Lexus revealed an expansion of its GS line with the unveiling of a new GS 300h sedan at the Shanghai Motor Show with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a hybrid drive system. The mid-size sedan will be sold in global markets including China, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Lexus’s target of CO2 emissions below 110g/km will make the GS 300h one of the most efficient models in its class. The hybrid system is basically the sames as the Camry hybrid uses.
While this latest Lexus hybrid has fuel economy and possibly price advantages in global markets, particularly against German luxury cars with diesel engines, it is not clear whether Lexus needs the smaller engine GS hybrid in North America. In the U.S., GS sales have been softening. Lexus already sells a GS 450h here with 338 total system horsepower. (Read AutoInformed: First Drive – 2013 Lexus GS 350 Sport Sedan)
This hybrid system is based on an Atkinson cycle 3.5-liter V6 engine along with a compact, high-output, water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The two powerplants drive the rear wheels both independently and in tandem, as needed. EPA fuel consumption is 29 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. Zero-to-60 mph times are under five seconds helped by the instant torque available from an electric motor. Moreover, it is certified as a Super-Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV), which has lower emissions than the latest generation of diesels.
The new GS was introduced early in 2012 and recorded 47,787 worldwide sales by the end of the year, almost six times the total its predecessor model achieved in 2011. In the U.S., sales of more than 4,000 year-to-date are off 19%. At more than 32,000 in total, Lexus brand U.S. ytd sales are up 18%, though.