2010 Lexus GS 450h revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 27, 2009

Lexus is preparing some new interesting launches for 2010, among which an upgraded version of the full hybrid GS 450h luxury sport. The new version will feature styling updates, a new range of colours, revised Pre-Crash Safety system and other innovative navigation and audio packages.

The Pre-Crash system is updated with a pre-crash brake technology, meaning that in case of a rear impact, the inflator integrated in the headrests slides a piston that unlocks a mechanism and projects the headrest forwards and upwards, reducing the risk of serious injuries. 

The new GS 450H range is fitted with two new audio systems, a 10-speaker Lexus premium package and a 14-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound System giving 5.1-channel surround sound on selected CDs and DVDs.

The systems have a "sound library" function due to the navigation system's HDD which can transfer and store music from CD up to 10GB capacity. 

The exterior design shows a sophisticated new front grille with horizontal bars, hybrid- blue rear lamps incorporating larger transparent outer lenses and redesigned 18-inch alloy wheels.

Lexus' new version of the 450h will have available a range of 11 exterior colours including Vanilla Mist, Richmond Green and Atlantic Blue.

Powertrain

Underpinned by the GS platform, the Lexus GS 450h's Lexus Hybrid Drive technology allows the vehicle to deliver V8-like performance while consuming less fuel per kilometers traveled and emitting less harmful pollutants. Moreover, Lexus Hybrid Drive technology gives more merit to the brand's smooth, quiet operation.

Powering the rear-wheel-drive Lexus GS 450h is a hybrid powertrain that employs a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a permanent magnet electric motor – providing a combined 340 horsepower to accelerate the vehicle from zero to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds.

This hybrid powertrain provides the Lexus GS 450h with a quick yet powerful torque during mid-range acceleration. This is primarily because its electric-drive motor could provide maximum torque instantly when demanded.

Such instantaneous torque delivery is most noticeable and most useful when the Lexus GS 450h is passing other vehicles between 30 mph and 50 mph passing and during traffic-merging maneuvers. The better news is that despite such power, the Lexus GS 450h returns EPA-estimated fuel economy figures of 22 mpg city/25 highway/23 combined.

Moreover, the Lexus GS 450h has been certified as a Super-Low Emissions Vehicle II (SULEV II). Lexus GS 450h could be operated in three ways: electric only, gas only, or a gas-electric hybrid. While other hybrid vehicles use the electric motor for slow-speed driving, Lexus' offering employs the electric motor to boost its highway performance -- making it the first hybrid to do so.

Interestingly, the V6 engine that powers the Lexus GS 450h features an Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i) and a dual fuel-injection system that fuses the advantages of direct injection and of port injection.

This V6 also features Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which manages the intake and exhaust valves to boost power and torque across a wider engine speed range. Moreover, the vehicle features two motor-generators, MG1 and MG2, each having its own specific functions. However, both could work as a motor and a generator. MG1 – the engine-driven generator -- is typically used as a starter motor and does not provide motive force.

However, MG1 could charge the battery pack or provide additional power to MG2 – the driver motor – when needed. Providing the juice to the motor is a 288-volt DC Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack placed behind the rear seat area.

Its power is transmitted through a "boost converter" that could raise its voltage to a maximum 650V DC, which is then changed to AC by an inverter. This powers the 147-kW electric motor that could turn up to 14,400 rpm.

Meanwhile, a 12-volt auxiliary battery powers a number of vehicle systems like audio and navigation. On the other hand, power from the V6 and MG2 is transmitted to the rear wheels through a planetary gear-type Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT), which has no specific gear ratios.

ECVT – which consists of a motor generator, a two-stage motor-reduction device, motive power-dividing mechanism, a hydraulic control system and an electrically powered oil pump -- features a two-speed torque-multiplication device that paves way for three driving modes: Power, Normal and Snow.

"Normal" mode allows for smooth vehicle operation and is suited for city or suburban driving. On the other hand, "Power" hikes accelerator pedal response, while "Snow" mode softens accelerator pedal response to make it less difficult to drive on slippery road surfaces.

This two-stage torque-multiplication device works by varying the gear ratio in two phases by managing a planetary gear and two wet brakes – just like how a typical automatic transmission operates.

This enables the electric drive motor to operate in high or low ranges, even seamlessly shifting between the two. Thereby, MG2 could generate power not just for acceleration, but also for cruising at higher speeds. During starting or when traveling slowly and during low-load driving, the Lexus GS 450h goes full electric, which results to an intensely quiet operation.

The Lexus GS 450h also features a regenerative braking system that uses the motors as generators. During coasting or braking, the electric motors capture kinetic energy that would typically be lost as heat, transforming it into electricity for recharging the batteries.

Press Release

The Lexus GS 450h

The Lexus GS 450h hybrid luxury sport sedan enters the 2010 model year with stylish exterior changes. Several exclusive design features, including grille, clear taillamp covers and 18-inch alloy wheels, were updated for 2010 and add to the existing advanced technology, high performance and indulgent luxury of the rear-wheel-drive Lexus GS 450h. Unique, blue hybrid badging is shared across the Lexus hybrid line-up and also distinguishes the Lexus GS 450h from the gas-powered GS 460 and GS 350.

