On the odd occassion, I do get access to cars you wouldn’t expect me to be able to drive. Case in point is the car you see above, the Lexus GS450h. It wasn’t much more than a test drive, but I did drive it. Car and Driver had a chance at it too, and my thoughts echo theirs.
Well, in this case, the GS450h may be the most powerful member of the GS lineup, but it is also the least sporty of the bunch. The GS450h wafts itself over the road with the same sort of tranquillity as its big brother, the LS460. There’s a complete absence of road or engine noise, the ride is plush, and the seats are as soft as buttery mashed potatoes. This sort of luxury is Lexus’s trademark, and it’s a delight, provided you aren’t expecting a sports sedan. We didn’t love the mouselike control for the Lexus infotainment system, but the rest of the interior is a soothing cocoon.
The term disconnected came up quite a bit during the drive. It had a distinctive floating feeling, as you would expect from a car that costs just about $US60K. It had all the tech and leather and heads-up-display too, in case you are a fan of the tech (like I know you are). And I really didn’t care for it.
Besides not feeling like I was part of the driving experience, I didn’t think it was that comfortable. Sure the seats are infinitely adjustable and if I would have had an hour to get the seat sorted out I might feel differently. There was also a surprising lack of headroom. There is no way I could wear a helmet and drive this car, not that you would because it’s not an LFA. One other thing I don’t think I would expect from a automobile that costs sixty thousand dollars is the amount of wind noise in the cabin, especially at highway speeds. This might have been a glitch with this car since I’m pretty sure it’s done the rounds with the press and as a training vehicle, but still. Doesn’t say much for the current state of Lexus build quality in my opinion.
The driving experience was kooky too. There was an iDrive like dial that told the car what you wanted to do. Set it to Ecoboost and it’s what you expect, a gutless, torqueless boring car. In normal mode, it’s still boring but the driving dynamic was slightly better. In sport mode more power from the electric engine goes to the wheels and it tightened up a little bit.
And it was really huge. Like not fit in my standard-sized 2 car garage huge. At least not without having the front over hang barely missing the washer and dryer. Rediculous.
Sure, comparing this to a MINI is the same as comparing an Ariel Atom to a JCW GP, but I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this car at all. I wanted to, you know, because it’s a Lexus. The pinacle of Japanese Luxury cars. I just thought it was boring. My car is definitely better.