Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The
Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at
And yet, I can’t feel too guilty. It is a hybrid after all.
Reworked and re-engineered extensively for 2013, the 3.5-liter V-6 power plant combines with electronic assistance to waltz into the near-350 horsepower community, and let me tell you, this is the hybrid hot rod of your dreams.
In fact, I don’t even think of it as a hybrid. It’s that peppy. Seamless power plant performance is matched with a new, stiffer – downright sport-tuned for my money – body structure.
On the outside, the car looks to be a midsize. Inside, it has all the room of a full-size, yet it drives like a peppy, agile sports car, with a ton of luxury thrown in.
Yet fuel mileage is an impressive 29 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.
A mean, green machine? Affirmative.
Be advised that this is a supremely engineered Lexus, and there’s a price to pay for that: $58,950 to start, and mine had extras that pushed the sticker’s bottom line to a hefty $68,814.
Yes, my ride was dressed up to near limo standards, and I undoubtedly enjoyed the 18-inch alloy wheels, the primo Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system and three-zone auto-climate control amid a sea of leather and polished wood.
But what I enjoyed most was driving it.
As I said, engine response is so instant and so robust that you pretty much lose the idea that you’re piloting a hybrid vehicle. It doesn’t behave like a hybrid. It acts more like a weekend racer, a scalded-cat blazer with monorail-like stability and butter-smooth, bump-absorbing characteristics.
It’s hard to imagine a better car for taking a long trip. You have all the interior luxuries, performance as needed and plentiful comfort. And again, with its fuelish ways, even a cross-country adventure won’t crush your wallet.
I know the performance purists out there will run from any car that wears a hybrid label, and that’s fine with me.
But just between me and thee my tire-screeching friends: You really don’t know what you’re missing in this very fine GS 450h.