2009 Lexus GS 450h Ultra Premium
2009 Lexus GS 450h Ultra Premium
2009 Lexus GS 450h Ultra Premium. Click image to enlarge

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Lexus Canada

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Review and photos by Michael Clark

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2009 Lexus GS

Inside Story is a review of interior comfort features, cabin controls, storage options, trunk space and under-hood accessibility based on a seven-day evaluation.

Ever get the feeling you need a little more cowbell?

When it comes to luxo-sport sedans, one of the best ways to avoid the Reaper of Public Opinion is to go green. As much as most manufacturers possess some form of hybrid or clean diesel technology, few have stuck to their guns like Lexus. It’s one thing to offer a ‘nilla hatch with leaf badges (“green” not “Toronto”); it’s downright bold to stick an ‘H’ emblem on the back of your six-figure flagship, the LS 600h L. In fact, the most expensive 2009 Lexus you can buy is a Hybrid; the $144,000 LS 600h L with the Premium Executive Package. And while the difference in mileage and carbon dioxide emissions with the gas versions of the GS and LS are not what we would call Honda Insight territory, both ‘H’ versions keep you smiling with impressive thrust. This week, Inside Story takes the mid-size GS 450h for a spin, with an MSRP of $69,650 with the Ultra Premium Package. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, regional or promotional incentives.)

2009 Lexus GS 450h Ultra Premium
2009 Lexus GS 450h Ultra Premium. Click image to enlarge
The Cockpit/Centre Stack

As much as I love the servo-nirvana of an easy-entry power tilt/telescope wheel, when will the folks at Lexus finally discard the Camry-esque cruise control stalk at the 4 pm position? (So many other manufacturers do so well with well-placed steering wheel tabs.) Wheel function tabs access audio, driver information display, Bluetooth phone access, and voice-activated prompts. The driver’s info screen includes average speed maps, hybrid/gas/both energy monitor, range, average fuel consumption, and current fuel sip.

Headlamps and wipers benefit from auto sensitivity. The IP provides a kilowatt meter in place of a tachometer, with an indicator quadrant for the gear ‘range’ of the CVT when in manual sport-shift mode, which has yet to enjoy the availability of steering wheel-mounted paddles. The voice-activated Navi head is a treat to use, with instant map re-calculations. Voice quality with a Blackberry Pearl Bluetooth handshake is landline-smooth. Impress your junior exec posse with the real-time energy monitor screen. The display also provides rear camera views, assisted by parking sensors front and rear. For those who still have their self-improvement/Flock of Seagulls tapes, a Logic Control cassette deck is provided. An electric windshield warming bed is found within the climate control screen.

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