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Toyota Releases Mileage Figures for Lexus GS 450h: 26 MPG (comb)

Toyota released the certified EPA-estimated mileage figures for the GS 450h, the world’s first luxury performance hybrid sedan (earlier post): 26 mpg combined, 25 mpg city/28 mpg highway.

That’s a bit lower than Toyota’s preliminary estimate of 28 mpg (combined).

The GS 450h features a completely new powertrain that combines a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a new compact, high-output, permanent magnet electric motor that drives the rear wheels. The transmission utilizes an advanced two-stage motor torque multiplication device for the Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) motor, delivering responsive and seamless acceleration with no power loss.

With a combined system output of 339 horsepower, the new 3.5-liter V6 hybrid delivers the performance of a modern 4.5-liter V8 engine and is nearly as quick or quicker than every V8-powered competitor in its class. The GS 450h accelerates from zero-to-60 miles per hour in approximately 5.2 seconds, but is an estimated 28% more fuel efficient than its V8 competitors and is expected to meet (SULEV)/Tier 2-BIN 3 emissions criteria.

The GS 450h goes on sale in the US in early May with a base price of $54,900. Toyota put the GS 450h on sale in Japan last week, and expects to sell 1,800 units per year there.

Comments

t

I do not wish Toyota well in this endeavor. Yeh, yeh. Bla bla bla. You get V8 performance with V6 economy. So what. It still sucks and is of marginal benefit, especially at thsoe prices.

Max Reid

This vehicles is meant for the crowd which has tons of cash and wants to show that they also care for environment.

Toyota's ultimate aim is to move all the vehicles to hybrid bandwagon first. At next state, they will move to plug-in, so that the gas prices does not hurt the auto-users hard.

stomv

The question is: what is the mpg of most cars in this class? Is it higher or lower than 26? By how much?

If the average is 23 and this gets 26, that means that you're getting a 13% improvement -- nontrivial. Going from 23 to 26 is far more important than going from 43 to 46. It's the percent improvement that's key.

Most Americans choose a class of vehicles, then choose a vehicle within the class. If Toyota is generating the most fuel efficient vehicle in the class, then they're creating opportunities for the market to naturally trend more fuel efficient.

TT

It's a shame Toyota did include "displacement on demand/variable cylinder management", 25mpg city is great for 340hp (think about it, 340hp & 25mpg in the city) but 28mpg on the highway isn't too impressive. Jaguar's XJ8 with it's 4.2L V8 gets 28mpg on the highway, and Toyota's own Avalon with the 3.5L V6 is rated at 31mpg on the highway.

Rafael Seidl

Stormy is right - like it or not, there is a market for SUVs and Toyota cannot afford not to compete in it. Kudos to them for doing it with a 4WD hybrid, a key differentiation against Detroit's guzzlers. I wonder if a hybrid minivan or premium pick-up truck will be far behind (those vehicle categories serve specific useful functions).

Sure, it would be better for the environment if the SUV market were marginalized by shifting the burden of taxation away from income and towards fuel in a socially responsible manner. However, that is not going to happen as long as the US electorate prefers military (mis)adventures in oil-related countries to changing its transportation lifestyle and urban architecture.

For now, the more hybrids are on the road, the greater the chances that the technology - adapted to specific niches - will make a dent in the total hydrocarbon consumption of the transportation sector. If modern turbodiesels finally clear the emissions hurdles in the next few years, they too ought to be welcomed for much the same reason.

Lance Funston

If these are EPA numbers for mileage, then forget it. If these are Toyota's own test numbers they are likely more accurate. If driven with finesse, maybe folks will be squeezing 27 or 28 out of this car which is quite respectable. Most passenger cars on the road today only really deliver around 24-25mpg.

If Toyota is using rich folks who love to drive fast to help subsidize their development and improvement of these systems then more power to them. Yes, I still want a hybrid Matrix (with 4 wheel drive, please)... but I suspect they'll need to get system costs down another 20% before that pencils out. Esp on a car that already gets 27-30 mpg.

d

There is of course the Mercedes Benz E320 CDI, rated at 27/37 (EPA is usually conservative with diesels) -- and you can use renewable fuel with it.

