This is the second generation GS 450h, and while the Drive Mode knob has a selection labeled “Sport,” it’s advertised as a luxury car, not a sport sedan. Like the earlier car, acceleration is impressive, especially considering the 4,200-pound curb weight. It uses a revised version of the same 3.5L engine and dual-electric-motor transmission to drive the rear wheels, and although it delivers more power (306 horsepower), in “Eco” mode it delivers much better fuel economy (31 mpg versus the old car’s 23). The redesigned body provides more trunk space, something notably lacking in the earlier model. The “Sport” mode also adjusts the suspension settings, and while it’s considered ‘capable,’ ride and handling are still more like a luxury car, and distinctly Lexus.
This is among the first models equipped with the Lexus Enform App Suite. It’s basically a suite of smartphone apps that appear on the navigation screen and, using a Bluetooth link, operate through a special application on a smartphone. It includes the Bing search engine, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Traffic and Weather, Yelp, Facebook Places and several other apps. Enform can be very useful, but it’s not compatible with all smartphone operating systems or even with all system updates. Enform is free but since it operates through a smartphone, it can impact the cost of your cellular data plan.
The navigation system and Enform both respond to voice commands, and the navigation database has thousands of points-of-interest, including gas stations.
Lexus is consistently at or near the top of the J.D.Power quality surveys. The only serious issue we found with this model is a Service Campaign to replace the front passenger seat sensor that supplies data to the Air Bag control unit. The dealer will replace it free of charge through Dec 2017. Most Lexus owners are quite impressed with the dealership service experience, but it can be expensive. Any aftermarket shop that services hybrid vehicles will have no trouble with this one.
To find a hybrid vehicle service shop near you, go to shop finder on this web site.