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Lexus Unveils New GS 450h Luxury Hybrid

23 March 2005

Gs450h

As promised, Toyota announced its 2007 Lexus GS 450h gas-electric hybrid at the New York Auto Show today.

The GS 450h is the first hybrid luxury sedan and the first full hybrid vehicle with a front engine and rear-wheel drive.

Toyota created a completely new Lexus Hybrid powertrain to power the new 450h. The system combines a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a high-output, permanent magnet electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Combined power output will be well in excess of 300 hp (224 kW), with zero-to-60 acceleration in less than six seconds.

The system’s large electric motor is capable of delivering maximum torque immediately upon demand. This unique power delivery characteristic is most noticeable—and most useful—during mid-range acceleration (30-to-50 mph)for passing and merging maneuvers.

The result is a level of acceleration performance similar to a V-8 engine, with combined fuel economy in the high twenties—akin to a current, conventional 2.0-liter four-cylinder compact), along with a SULEV emissions rating.

Lexus is positioning the GS 450h is designed to be the premium model in the GS series, with all of the performance, luxury and safety features befitting a flagship. Many of the optional features from the GS 300 and 430 will be standard on the GS 450h.

The Lexus GS 450h is targeted for sale beginning in the spring of 2006.

More details will emerge about the vehicle as we approach launch.

Lexus GS 450h Preliminary Specifications
 2007 GS 450h2006 GS 430
Engine3.5-liter V64.3-liter V8
Elec. Motorperm magnet
Horsepower> 300 hp300 hp
0–60 mph< 6 sec.5.7 sec.
Fuel Economy (city/hwy)High 20’s18/25
EmissionsSULEVULEV

Even a look at the preliminary specifications highlights the potential for downsizing engines in a hybrid application, as the GS 450h drops almost a full liter in engine displacement compared to the GS 430, yet the vehicle provides more power.

The hybrids market seems to be rapidly moving into a “relative benefits” phase now—in other words, the fuel consumption of the GS 450h is probably going to turn out some 30%–33% better than the GS 430. Relatively speaking, that’s a huge win. But in terms of absolute benefits, it is still a vehicle consuming, well, in the high 20’s.

More details on the new powertrain and other specs as I get them.

March 23, 2005 in Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (2)

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Lexus Unveils New GS 450h Luxury Hybrid:

» Lexus unveils luxury hybrid from ANWR News
What the market needs is more hybrids that average people can afford, not more for the luxury set. [Read More]

» Lexus unveils luxury hybrid from Dr. Drive
What the market needs is more hybrids that average people can afford, not more for the luxury set. [Read More]

Comments

A hybrid rated only in the "high 20s" is not much of a win, but if it allows Toyota to cover its investments in the technology as a whole more quickly, then it may be a bigger win than it looks like at first.

I think that the biggest benefit of that car will be to make hybrid technology sexier to the general public. Probably not much real-world impact, as this probably won't be a high volume car.

I think that one of the most important things, as it relates to other industries, is the ability to get BETTER performance out of a smaller engine size overall. This is one of the biggest benefits in making the crossover to the off-road space from on-road.

While it will be nice to attract Joe Sixpack to hybrids by making them like his beloved Muscle Car (complete with coffee can tailpipe?), it still doesn't solve the problem of fossil fuel dependency or the huge amount of land used for highways and roads.

The car of the future is a train with a bike waiting at the other end.

Speaking of Joe Sixpack... Ford should seriously think about putting a hybrid with its 6-cylinder Mustang (Convertible). What an interesting hybrid of gas-electric/new-rertro that would be....

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