Brian

I agree with Lance. The more cars Toyota puts this in, the lower the cost for the system, the more people that can afford it across the board. The person that is going to be buying the GS450 wasn't going to buy a Prius anyways. I don't see how it could be harmful. Maybe not ideal, but not harmful.

It's not Toyota's job to change the American consumer. They've done as much as they can to make hybrids fit in with what America wants. Now they're trying to do it across the board. Perhaps more potential upscale SUV buyers will opt for this anyways.

t

This is a rear wheel drive sedan, so comments regarding SUV market do not seem germane.

t

Here is the gas mileage for the top luxury sedans ranked by gas mileage. Still seems to me that they need not have bothered to come out with this hybrid, considering the competition. But I guess, the Lexus is in a class all its own, that class being, "absurdly over powered and priced super duper luxury sedan".

Mercedes CDI 27 37 $1269 7.0

Lexus GS 300/GS 430
6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(6), Premium 22 30 $1536 7.4


Audi A6
6 cyl, 3.1 L, Auto(variable), Premium 21 29 $1601 7.7

BMW 525i
6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(6), Premium 21 29 $1601 7.7


BMW 530i
6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(6), Premium 21 29 $1601 7.7


Lexus GS 300 4WD
6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(6), Premium 21 27 $1670 7.8


BMW 525i
6 cyl, 3 L, Man(6), Premium 20 30 $1601 7.7


BMW 530i
6 cyl, 3 L, Man(6), Premium 20 30

Brian

I guess my opinion is that high end SUVs aren't sold for four wheel drive. People buy them for room, power, luxury and status symbol. To me, the person who buys a Lincoln Navigator and the person that buys a Lexus GS fit the same or similar profile.

Would you say the opposite - that a car buyer would never buy an SUV?

JMartin

Toyota may not be responsible to change the American consumer, but if they have legitimate hybrid vehicles in the luxury class, then they may break the psychological barrier for Joe Six Pack. And with volume production/lower production costs, we may see hybrid trucks and minivans. Psychologically, Americans have to get past the idea that hybrids are for eco freaks so we can sell them to the macho crowd.

abcdefg

T - You're quoting cars with 215-255hp, this new Lexus has 339hp. It's like Toyota says, power of a V8 with the fuel economy of a four cylinder. No, not a small honda civic four cylinder but a large four cylinder in a sporty midsize sedan (think Nissan Altima).

Like TT said, 25mpg in the city with 339 horsepower.

Lance, most passanger cars delivery 24-25mpg? Maybe in EPA tests, but I think that number is going to be lower for the average driver in the real world.

Hampden Wireless

This car has a 200hp electric motor. It will save gas vs almost any other can in its catagory and put out less pollutants then 90% of the 4cyl cars on the road. Ok, so I cannot afford it. That does not make it a bad thing.

This is also a way for Toyota to make money on all of its hybrid R&D. If Toyota sells as many of these as they expect they will make more hybrids sooner. Whats not to love?

Cervus

For an SUV, 26mpg is pretty good. I had a 1997 Toyota RAV4 for two years and I typically got 24, if I kept to the speed limit. Last June I traded it for a brand new Corolla. And with that, I typically get 33-35mpg (I actaully get annoyed if I get less than 33!) I think my cost of ownership, considering hybrids needs battery packs, will be much less even if gas jumps to $5 a gallon.

Ruaraidh

I think you are confusing the RX SUV with GS sedan. This is not an SUV. Even if it was (ie the RX), a RAV4 is a class amaller again than the RX....

Angelo

As previously pointed out, that was a totally inappropriate comparison above. Not one of those cars mentioned about would break 7 seconds 0-60, whereas the Lexus Hybrid is a touch over 5. In fact, that makes it faster than nearly every car I've listed below (it would be in a dead heat with the E500).

