The hybrids unique direct injection engine technology provides better performance and fuel economy.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Nov. 23, 2011
2013 Lexus GS450h on the beach – Cost? TBA. A D-Segment with sub 6-second performance and a 31 mpgUS combined rating? That is almost unbelievable.
The all-new 2013 Lexus GS breaks away from Lexus’ sedate image of the past by combining a more aggressive face, hard sculpted body, a much wider performance envelope and the latest features and amenities.
The GS 450h was the first hybrid-powered luxury sport sedan to enter the market when it was originally introduced for the 2007 model year. With continuous improvement in mind, the all-new GS450h is packed with the latest best in class features and premium details which make it more than just another luxury car. It makes it the luxury car that is as easy on the environment as it is on your wallet when you do finally have to visit the pump.
The 2013 GS 450h incorporates a number of improvements to not only its second generation hybrid drivetrain but also the Atkinsonized 3.5L as well. With a total system power output of 338 HP, the GS 450h will do the 60 dance in 5.6 seconds. Conversely, fuel consumption is expected to be improved by more than 35 percent versus the previous version with projected EPA-estimated ratings of 29 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined
. And like many of Toyota’s bread and butter hybrids, the GS hybrid features a Drive Mode selector with EV, Eco, Normal, and Sport S modes plus one more called Sport S+. We will find out what Sport S+ allows for a future GS450h owner soon enough.
So where is the new drivetrain tech you ask? Along with the second gen Lexus hybrid drivetrain using the compact water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor, it is the “D-4S” or direct and port fuel injection system within the atkinsonized 3.5L V6 that makes the RWD car a noteworthy adversary for any luxury model that cares to go toe to toe in the efficiency and performance ring.
Improved fuel consumption is achieved through a high compression ratio of 13:1, a new mid-port intake tumble generator and the adoption of a Lexus four-stroke, direct injection technology, D-4S.
With one injector installed in the combustion chamber and a second mounted in the intake port, D-4S combines the strengths of both direct and port injection, realizing optimum engine efficiency throughout the power band and improving torque across the rev range, while minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.
The D-4S system features new slit-type injector nozzles with a modified port shape, a higher fuel pressure for more efficient combustion, and idle port injection for improved NVH characteristics.
The cooling performance of the hybrid system’s Power Control Unit (PCU) helps reduce fuel consumption and has been improved through the adoption of dual cooling paths and a single-piece, integrated DC/DC converter.
Like all of Toyota’s latest hybrid drivetrains, the PCU boosts motor drive voltage to a maximum 650V in Sport mode and limits it to a maximum of 500V in Eco mode under normal driving conditions where maximum output is not required. The motor is driven at lower voltage to enhance fuel economy.
NVH and friction reductions
Engine noise, vibration and friction have been lowered through the adoption of lightweight timing chain technology. The electric motor features lighter mounts and reduced friction. The system’s regenerative braking operation range has been expanded increasing overall fuel efficiency on the EPA test cycles. In addition, the battery layout has been redesigned to maximize luggage space allowing the 2013 GS 450h more cargo volume than the previous generation GS 350!
Ride and Handling
Designing the new GS 450h to be agile was a key focus of the engineering team. To begin, the new platform is more rigid with an increased the number of spot welds and additional laser welds placed in strategic locations. The track is wider by almost two inches and with revised suspension tuning, has improved corner road holding significantly.
In the front, upper and lower control arms are made from aluminum and employ larger bushings. The rear subframe has been completely redesigned to accommodate an all-new multi-link rear suspension, using improved suspension geometry that helps retain tire cornering force and enhances rear control. With the stiffer platform and lighter components, the shocks can use lighter-viscosity oil, so they move easily and respond to small inputs more quickly.
The use of front and rear aluminum control arms helps reduce unsprung weight and results in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision. Overall, the suspension is lighter and stronger, allowing it to react to driver input readily, and ride quietly without harshness. Ventilated disc brakes featuring four-piston aluminum front calipers are endowed with the latest electronic enhancements to help provide braking balance and control. In addition, the GS 450h’s Electronically Controlled Braking system characteristics have been modified to provide greater responsiveness from the first touch of the pedal. The GS 450h feature standard 17-inch alloy wheels paired with 225/50R17 tires, and optional 18-inch alloy wheels equipped with 235/45R18 tires.
In addition to enhanced braking systems and an impact-absorbing body structure, the new GS features significant advances in both passive and active safety systems as standard equipment.
The GS is equipped with 10 airbags, including advanced dual stage front airbags, a knee airbag for both driver and front passenger, outboard rear seat mounted side airbags, and all four outboard occupant seating positions are equipped with side curtain airbags.
New Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats reduce the space between the occupant’s head and headrest, to help limit excessive head movement, and help decrease the severity of whiplash-type injuries in certain types of rear end collisions.
Available options to help further enhance occupant safety include a Pre-Collision System (PCS), which uses the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System to provide early warning of upcoming objects that might result in a collision. The system also uses an infrared camera with new scanning technology to monitor the driver’s eyes. In the event that the driver does not appear to be looking forward when a collision appears imminent, the system will initiate the warning at an earlier threshold. If the driver still does not respond and make the appropriate maneuver, the system will initiate braking intervention up to 1.2 seconds prior to impact, designed to help lessen the severity of the collision. With available Lexus Dynamic Handling, PCS will help further mitigate the occurrence of a collision.
Other optional safety systems include a Night Vision System; Heads Up Display; a Blind Spot Monitor that helps detect vehicles in rear/side blind spots; and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). LKA provides a small amount of active steering torque to help maintain course, while the LDW feature alerts the driver if the system detects that the vehicle is beginning to drift out of the lane.
To begin, the GS450h’s all-new lean and mean silhouette is said to cheat the wind with a Cd of just .26.
