
More capable than it needs to be, the GS will hustle when it's asked but never feels uncomfortable as a result. It offers higher limits than most drivers will explore. Its limits are lower than non-hybrid cars in the segment, however.
Though there's never a direct connection between the wheels and the power units, the GS -- thanks to abundant torque -- feels responsive, which is unusual in a CVT-equipped car. It's also very quiet.
ComfortA luxury hybrid with sporting intentions isn't a car we'd expect to sacrifice all else in the name of comfort, but the GS 450h does a nice job of splitting the difference. It's amply comfortable when that's what you want.
Heated and ventilated front leather seats are a highlight. Comfort is good even after extended driving. Adjustments are abundant but not always intuitive. Excellent thigh support. Seat bottom a bit flat for some, though.
An active, adaptive variable suspension helps this GS 450h split the difference between sport sedan and proper Lexus. The ride is generally smooth and controlled with little harshness on rough roads in "Normal" mode. "Sport+" is stiff.
There's precious little wind noise, even at high speed, just as you'd expect from Lexus. The powertrain is particularly quiet and electric mode provides near noise-free motoring below about 25 mph.
InteriorA large, highly functional interior with very good materials and high assembly quality is slightly offset by a unique but awkward infotainment control setup.
The highlight and downfall of the GS 350's otherwise-logical interior is the mouse-based infotainment system. It's a novel approach, but it's confusing, inconsistent and demands too much attention.
In traditional Lexus fashion, the GS 350 is built for real people. The doors are wide, the sills are narrow and the seats are relatively high. Very easy to get in/out of.
The GS 350 is a big car and the interior reflects that. Lots of hip, leg, head and shoulder room for the front passengers. The story is the same in back unless you are very tall.
Excellent forward visibility thanks to small pillars and minimal blindspots. Front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera take care of the rest. Fantastic high beam headlights on the open road.
Cabin has plenty of storage cubbies. The trunk offers a just-OK 13.2 cubic-feet of space, and the rear seatbacks don't fold. Considering that the GS's bybrid batteries are stored here, trunk space isn't bad.
ValueThough the GS 450h is every bit the comfortable, capable luxury sedan we'd expect from a car based on the conventional GS 350, its $10,000 premium isn't justified, which hurts its value score. Base price is $60,510.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Lexus cars are built to a high standard and the GS 450h is no exception. Interior materials are stunning and controls offer precise feel. Body panels are well matched and gaps are consistent. It's what we expect at this price.
Overall, feature content is at or above average for the segment. Adaptive Variable Suspension is a standout feature which often demands a premium in competing brands. Standard features: leather seats, heated/ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control.
Our loaded tester, which included a moonroof, navigation, blind-spot monitor and heads-up display, rang up an as-tested total of almost $70,000 -- a lot of money for any car in this class regardless of its efficiency or features.
The EPA rates the GS 450h at 31 mpg Combined (29 City/34 Highway) and that's exactly what the GS produced on our 116-mile test loop. This is average fuel consumption among diesel and hybrid luxury sedans.
4-year/50,000-mile basic, 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain, 6-year corrosion perforation protection. Eight years/100,000 miles for hybrid-related components. Standard to slightly above average terms for the segment.
A four-year roadside assistance warranty adds value but isn't all that unusual in the segment. Free mainenance is not included.
Fun To DriveThough it has a CVT, the GS 450h provides a remarkably responsive driving experience when it's asked to do so. A wide range of chassis and powertrain adjustability gives it the ability to be both fun and comfortable.
Like it or not, you're making a statement with a luxury hybrid. This one says you're willing to spend for the privilege of driving a car that's fast, luxurious and relatively efficient.
Punchy torque early in the throttle travel gives the GS 450h some real personality. It's quite rapid yet remarkably quiet -- traits which aren't often found together. More fun than we imagined.