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The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
GS450h A SUPERB BLEND OF PERFORMANCE, STYLE

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Take the conventional Lexus GS350, exchange its power train with a hybrid version, and you have the GS450h. The midsize luxury sedan still gets the 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine but this one, mated to electric motor/generators, cranks out 338 total horsepower. Zero to 60 mph is clocked at just 5.6 seconds with top speed limited at 137 mph. The rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive car is fitted with a 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery, which is recharged by energy captured as the driver applies the brakes or coasts. Also, the Continuous Variable Transmission-equipped car gets a regenerative braking system. When the car is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric power functions as a generator, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost. Instead, it converts the energy into useable electricity for recharging the batteries.
Lexus has revised the front end with its arrowhead-shaped HID headlights surrounded by the Lexus spindle grille, and LED rear combination lamps. Cabin ergonomics are of the highest quality with well-bolstered 10-way adjustable power front seats. The analog instrument cluster of speedometer and tachometer with a centered drive information center is logically laid out. Flanked by horizontal air vents under the touch screen, the analog clock conveys a rich ambiance. Creature comforts include power tilt/slide moon roof, dual-zone auto climate control, power tilt/telescopic steering column, keyless access and start, and LED ambient lights. And you can toggle navigation, climate, audio and phone controls with the mouse-like, easy-to-use controller on the console.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management with stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, front/rear crumple zones, three-point seatbelts for all, collapsible steering column, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.
The GS450h is a fun ride, delivers a splendid blend of performance and style. Hybrid or not, the GS is one of the smartest choices for any potential midsize luxury sedan buyer. All you need is close to or more than 60 Gs.

GS450h
Tires: 235/45R18
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length: 192.1 inches
Suspension: double wishbone front; multilink rear
Steering: variable-speed sensing
Fuel capacity: 17.4 gallons
City: 29 mpg
Highway: 34 mpg
Base price: $63,080
Web site: www.lexus.com

CALLING ALL LEXUS DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@gmail.com