Here is a MUCH better comparison...

Lexus GS430 - 18/25
Audi A6 4.2 - 17/23
BMW 545i - 17/25
Cadillac STS 4.6 - 16/23
Infiniti M45 - 17/23
Mercedes E500 - 17/25

Since the averages above range from 19.5 - 21.5, you are talking about a MPG increase of 20%-30%.

Joseph Willemssen

"There is of course the Mercedes Benz E320 CDI"

There is of course this thing called air pollution. That car is rated Bin 10 - a category which is bad enough that it will go away soon.

"and you can use renewable fuel with it."

There's a seamless nationwide network of biodiesel out there? If not, then chances are this car will be running on dirty, conventional diesel all the time.

Joseph Willemssen

And for everyone discussing MPG comparisons, the only valid comparison is how much fuel does it save compared to its non-hybrid version. Percentages and number of MPGs is deceiving. It's also important to compare emissions.

The baseline for this vehicle is the GS430, which averages 21 mpg (EPA) and has an EPA air pollution score of either 2 (Bin 9) or 3 (ULEV), depending on the market.

According to this article, the GS450h will get 26 mpg and hit Bin 3 (SULEV), which is an EPA pollution score of 8.

So, the vehicle will save 137 gallons of gas in a given year (15,000 miles), reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20%, and reduce NOx emissions by 85%.

To compare just the fuel savings, using a 2006 Civic as a baseline (34 MPG), a car would need to get 50 MPG to save 137 gallons of fuel (which is what the Civic Hybrid gets). The GS450h also has better relative emissions reductions than the Civic does when hybridized.

People are going to keep buying big, fast, expensive cars. They might as well be as benign as possible.

Oh, and for people talking about how much money is saved in gas costs? Gas costs are inconsequential for a $60K vehicle - compared to other vehicle costs.

t

If gas costs are inconsequential for this type of vehicle, then why bother paying up to get the hybrid Lexus? If a person's priority is a big, expensive, fast vehicle (not that the other cars in the luxury class are really slow), then why would they pay significantly extra to have a marginal impact on the environment and gas costs. Unless, of course, they were trying to "appear" to be concerned about the environment.

The sad part is that we now expect large sedans to significantly outperform what would have been considered a Porsche 911 a couple of decades ago. Yes, I know. I am whining about reality. Just because it's reality doesn't mean I have to buy into it. Nor does it mean our leaders have to buy into it.

On the other hand, of course, this is such a small part of the market, it probably doesn't make much difference one way or another.

I read somewhere that a lot of big SUV owners are trading down to smaller SUVs and cars. They are not doing this because of the expense or the environment; they are doing this because they are embarrassed. That's the key. When we redefine status, we start making progress. We need to change the symbols.

Joseph Willemssen

If gas costs are inconsequential for this type of vehicle, then why bother paying up to get the hybrid Lexus? If a person's priority is a big, expensive, fast vehicle (not that the other cars in the luxury class are really slow), then why would they pay significantly extra to have a marginal impact on the environment and gas costs. Unless, of course, they were trying to "appear" to be concerned about the environment.

As I've indicated, going from the GS430 to the GS450h saves as much fuel as going from a standard Civic to a hybrid Civic, and reduces emissions more, so the marginal environmental benefit is greater for the Lexus hybrid than the Civic hyrbid.

I really don't understand your critique unless you have this as a general critique against all hybrids.

"I read somewhere that a lot of big SUV owners are trading down to smaller SUVs and cars. They are not doing this because of the expense or the environment; they are doing this because they are embarrassed."

I think that's hooey. Drop gas back to 89 cents and see how "embarrassed" people are. Large SUV sales will skyrocket.

t

Joseph.

You're assuming you really know what the market is for this vehicle. You're assuming that most people are trading up from a Lexus GS 430 or something comparable. I should also point out that Honda used a similar, albeit downscaled, strategy with the Honda Accord. The Accord Hybrid has been a dismal failure. It offered increased performance with very little increase in gas mileage. I think the same fate awaits this new Lexus.