To further enhance the driving experience, iPod®/USB connectivity, streaming audio via Bluetooth® and an integrated satellite radio receiver are added to the standard Lexus Premium Sound System. The optional Lexus Navigation system has been updated to a new hard disk drive based system with Voice Command casual-language voice recognition and Bluetooth phonebook download capability. The navigation system also features an integrated XM NavTraffic®, XMWeather™ and XM® Sports/Stocks receiver and comes with a complimentary 90-day trial subscription. Finally, two all-new telematics products are available with a complimentary one-year trial subscription. Safety Connect™ is standard on non-navigation equipped vehicles. Lexus Enform™, which automatically comes with Safety Connect, is only available with navigation-equipped vehicles.

Engine/Transmission/Drivetrain/Performance

Based on the GS platform and featuring Lexus Hybrid Drive technology, the Lexus GS 450h offers V8-like performance with greater fuel efficiency. In addition to boosting performance and fuel efficiency while lowering emissions, Lexus Hybrid Drive technology also further accentuates the brand's renowned smooth, quiet operation.

A full hybrid, the Lexus GS 450h is capable of operating in gas-only or electric-only modes, or a combination of the two. With its unique transmission, the Lexus GS 450h was the first hybrid vehicle to enable the electric drive motor to contribute to highway performance, not just slow-speed driving.

The Lexus GS 450h model's version of the Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain combines a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine with a compact, permanent magnet electric motor - all driving the rear wheels. The hybrid powertrain collectively produces 340 horsepower and can effortlessly accelerate the Lexus GS 450h from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.2 seconds.

Just as impressive as the Lexus GS 450h's acceleration from a stop is how quickly and powerfully torque is delivered during mid-range acceleration. The hybrid system's electric-drive motor delivers maximum torque immediately upon demand. This unique power-delivery characteristic is most noticeable, and most useful, during 30-to-50 mph passing and in traffic-merging maneuvers. The Lexus GS 450h returns EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg city/25 highway/23 combined and is certified as a Super-Low Emissions Vehicle II (SULEV II).

One of a new generation of Lexus engines, the gasoline V6 uses an Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i) and a dual fuel-injection system that combines the benefits of direct injection with those of port injection. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) operates on the intake and exhaust valves to further enhance power and torque across a broad engine speed range.

The Lexus GS 450h hybrid powertrain uses two motor-generators, MG1 and MG2 (the drive motor). Each performs specific functions and can operate as both a motor and a generator, although MG1 is used as a starter motor and provides no motive force. The engine-driven generator (MG1) can charge the battery pack or provide additional power to MG2 as needed.

A 288-volt DC Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack is installed behind the rear seat area. The battery's power is directed through a "boost converter" that can efficiently raise voltage to a maximum 650V DC. An inverter changes this to AC, providing its elevated power to the 147-kW electric motor, which turns as high as 14,400 rpm. A 12-volt auxiliary battery powers various vehicle systems, including audio and navigation.

Power from the gas engine and MG2 is distributed to the rear drive wheels via a planetary gear-type Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT). This special transmission, which eliminates specific gear ratios, features a two-speed torque-multiplication device that allows drivers to select from among three driving modes: Power, Normal and Snow. "Normal" provides the smoothest operation and is ideal for city or suburban driving; "Power" sharpens accelerator pedal response, and "Snow" mode softens accelerator pedal response making it easier to travel on slippery road surfaces.

The ECVT consists of a motor generator, motive power-dividing mechanism, two-stage motor-reduction device, electrically powered oil pump and hydraulic control system. The two-stage torque-multiplication device varies the gear ratio in two stages by controlling a planetary gear and two wet brakes, similar to the way a conventional automatic transmission operates.

This configuration allows the electric drive motor to operate in high or low ranges, with seamless transitions between the two. MG2 can therefore contribute power not just for acceleration, but at higher cruising speeds as well.

The Lexus GS 450h is driven solely by its electric motor when starting, traveling slowly, and during low-load driving, the resulting super-quiet operation enhancing the luxury experience. A regenerative braking system further boosts system efficiency. When the vehicle is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric motors function as generators, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost as heat through the brakes and transforming it into useable electricity to recharge the batteries.

Chassis/Body/Suspension/Tires/Brakes

The Lexus GS 450h matches its powerful acceleration with responsive handling while maintaining the ultra-comfortable ride that is synonymous with the Lexus brand. Instead of attempting to mask noise, the engineers designed fans and motors to significantly reduce cabin-noise intrusion. Fluid-filled front-engine mounts, additional sound-absorbing asphalt sheets behind the instrument panel, and a sound-absorbing windshield further enhance the quiet ride that redefines the term "Lexus-like."

Double-wishbone front and multilink rear suspension systems endow the Lexus GS 450h with engaging handling performance. Like the V8-powered GS 460 gas model, the GS 450h is equipped as standard with Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), a driver-selectable shock absorber damping system.

