There are two types of hybrids: those that are designed exclusively as hybrids and those that are versions of conventional cars. Usually, those in the last group must struggle to manage the additional weight of hybrid components, and ultimately suffering a decrease in ride quality and handling.
With the 2018 GS 450h, Lexus managed to avoid this common problem. Although it is a hybrid version of conventional sedans, the GS 450h maintains its performance capabilities thanks to its sporty handling. And this is not a mediocre hybrid system, the GS 450h fuel economy improvement makes it one of the most efficient luxury sedans available on the market, and its acceleration is still strong.
On the downside, the 450h price is higher than the gasoline-powered GS 350 and starting prices for rivals such as the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid and BMW 530e plug-in hybrid. The GS 450h infotainment interface is also very unpleasant to use. But overall, the 2018 Lexus GS 450h is a smart choice if you want to get a combination of performance, luxury and efficiency in one package.
The 2018 Lexus GS 450h is unchanged and carries over from 2017.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Lexus GS 450h is a midsize hybrid luxury sedan that offered in two well-appointed trim level. The gasoline-powered GS 300 and GS 350 are covered in separate reviews.
Standard equipment for the GS 450 includes keyless ignition and entry, 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, a rearview camera, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, a 12.3-inch display screen, voice controls, a navigation system, smartphone app integration, the Remote Touch infotainment interface and a 12-speaker sound system. Advanced driver safety aids such as rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and the Lexus Safety System+ suite of active safety features are also included.
The GS 450h F Sport version adds 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, special exterior and interior styling, sport front seats and enhanced steerings such as variable gear-ratio and rear-wheel steering.
Other options include front and rear parking sensors, a power-operated trunk, and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.
Under the hood, the 2018 Lexus GS 450h is powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that combines a 3.5-liter V6 engine and two electric motor/generators that are powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack in the trunk. Together, this combination produces a total output of 338 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque. That power sent to the rear wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Thanks to its hybrid powertrain, the 2018 Lexus GS 450h is very quiet in most driving conditions. Acceleration is only slightly slower than the conventional GS 350 and will be more than enough for most drivers. In track testing, the GS 450h went to 60 mph in 6 seconds, only two-tenths of a second slower than the Lexus GS 350. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 31 mpg combined (29 city/34 highway).
There is also an EV mode that allows for short-distance driving at low speeds with battery power only. The transition from electric mode to hybrid is also smooth and quiet. The selectable drive mode allows the driver to choose between more comfortable, economical or performance-focused modes. Each mode changes the transmission and engine response and the stiffness of the ride quality. For sharper handling, the F Sport version with sporty suspension tuning will provide greater cornering prowess.
Like many other Lexus models, the 2018 GS 450h boasts a well-built interior with high-quality materials. The front seat provides a range of adjustments, support and padding for hours of comfortable driving. The F Sport version enhances lateral support further, with adjustable sides bolsters and additional thigh support. Two adults will sit comfortably in the back and have enough headroom and legroom too.
The 12.3-inch screen gives the driver the ability to view full-screen navigation maps, but unfortunately the Lexus Remote Touch interface remains the only way to control the infotainment system. This controller is one of the GS 450h biggest drawbacks. Inspired by a computer mouse, this is the main method for selecting audio and navigation, and it’s far from ideal. Despite its sharp screen, the cursor control with this device jerky, especially when you are driving. Lexus has added several welcome menu shortcuts, but overall competitor infotainment controllers are easier to use.
Due to the hybrid battery pack that significantly consumes trunks space, the 2018 Lexus GS 450h only has 13 cubic feet of cargo or 1 cubic foot less than the conventional GS 350. Also, the rear seat does not fold to expand the cargo space. Instead, there is a center pass-through in the backseat to load longer items.
Release Date and Price
Official pricing for the GS 450h starts at $64,630 (all prices include the $995 destination charge). The F Sport version has starting price tag of $64,630.