This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 22, 2006

New Lexus Hybrid Sedan Emphasizes Performance Over Efficiency


Photo of a the Lexus GS 450h, a four-door sedan.'

Under this mild exterior lurks a hybrid powertrain that can accelerate the Lexus GS 450h at breakneck speed.
Credit: Toyota Motor Corporation

Are you looking for a high-performance luxury sedan, but hoping to avoid fuel economy in the teens? The new Lexus GS 450h may be your dream car. The sedan's fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 28 mpg on the highway doesn't break any mileage records, but the GS 450h does set a new performance level for hybrids. The rear-wheel-drive sedan accelerates to sixty miles per hour in only 5.2 seconds; according to Autos.com, that places it on par with the Porsche Cayman S.

The GS 450h features a whole new hybrid system, combining a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a high-output electric motor that drives the rear wheels. The combined package delivers 339 horsepower, equal to the power of a 4.5-liter V8 engine, while providing a 28 percent improvement in fuel economy. Of course, all that power comes at a price: the GS 450h goes on sale in May at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $54,900, about $3,500 more than the comparable GS 430 sedan. Lexus notes that the GS 450h includes many standard features that are optional on the GS 430. See the Toyota press releases on the pricing and fuel economy of the Lexus GS 450h, and the list of acceleration times for luxury cars on the Autos.com Web site.

While Toyota continues to introduce new hybrid models, General Motors Corporation (GM) is gearing up to manufacture its first true hybrid vehicles. GM is investing $118 million at its transmission plant in Baltimore, Maryland, for manufacture of its unique "two-mode" hybrid transmissions, which incorporate two small electric motors in a variable transmission. Starting next year, GM's assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, will start incorporating the transmissions into hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Tahoe and the GMC Yukon. See the GM press release.

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