Mike Stevens | Sep 13, 2011

2012 LEXUS GS 450H

The top-shelf variant in the two-powertrain range of the new Lexus GS has arrived, with the unveiling today of the 2012 GS 450h hybrid.

On the outside, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the new hybrid variant from the GS 350 revealed last month, with its blue-hued badge and three-lamp headlights standing out as the only obvious difference.

For a real styling difference, you'll need to wait until November when the new Lexus GS F Sport styling and handling-kit debuts at the SEMA show in the US.

Like the GS 350, power for the GS 450h is provided by a 3.5 litre petrol engine - but this one is also the world's first Atkinson cycle V6 to drive a premium large sedan.

2012 lexus gs 450h overseas 05

The V6 engine is paired with the Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which incorporates an electric motor and gives owners the choice of all-petrol, all-electric or combined hybrid driving modes.

The paired powerplants are combined with an Electric CVT transmission to deliver 252kW, giving the new GS 450h a 0-100km/h time of 5.6 seconds - 1 'killer-wasp' and four one-hundredths short of the outgoing model.

Despite those barely-there deficiencies, the real win for the new hybrid is in its fuel conumption, which Lexus says has improved by more than 30 percent - although exact figures have not been revealed yet.

Lexus promises improved rear storage also, with a redesigned battery layout freeing up more space in the boot. Again, no specific numbers have been released here.

The luxury carmaker has made a point of improving the handling of its new-generation large sedan, adding Adaptive Variable Suspension, Dynamic Rear Steering, Variable Gear Ratio Steering and an overhauled Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system for better traction.

There is also Electric Power Steering, 10 airbags and Whiplash Injury Lessening tech in the front seats. Options include a pre-collision system, Night Vision, Heads Up DIsplay, Blind Spot Monitor and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning.

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