Luxury sedans come in two general genres: opulent and sporty. Occasionally, they have both and, rarely, they have fuel economy on top of all of that. Enter the 2014 Lexus GS450h: an opulent, sporty, hybrid luxury sedan.

2014 Lexus GS 450h - park 2 - AOA1200px

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Lexus
  • Year, Model: 2014 GS450h
  • Class: Luxury sedan
  • Powertrain: 3.5L V6, electric motor, ECVT
  • Base Price: $59,800
  • MSRP as tested: $70,920
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The 2014 GS450h is a part of the Lexus lineup of luxury sedans. This year, Lexus added a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with an upgraded Sport mode similar to that found in the F-Sport models found in the Lexus lineup. In Sport mode, the electronic CVT (ECVT) mimics an 8-speed automatic transmission in shifting.

The 2014 GS450h delivers a good mix of luxury, sporty driving, and hybrid efficiency in a nicely-made sedan package. This hybrid version of the GS 350 sedan has a high price tag, but delivers high fuel economy as a payoff.

Under the 2014 GS450h’s Hood

The Lexus GS450h utilizes the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, which is very similar to parent company Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive. This is a well-blended mix of gasoline engine, electronic transmission, electric motors, and seamless regenerative braking.

The engine is a 3.5-liter, four-cam V6 with Dual Variable Valve Timing, an electric drive motor, and an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT). The ECVT allows the car to have selected driving modes that create different scenarios in the CVT itself, allowing for both smooth operation as a CVT and mimicked transmission shifting for a sportier feel. Shifting in manual mode with Sport gives a realistic gearing feel.

The EPA rates the 2014 Lexus GS450h at 29 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg overall.

2014 Lexus GS 450h - interior - AOA1200px

Interior of the GS450h

Inside, the 2014 Lexus GS450h sports a beautifully-outfitted interior. Lines flow well, seating is very comfortable throughout, and touches such as the optional bamboo surfaces and steering wheel are a nice addition. The seat ventilators are loud, typical of Lexus, but otherwise the comforts inherent to the car are phenomenal.

Options for the GS450h can get pricey, but at its base, this luxury sedan has a lot of excellent amenities. Our test model included several additions, to include:

  • *Blind Spot Monitor ($500)
  • *Luxury Package with Heated Rear Seats ($5,695)
  • *Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio, 17 speakers, 330 Watts, DVD/CD player, etc. ($1,380)
  • *HDD Navigation with 12.3-inch High Resolution screen ($1,735)
  • *One-Touch Power Trunk ($400)
  • *Intuitive Park Assist ($500)

Other options we did not have include an automated parallel parking system, larger wheels, lane departure prevention, and more.

On the Road in the 2014 Lexus GS450h

The 2014 GS450h is a very luxurious car and it drives like one. It is sporty when you ask it to be, but is otherwise very posh in its cruise. The 338 horsepower it outputs is more than enough to deliver a spry feel on the road and a six-second 0-60 mph time is on par with the class, even without the hybrid powertrain.

2014 Lexus GS 450h - park 4 - AOA1200pxMost of our driving was on the highway and the GS450h performs well at speed. Our average fuel economy was about 33 mpg, making for a good case for the EPA’s estimates overall.

On the long haul, the GS450h delivers a comfortable ride with a solid feel. In town and traffic, it is gentle most of the time, but capable of leaping into action when required. Lexus has found a good mixture of comfort and sport in this sedan.

Competition

There is plenty of competition in the hybrid luxury sedan market now and the GS450h is priced outside of many of its competitors. The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid is a good comparison to the Lexus, but the diesel options in the Audi A6 TDI and BMW 535d offer similar efficiency at a better price point. The Infiniti Q50 Hybrid is a close competitor to the Lexus GS450h as well while the Mercedes-Benz E-Class hybrid is currently the highest-priced in the hybrid bunch.

Strong Points

Excellent refinement for the class, with good looks, a well-done interior, and a high amount of efficiency to counter its sporty feel.

Nice ride dynamics both in town and on the highway and Sport mode ads fun factor on city streets.

Weakness

Huge price hike for the hybrid, at about $10,000 more than the GS 350.

Conclusions

The 2014 Lexus GS450h is a well-refined, nicely-sporty sedan with plenty of comfortable space for passengers and a high amount of luxury and fuel economy to go with its great looks and nice pacing. Overall, a very good balance is struck by Lexus with this new GS450h.

Test Period Length and Limitations
We had the 450h for about five days as a manufacturer’s press loan. During that time we put 405 miles on the vehicle. Most of those were highway and freeway mileage along with a good mix of urban and suburban driving.

 

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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