Electric Experience (Lexus GS450h 2005-2012)

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ENGINES – There’s only one choice of engine with the GS worth considering, and that’s the petrol-electric hybrid motor. Just like its bigger RX brother, Lexus is very keen to focus on the benefits of hybrid motoring, which means better than average fuel economy, modest emissions and a good turn of speed - all without a hint of a compromise. Early cars were offered with a regular petrol motor, but the efficiency gains available around town in hybrid mode easily outweigh petrol-only running.

EXTERIOR – The GS is not a car that’s likely to offend. Its looks can best be described as conservative. The upside is that you’re unlikely to get receive any unwanted attention out on the road - flashy it most certainly is not.

INTERIOR – As with any other Lexus, cabin build quality and overall ambience is top notch. Some of the switchgear might look familiar to Toyota fans, but the result is a largely quirk-free cabin with controls that are easy to operate and plenty of space fore and aft.

DRIVING – Unlike BMW and Audi, Lexus doesn’t promote its cars as overly sporting choices. The GS boasts a plush ride that’s more suited to long distance motoring, although it’s perfectly capable of slicing through bends with the minimum of fuss. The hybrid powertrain delivers a hushed experience - especially the electric-only running mode - and offers better than average acceleration thanks to the electric motor’s extra torque.

OWNERSHIP – With the main focus on refinement and ease of use, it’s no surprise to learn that owning a GS is as painless as it gets. A key attraction to the brand for many owners is the above average service from dealers, while the car itself is easy to drive and park in a crowded city.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – Most cars have led a reasonably pampered life. With private buyers not keen on the German alternative and making such an informed decision, they tend to treat their cars well. The same is true of ex-company cars, which are usually the preserve of management types. That said, evidence of a full service plus a thorough test drive are essential prior to purchase. It’s a complex car so take your time getting familiar with all the toys. And it goes without saying that parking dents and kerbed wheels should have you looking elsewhere.

MODEL HISTORY 2005: Lexus launches second generation GS saloon. Initially available with conventional petrol engines and later with a petrol-electric hybrid option, the latter becoming the sole choice later in the car’s lifecycle. High level of standard kit across the range.

REASONS TO BUY – slick and refined driving experience, plush cabin, refinement, left field choice REASONS TO BEWARE – no diesel option, styling too conservative for some, modest boot space in hybrid variant PICK OF THE RANGE – GS450h SE-L WHAT TO PAY 2008 08 20,455 2008 58 21, 230 2009 09 23,785 2009 59 25,100 2010 10 28,985 2010 60 30,625 Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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