First Drive Lexus GS300h SE BT

21 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи First Drive Lexus GS300h SE BT отключены
LEXUS IS IS 300h SE CVT Continuosuly Variable

First Drive: Lexus GS300h SE

Whatever your past or present opinion of the brand, this is a very shrewd move from Lexus.

Toyota Motor Corporation has been selling hybrid cars for 16 years, now, and while the Toyota brand has mopped up the volume hybrid vehicle sales, the upmarket Lexus cars have saved the hybrid running gear for flagship models.

Rightly so, if you ask me. The system is so well developed at this point that commuting in a Lexus Hybrid is a seamless, quiet, smooth and relaxing experience that the brand could be forgiven for reserving for its best cars.

But this is the shrewd bit. There’s a new, entry-level Lexus GS hybrid variant called the GS300h, and what’s more it comes in a new, more affordable SE trim package.

But before you dismiss it as a low-rent option, for an extremely reasonable £31,495 — remember, it’s a Lexus hybrid — you get 220bhp, 10 airbags, 10-way adjustable electric front seats, electric steering wheel adjustment, DAB radio, a 12-speaker surround sound audio system, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control and xenon headlights.

Wowzers. And that’s before you start thinking about the intrinsic benefits of the hybrid system, like 109g/km emissions on this model, which gives potentially huge benefit in kind tax relief compared to diesel rivals.

In its media release that came with the car, Lexus quotes the new GS as being as much as £7,302 cheaper in benefit in kind tax over three years, when compared to the BMW Active Hybrid 5. The proven reliability of the Lexus hybrid system also counts in its long-term favour.

The system used here is a familiar one, much the same as the one in the IS300h, albeit with a relocated battery and slightly altered gearing for the heavier GS.

It can power the car for short distances on electric power alone, and if used correctly in town it can record over 50mpg. It takes finesse, but it’s not actually that difficult.

A 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine doesn’t quite cut in and out with the silky interchange of the six-cylinder hybrid models, but it’s still exceptionally refined even among similar hybrid cars, and it’s light years ahead of the comparatively clattery diesels out there.

Lexus has been doing this long enough to know how to get it right.

All the other important Lexus stuff is there, too, like large, comfortable seats with good back support and supple suspension that, on the SE version, won’t win any handling awards but will keep you more comfortable than just about anything else in the sector.

Build quality is everything it should be, and with customers consistently rating Lexus as one of, if not the best manufacturer out there for customer service and ownership satisfaction, this new package has a stupendous amount going for it.

Negatives? Well, the CVT gearbox is fantastic for efficiency and emissions but not so much for outright driving pleasure.

Putting your foot down brings an annoying and constant background drone until you release some accelerator pressure and the revs drop. It’s not a big deal unless your right foot is somewhat heavier than it could be.

LEXUS IS IS 300h SE CVT Continuosuly Variable

In short, the GS300h, especially in SE trim, is an extremely canny buy. The batteries are designed to last the life of the car, it’s extremely comfortable and the standard technology is outstanding.

Its emissions and tax banding are the icing on the cake. As a car it’s excellent, but as a financial proposition it’s even better.

FACTS AT A GLANCE:

Model: Lexus GS300h SE, from £31,495 on the road

Engine: 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid system producing 220bhp.


Transmission: CVT continually variable transmission driving the rear wheels.

Performance: Top speed 119mph, 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds.

Fuel economy: 60.1mpg (SE only).

CO2 rating: 109g/km (SE only).

LEXUS IS IS 300h SE CVT Continuosuly Variable
LEXUS IS IS 300h SE CVT Continuosuly Variable
LEXUS IS IS 300h SE CVT Continuosuly Variable
LEXUS IS IS 300h SE CVT Continuosuly Variable
LEXUS IS IS 300h SE CVT Continuosuly Variable

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