Friday, May 17, 2013

This Lexus hybrid is a mean, green machine

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – The 2013 Lexus GS 450h sedan just might be my favorite guilty pleasure.

And yet, I can’t feel too guilty.  It is a hybrid after all.

Reworked and re-engineered extensively for 2013, the 3.5-liter V-6 power plant combines with electronic assistance to waltz into the near-350 horsepower community, and let me tell you, this is the hybrid hot rod of your dreams.

In fact, I don’t even think of it as a hybrid.  It’s that peppy.  Seamless power plant performance is matched with a new, stiffer – downright sport-tuned for my money – body structure.

On the outside, the car looks to be a midsize.  Inside, it has all the room of a full-size, yet it drives like a peppy, agile sports car, with a ton of luxury thrown in.

Yet fuel mileage is an impressive 29 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

A mean, green machine?  Affirmative.

Be advised that this is a supremely engineered Lexus, and there’s a price to pay for that: $58,950 to start, and mine had extras that pushed the sticker’s bottom line to a hefty $68,814.

Yes, my ride was dressed up to near limo standards, and I undoubtedly enjoyed the 18-inch alloy wheels, the primo Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system and three-zone auto-climate control amid a sea of leather and polished wood.

But what I enjoyed most was driving it.

As I said, engine response is so instant and so robust that you pretty much lose the idea that you’re piloting a hybrid vehicle.  It doesn’t behave like a hybrid.  It acts more like a weekend racer, a scalded-cat blazer with monorail-like stability and butter-smooth, bump-absorbing characteristics.

It’s hard to imagine a better car for taking a long trip.  You have all the interior luxuries, performance as needed and plentiful comfort. And again, with its fuelish ways, even a cross-country adventure won’t crush your wallet.

I know the performance purists out there will run from any car that wears a hybrid label, and that’s fine with me.

But just between me and thee my tire-screeching friends: You really don’t know what you’re missing in this very fine GS 450h.

1 comment:

  1. Hybrid cars have often been the butt of jokes because of their looks but you definitely can make a mockery when it's a Lexus. I'm quite in awe of how they're able to get everything you love about the sports and luxury cars into a green car.