In addition and exclusive to the hybrid model is an available three-lamp design that combines high and low beam LED lamps and turn signals in a single horizontal row. The improved illumination and beam range provided by LED lamps offers better visibility even under low beam driving conditions.
The GS 450h adopts L-shaped LED tail lamps and stabilizing fins in the bumper lower section. The GS 450h can also be distinguished by concealed tailpipes for a clean, hybrid look and Lexus’ signature blue hybrid badging.
The new cabin was designed to be driver centric with a horizontal-themed instrument panel. For comfort, the drivers seating position, wheel angle and reach was changed to increase comfort and provide a better forward visibility of the road ahead. And like the all-new 2012 Camry, designers modified the roof shape by employing techniques on the front pillars to help increase the driver’s field of vision. Equal attention has been paid to maximizing space for rear passengers. The new GS has more headroom, knee room, legroom and foot space
than the current generation GS.
Front and rear door openings have also been revised for easier ingress and egress. Trunk space has been increased by almost 25 percent and can easily accommodate four golf bags, and trunk access is improved with a six and a half inch wider opening.
Standard equipment includes a new energy-saving auto climate control system called S-Flow that uses the occupant-detection system to focus airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seated, a first-in-class technology. A next-generation Remote Touch with one-push confirmation is standard on all models and enables smooth, intuitive operations control.
The Remote Touch allows the user to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, optional navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with a controller conveniently located within easy reach on the center console. Remote Touch also reduces eye movement and helps users operate functions with reduced effort and distraction. A standard rear back-up camera helps add security and convenience.
The finely crafted cabin detail is complemented further by ambient lighting that welcomes the driver and passenger into the vehicle. New white LED lights are sequentially lit to illuminate the areas around the doors, center console and footwells. A high end looking all-new analog clock with LED indicators is carved from a single ingot of aluminum adding a unique to the class touch that even the staunch Europeans will have a hard time emulating. The GS450h also includes a bamboo steering rim and interior accents adding to the 450h’s sustainability nature.
Cabin materials include three types of wood specially chosen to highlight the unique flavors of the model variations. Meticulously detailed contrast stitching is used as a visual accent on the instrument panel, door trim, center console, shift knob and steering wheel to create a rich, tailored interior space.
More Luxury, More Comfort and More Convenience
The next-generation Lexus multimedia system brings a host of standard entertainment and connectivity advancements, including enhanced Bluetooth capability with automatic phonebook download and streaming audio.
GS owners will enjoy DVD audio and video compatibility, MP3 sound enhancement, 5.1 simulated surround-sound from normal two channel sources such as MP3 files and CDs, and a high-resolution eight-inch central control display centrally located high up in the instrument panel. An SMS text-to-speech feature allows the driver to be read text messages and send preset responses with a compatible smart phone. HD Radio with iTunes tagging and a three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio are standard. The Gracenote Media management system creates dynamic music playlists and a voice recognition solution recognizes nicknames for music artists and even some mispronunciations.
Lexus offers several GS option packages. The Premium Package includes rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats and power rear sunshade. The Luxury Package includes those features plus Adaptive Variable Suspension; an Adaptive Front Lighting System; unique high gloss espresso wood ornamentation; semi-aniline leather, 18-way power front driver and passenger seats with articulated back, side bolster and thigh support controls; four-way lumbar; butterfly headrests; passenger seat memory; rear HVAC and audio controls; rear manual side sunshades; 18-inch alloy wheels; and wood and leather-wrapped (or trimmed) steering wheel.
A miscue of sorts is that the Navigation system is optional? The all-new GS features an industry-first 12.3-inch, split-screen, high-resolution multi-media display. The split-screen ultra-large display enhances visibility through the use of advanced, high-definition graphics that are easy to read and easy to use. The 12.3-inch screen is large enough to support simultaneous, split-screen viewing of a large map display, plus audio, climate or other vehicle information.
GS models equipped with the optional navigation system will also have access to the next-generation Lexus Enform Application Suite, the system that leverages the customers’ mobile phone technology to provide a new level of connectivity and information management. Users can conduct local searches through Bing, or utilize voice-enabled apps to make restaurant reservations through OpenTable, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com or tap into internet radio, including Pandora or iHeartRadio. Think of Toytoa’s EnTune and you have painted the picture properly.
In addition, the ability to check-in on Facebook, and search for various business reviews including restaurants on Yelp is added to distinguish itself from its less costly brethren. SiriusXM data services offer information on stocks, traffic, weather, sports and fuel prices. Enform is supported on iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
For audiophiles who insist on the ultimate in audio performance, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound audio system is available. The system provides 7.1 channel surround-sound through 10 channels using a new class D Digital amplifier with a clean 835-watts from 20-20,000 hz at only 0.01 percent total harmonic distortion. Lexus-first Green Edge speakers are lighter, more energy-efficient and have less distortion. The new system produces almost three times as many watts per channel over the previous generation. This is an area where Lexus has fallen down in the past and with over 5-years to correct the missteps, I am going to guess that the system will sound fantastic. We will know soon enough.
The 2013 GS450h
Soon to be the star of the Strip.
On paper and in pics, the all-new GS is a worthy opponent for the 5-Series, E and even S-Class, Audi’s A6 and Infiniti’s M35h. On a sustainability front, there is no contest with the GS standing head and shoulders above its European rivals. The Infiniti M35h being close behind of course… Whether the luxury automobile buying consumer will see the same is the question mark.
The GS 450h hybrid goes on sale in the spring 2012.
We will experience a short preview of the all-new 2013 GS450h in less than one-week in Las Vegas. And while Vegas’ trademarked slogan is “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas”, we will provide impressions of the GS450h regardless of what Sin City has to say about it