Of course I am not against hybrids. I owned a Honda Civic Hybrid and I own a Prius.

Regardless of your comments, I still don't see the motivation here, given the priorities of those in this market. Gas savings are irrelevant in this market. The only thing left would be environmental consciousness, which would be a low priority for this group.

Joseph Willemssen

You're assuming you really know what the market is for this vehicle. You're assuming that most people are trading up from a Lexus GS 430 or something comparable.

I'm not really concerned with what the market is. It's a $60,000 vehicle, and last I checked, there's not much fuel efficiency in that price category.

I should also point out that Honda used a similar, albeit downscaled, strategy with the Honda Accord. The Accord Hybrid has been a dismal failure. It offered increased performance with very little increase in gas mileage.

I'm not sure how you're reaching that conclusion. Do you have Honda's estimates for the number of them they thought they'd sell? I certainly don't see any languishing on the local Honda lots, unlike the Element and the Ridgeline. As for there being "very little increase in gas mileage", that's totally false. The 2005 Accord Hybrid saves 156 gallons per year compared to its non-hybrid counterpart (which is better than the Civic Hybrid does compared to the normal Civic), and the 2006 Accord Hybrid saves 116 gallons per year compared to the non-hybrid.

Regardless of your comments, I still don't see the motivation here, given the priorities of those in this market. Gas savings are irrelevant in this market. The only thing left would be environmental consciousness, which would be a low priority for this group.

Environmental consciousness is a "low priority" for people who can afford $60K cars? Huh? If anything, people with more money have more luxury to care about such things. When you're poor, you don't have much in the way of ability to pay premiums for green products, or concern yourself with much more than your own survival.

d

I tend to agree that much of the reception here is hostile for the same reason that the reception to the HAH was hostile, only with an even bigger car. But this is a self-selecting group, we'll see what the buyers think.

As for the efficiency gains with this vehicle, these are official EPA numbers, so we'll see what the real world numbers are.

There is of course this thing called air pollution. That car is rated Bin 10 - a category which is bad enough that it will go away soon.

The Bin 10 classification is largely an artifact of American fuel. I've no crystal ball, but I'd be surprised if MB does not bring in particulate filters and Bluetec once ULSD is widely available (which, IMO, should have happened when they stopped adding lead to gasoline).

"and you can use renewable fuel with it."

There's a seamless nationwide network of biodiesel out there? If not, then chances are this car will be running on dirty, conventional diesel all the time.

Well, you have to start somewhere. It's also a start on an emission EPA is not allowed to regulate, so won't appear on any Bin or Tier classification.

t

Joseph. Assuming 12,000 miles per year, the Accord hybrid saves 72 gallons. The hybrid has a combined 28 mpg, while the nonhybrid has a combined 24 mpg. This doesn't even consider the 4 cyliner where the savings are slightly less than zero to slightly more than zero depending upon whether the comparison is manual or automatic.

The Accord Hybrid is not off to a good start this year. It sold 351 in January and 783 in February. This is after the new tax credit kicked in. You really don't think Honda would agree with me that the sales are dismal? Do you really believe these numbers are in line with estimates?

A better strategy would have been to offer this in a 4 cyliner or to at least offered in both 4 and 6 cylinder. The industry needs to move to more choices in engine sizes when it comes to hybrids. The market needs to be more thinly sliced to maximize the number of buyers.

As for the Lexus, sorry I wasted so much time discussing this. It's really going to be a relatively meaningless portion of the market. The focus needs to be on the lower to the mid part of the price market. This is where the volume is.

The cars in the high end of the market speak for themselves. If the people in the market had the environment as a high or top priority, they wouldn't be in this market in the first place. Of course, we always have a few pretenders. I will grant, however, that there is often a disconnect between what people say they believe or think they believe and their lifestyle. For some reason, a lot of people have trouble seeing the inconsistency between their consumption habits and their expressed or believed ideals.


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