The Good With its hybrid gas-electric power train, the 2013 Lexus GS 450h reliably averages 30 mpg. Its adaptive suspension gives it unexpectedly good cornering. The Enform system brings in apps such as Facebook, Yelp, OpenTable, and Bing search.
The Bad The joystick controller on the console feels plasticky, and it is difficult to accurately control the onscreen pointer.
The Bottom Line The 2013 Lexus GS 450h is a tech tour de force, getting outrageously good fuel economy for this class of car with its hybrid drive system, and giving drivers the convenience of popular apps integrated with the cabin electronics.
2013 Lexus GS 450h
The Lexus brand used to hold an affinity for older drivers, people who could remember when Dewey did not defeat Truman. In our youth-obsessed culture, however, that sort of brand identity does not sell cars, so Lexus set out to change its image in the only way possible: changing its products. Which is why the front of the 2013 Lexus GS 450h looks like the spiky hair of a Japanime character.
And with the GS 450h, looks are more than skin-deep. Despite being a hybrid, often code for slow and wallowy, the GS 450h takes off with the force of a charging rhino and hammers on corners like a swordsmith crafting a katana. It's not the first car I would choose for slewing along backcountry roads, but it can certainly deliver a thrilling ride.
Making all this possible is a 3.5-liter V-6 engine using Lexus' unique combination of port and direct injection, aided by an electric drive system. The engine produces 286 horsepower by itself, a number that seems a little low to me, considering the fuel system. Possibly Lexus could pull more power out of it, but that might adversely affect fuel economy. Torque is only 254 pound-feet.
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