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 450h||2006 GS 430|
|Engine||3.5-liter V6||4.3-liter V8|
|Elec. Motor||perm magnet||–|
|Horsepower||> 300 hp||300 hp|
|0–60 mph||< 6 sec.||5.7 sec.|
|Fuel Economy (city/hwy)||High 20’s||18/25|
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.