Lexus Hybrid Luxury Car Said to Chew Pavement and Sip Gas

Lexus plans 2007 debut for GS 450h hybrid powered by 3.5-liter V-6 gas/electric system that will accelerate from zero to 60 m.p.h. in about 6 seconds, similar to the performance of a 4.5-liter V-8, but get mileage in the high 20 miles per gallon, similar to a 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine.

Published: 03-Apr-2005

YORK -- Hybrid technology will take a new twist next spring when Lexus brings out the 2007 GS450h, a sedan for those who want high mileage without sacrificing high performance.

The GS450h sedan will be the second Lexus hybrid, joining the RX400h sport-utility vehicle.

"The GS450h will be quicker than a V-8 powered GS430 and significantly more fuel-efficient than a V-6 powered GS300," said Mark Templin, vice president of marketing for Lexus, in unveiling the car at the New York Auto Show.

Templin said the 450h's 3.5-liter V-6 gas/electric system will accelerate from zero to 60 m.p.h. in about 6 seconds, similar to the performance of a 4.5-liter V-8, but get mileage in the high 20 miles per gallon, similar to a 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine.

Templin didn't give a price, but said the GS450h will be the premium offering in the GS stable. GS models range in price from $42,000 to $52,000 now.

Lexus also used New York to unveil the 2006 IS, "designed to appeal to young luxury buyers seeking a sports sedan with swagger and sophistication."

The '06 IS will be built off a version of the GS platform, which means it will be larger than the model it will replace.

It will be offered as the IS350 with a 3.5-liter, 300-horsepower V-6 teamed with a six-speed automatic with paddle shifting. The IS250 will be powered by a 200-h.p. 4-cylinder teamed with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

The IS350 will feature a more aggressive version of the VDIM stability control system found in the new GS430. VDIM, unlike current stability control systems that make corrections after a skid, anticipates the potential for a skid and makes braking, throttle and steering corrections to prevent one.

The IS250 will be offered in rear-wheel- or all-wheel-drive, with AWD expected to account for about 30 percent of sales.

Upgrades to the IS line include a choice of 17- or 18-inch radial tires, knee air bags for driver and front passenger and iPod andMP3 compatability.

Templin said the new IS should account for about 45,000 annual sales, a 600 percent increase from the current pace.

Accelerated XLR: Next up in Cadillac's performance V-Series is the XLR-V powered by a new supercharged 4.4-liter V-8 that delivers 440 h.p. and produces 425 foot-pounds of torque, or 120 h.p. and 115 foot-pounds more than the 4.6-liter V-8 in the XLR roadster.

With its six-speed automatic, the XLR-V can accelerate from zero to 60 in less than 5 seconds, said Cadillac general manager Jim Taylor.

The V-Series will be set apart from the regular XLR with a wire mesh grille; domed hood; 19-inch, run-flat, Pirelli radial tires; and ebony and aluminum accents throughout the cabin. It will also feature larger brakes; stabilizer bars; stability control; and, for the first time on a Cadillac, adaptive lights that adjust front headlamp direction in turns by up to 15 degrees .

No price as yet though it's normally aspirated cousin starts at $76,650. The XLR-V goes on sale this fall. Taylor said sales will be limited to about 300 to 500 units.

Staging a coupe: Nissan officials said just because it had a small, two-door Sport Concept at the show that looked like a rival for the two-door Scion sports coupe, it doesn't mean that Nissan plans to come up with a series of small, affordable vehicles aimed at youth like Toyota did.

Though the Sport Concept was on prominent display at the show, Nissan officials didn't make a formal presentation. It was suggested that after saying the coupe wasn't a future rival to Scion, Nissan officials couldn't make it on stage because they kept stumbling on their noses, which had grown exceedingly long. But that rumor couldn't be confirmed.

Isuzu grows: Isuzu will expand its model offerings beginning in July with the addition of the midsize 2006 i-280 and i-350 pickups.

Isuzu has only one model in the fold, the Ascender sport-ute that's derived from the Chevrolet TrailBlazer/GMC Envoy.

The new midsize trucks are variants of the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon, which are derived from the Isuzu D-Max built in Thailand.

The i-280 is powered by a 2.8-liter 4-cylinder, the i-350 by a 3.5-liter 5-cylinder. The i-280 will be offered only as a rear-wheel-drive extended cab, the i-350 only as a 4WD crew cab.

Isuzu, which sold more than 27,000 SUVs last year, expects the trucks to account for about 10,000 sales annually.

Evo update: Mitsubishi has given the 2006 Lancer Evo that goes on sale this fall a freshening. The 2-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder gets a power boost to 286 h.p. from 276 now, as well as new front fascia and grille, smoked front and rear lamps, new aluminum pedals and high-back rear seats. A new Evo is slated for 2008.

Suzuki SUVs: In addition to launching four new vehicles in two years, Suzuki will introduce a pair of SUVs in the next two years.

One SUV, which debuted as the Concept X at the Detroit Auto Show in January, is a new midsize sport-ute expected for the 2007 model year. The other, the Concept X2 unveiled in New York, is a compact that's expected to replace the Grand Vitara for '06. Suzuki also used the show to announce that the Concept X will be built alongside the Chevy Equinox and Pontiac Torrent SUVs at the GM-Suzuki plant in Ingersoll, Ontario this fall.

The X2 will offer such features as electronic stability control with traction control, anti-lock brakes, side-curtain air bags, automatic climate control and 18-inch radials.


Playing catch-up a decade late, the world's auto giants now find that they have to lease or buy technology from Toyota.

Spc. Jeffrey Hamme and Staff Sgt. Michelangelo Merksamer of HHC, 1/506th Infantry, point out features of the Hybrid Electric Humvee at the AUSA Annual Meeting earlier this month. The two Soldiers participated in a Military Utility Assessment of the prototype vehicle last month at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Ford's 'Hybrid Patrol,' a 10-city initiative this fall that aims to show hybrid drivers how to drive for best fuel economy. EV World photo of Bill and Lisa Hammond on way to first Ford Patrol event in Detroit during stop-over in Omaha.


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