Lexus GS 300h Review and Road Test

by under Review on 07 May 2014 12:20:05 AM07 May 2014
2014 LEXUS GS300H
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km

A lower entry price for a GS hybrid; Hallmark Lexus luxury kit and technology


Flat exhaust note from the 2.5-litre four-cylinder

Lexus has boosted the range of its standout GS mid-size sedan range with the launch of the GS 300h. Priced from $79,000, the latest hybrid means the Lexus GS lineup includes two models with the highest five-star rating in the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide.


That pricing is significant as you can now choose from the V6-hybrid GS 450h (starting at $99,900) or the new GS 300h.
So with the new GS 300h, you get all the Lexus attributes in a mid-sizer with combined cycle fuel consumption of just 5.2l/100kms and exhaust CO2 emissions rated at a miniscule 121g/km…at a starting price below $80,000.
With six of the eight models in the Lexus range now offering hybrid alternatives (the compact CT 200h is exclusively hybrid), the Japanese giant is certainly flexing its environmentally-friendly credentials in the fuel-efficient prestige market segment. That’s especially important with many corporate buyers looking to fuel efficiency as part of their own corporate responsibilities.

Lexus GS 300h Overview

Lexus has launched the GS 300h in its usual three model grades – entry-level ‘Luxury’ at $79,000, the sporty ‘F Sport’ priced at $87,000 and the range-topper (as tested by the ‘Sport Luxury’ which is stickered at $102,000. Amongst the extras, Sport Luxury models add the 12.3-inch multimedia screen, woodgrain-accented interior trim, 20-way electronic adjustment for front seats, 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio and the head-up display plus extra safety in the form of active cruise control, , advanced pre-collision safety and the driver fatigue monitor with eye detection.


The fourth generation Lexus GS range is Lexus at its best – technology and luxury abound in a package which is nicely sized and handsomely styled. Lexus addressed criticism of the previous generation by adding extra spaciousness for both front and rear seat passengers and luggage space which is 23 per-cent greater.
Driving dynamics have also improved with a new suspension system, the new bodyshell which offers a 14 per-cent increase in structural rigidity and new technologies such as adaptive variable suspension.

Lexus GS 300h Engine

Lexus debuted its new 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol/electric hybrid in the latest IS 300h. It’s a new Atkinson Cycle engine with dual variable valve timing, D-4S fuel-injection and exhaust gas recirculation.
Atkinson Cycle engines have a higher mechanical compression ratio than the previous Otto design. Closing of the intake valves is delayed fractionally for a reduced compression volume (less fuel and air) and a higher expansion ratio (more power). Energy losses are also minimized for greater efficiency/reduced fuel consumption.
Like the IS models, the GS mounts its Nickel-Metal hydride battery stack – with its own cooling system – between the rear suspension towers for improved boot space and better weight distribution.
The 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine delivers 133kW of power at 6000rpm and, combined with the hybrid system, delivers 164kW. Peak torque of 221Nm is delivered between 4200rpm and 5400rpm.
Drive is to the rear wheels via Lexus’ six-step CVT automatic transmission.
And, as we mentioned, combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 5.2l/100kms and exhaust C02 at 121g/km.

Lexus GS 300h The Interior

As the range-topper, the Sport Luxury model of the GS 300h tested by showed its class with a stylish and feature-packed interior. For example the electronically-operated rear window sun shade (automatically retracts when you select reverse) and rear seat side window shades saw plenty of action in a couple of Melbourne’s 40-degree summer heat wave days.


The latest GS shows-off an updated interior style for Lexus – a theme first seen in the CT 200h – all wrapped in the hallmark quality materials and finishes. Up-front, the standouts in the Sport Luxury model are the upscale leather/wood steering wheel, new LED analogue clock (machined from a single ingot of metal) and the massive 12.3-inch LCD multimedia screen (which Lexus says is the largest in a production car).
The head-up display is one of the best we’ve seen – adjustable for height and displaying just the right information (including speed and navigation instructions). For the driver, the seat has extra airflow and adjustable pelvic support…and Lexus being Lexus, the electronic seat adjustment has a variable speed control so when you reach the limits there is a smooth halt with no jarring.


Behind the wheel, the driving position - with so much adjustment for the steering wheel and seat - is spot-on and you do notice the extra head and leg-room in this generation GS compared to its predecessor. Same in the back with a more supportive seat design and extra head and leg room.

Lexus GS 300h Exterior & Styling

As we know, Lexus is on a mission to bring a more dynamic/bolder/sportier look to its vehicles and the GS is proof positive. This is highlighted at the front by the unique spindle-shaped grille, piercing LED headlight design and flared wheel-arches (19-inch alloys on the Sport Luxury).


And although overall dimensions are pretty similar to the previous model, the latest GS is 25mm higher and 20mm wider. But the theme is the same – long cabin proportions and ‘slingshot’ window design.
At the rear, flared wheel-arches and a bumper design combine to accentuate width and the LED lights feature aero stabilizing fins.

Lexus GS 300h On The Road

Life in the Lexus GS 300h is very pleasant and you have the hybrid features to show-off to mates (like the hybrid function display which shows when you’re charging the battery on deceleration and the pure electric driving – always in reverse). But the trick to this car (and other Lexus hybrids) is the seamless transition from electric to petrol propulsion (common in stop-start city driving) – that’s the payoff for the millions Lexus spends in development and why a petrol/electric hybrid is viable for anyone considering a premium mid-sizer like the GS.
On the open road, the GS 300h, while not providing the growl of the V6-powered GS 450h, accelerates well across all engine speeds (the CVT is one of the best we’ve used) and in the twisty stuff the reduced weight over the front-end actually makes the 300h feel a tad more nimble when changing direction. As per other Lexus GS models, the 300h feels very planted and responds well to steering and throttle changes when cornering – definitely a car enthusiast drivers will enjoy.

Lexus GS 300h Challenges

Our only minor quibble with the Lexus GS 300h was the exhaust note of the 2.5-litre four-cylinder when pushing hard – perhaps not the nicest engine noise in the Lexus lineup.

Lexus GS 300h Verdict

We’ve driven some hybrids over the years which were less than alluring but we must say the Lexus GS models – 450h and the 300h – are both petrol/electric hybrids we’d happily have in our garage full-time. Lexus has mastered the driveability and refinement combination as good if not better than just about anyone else.


You get the hybrid benefits of reduced fuel consumption and emissions, but when you’re on your favourite twisty mountain roads, the sense of driving enjoyment is fulfilling even for keen steerers.
And now with 300h, Lexus is providing everything that’s Lexus-hybrid for a price starting below $80,000.

Lexus GS 300h The Competition

BMW has the 5 Series ActiveHybrid 5 but with its six-cylinder engine and $119,900 price tag it’s more likely a rival for the Lexus GS 450h ($99,900 to $123,500). Make no mistake though, the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is an awesome piece of kit.
For $99,700 the smaller BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is also mightily impressive.

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