The standard 18 x 8-inch aluminum alloy wheels are unique to the 2010 GS 450h and equipped with 245/40R18 Z-rated summer performance tires; all-season run-flat tires are available. An optional Active Power Stabilizer system helps to further reduce body sway during cornering. The system uses an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to calculate the force needed to counter excess body sway, which is then applied to the stabilizer bars by front and rear electric-powered actuators.

The Lexus GS 450h is equipped with the brand's highest level of dynamic handling technology: the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system that goes beyond the capability of other stability and traction-control systems. VDIM is designed to anticipate the onset of a vehicle slide while cornering and then help to automatically correct the situation with a combination of braking, throttle and steering control in a way that is essentially transparent to the driver. VDIM integrates Electric Power Steering (EPS), Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS), Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Electronically Controlled Brakes (ECB), and Traction Control (TRAC).

Safety/Security Features

All Lexus GS models implement a wide array of advanced safety systems. The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) includes variable-force front airbags for both the driver and front passenger. Sensors are designed to determine the severity of an impact and in turn the airbag deployment force, helping to provide an appropriate level of occupant restraint. The GS features a total of eight standard airbags including seat-mounted side airbags for the front seats, knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, and front and rear side-curtain airbags.

The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) can help reduce damage in an accident. A millimeter-wave radar sensor helps detect obstacles in front of the car, while vehicle speed, steering-angle and yaw-rate inputs help to determine whether a collision is unavoidable. In such a situation, PCS switches the AVS to sport mode to help provide appropriate chassis response, preemptively retracts front seat belts, and pre-initializes BA so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal. The active-braking feature will automatically apply the brakes up to a deceleration rate of 0.3 G's if the driver fails to react to system warnings.

The Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) helps illuminate a curve as the driver steers into it. Intuitive Park Assist (IPA) uses ultrasonic sensors to detect the presence of objects close by and warn the driver of their proximity.

Luxury/Comfort/Convenience

As the top model in the GS line, the Lexus GS 450h features the highest level of standard luxury equipment and includes features that are optional on other GS models: 10-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers, rear back-up camera and headlamp washers. Controls are simple and intuitive, avoiding needless complexity.

A power-tilt and telescopic steering wheel helps ensure a comfortable driving position. The standard dual-zone climate-control system filters the air. The SmartAccess keyless entry and push-to-start ignition allows the driver to keep the access fob in a pocket or purse. A rear power sunshade adds to passenger comfort on warm days.

Luxury Options

All styles of music come to life in the ultra-quiet Lexus GS interior with the optional 7.1-channel Mark Levinson® Premium Sound system. Featuring a total of 330 watts playing through 14 speakers, the system allows users to play both CDs and DVDs. DVD movies can be viewed on the color seven-inch touch screen when the vehicle is in "park" and the parking brake is engaged.

The available Hard Disc Drive (HDD) Lexus Navigation System eliminates the need for DVD map discs and offers enhanced Bluetooth® with phonebook download and Voice command, a casual-language—based voice recognition feature. This new technology allows the driver to give more flexible, conversational commands for easier access to audio, climate, and navigation system functions. Voice command helps users avoid having to speak commands in a specific order―making tasks easier to accomplish, in fewer steps, and helping to allow drivers to focus more on the road ahead.

System functions include multiple route calculations, route preview, simplified highway junction graphics, and a dual-map screen mode. Bluetooth wireless technology allows the transfer of personal phone books to the navigation system, from which the driver can make hands-free phone calls.

Exterior Design

The current generation GS sedans introduced the brand's L-finesse design language. A 112.2-inch wheelbase, long hood, pulled-back cabin and short rear deck create a confident, powerful stance for the GS. A low 0.27 coefficient of drag (Cd) helps to maximize highway fuel efficiency and minimize wind noise. Subtle visual differences distinguish the Lexus GS 450h from other GS models. These include a blue hybrid designation on the side rocker moldings, aluminum-and-blue enameled rear model designation, front grille, special 18-inch light-alloy wheels, a Lexis Hybrid Drive engine cover, blue front and rear "L" logos, a blue tint to the headlamps, clear tail lamp covers and a power meter that replaces the tachometer.

Interior Design

Ultra-premium wood, polished-metal accents and leather trim endow the GS interior with a lavish yet high-precision feel. Touch points convey quality, and controls respond fluidly. Regency leather-trimmed seats are available in Light Gray, Parchment or Black leather matched with wood trim in Dark Gray Bird's-eye Maple, Golden Bird's-eye Maple or Red Walnut, respectively. The wood and leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel - featuring audio and multi-information display controls - is complemented by a matching shift knob. The three-pod analog instrument cluster features an electrochromic display and variable-transparency glass for high visibility in a variety of light conditions.

Lexus Enform and Safety Connect

The Lexus GS 450h offers an all-new telematics system, Lexus Enform with Safety Connect, available by subscription. Complimentary one-year trial subscriptions are included on all purchases of new Lexus vehicles equipped with these features. Both the Lexus Enform and the Safety Connect response center operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—every day of the year.

Safety Connect, the cornerstone of the services, is available on both non-navigation and navigation-equipped Lexus GS 450h and offers four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Enhanced Roadside Assistance, which adds GPS data to the already included warranty-based Lexus roadside service.

Lexus Enform, available only on navigation-equipped vehicles, includes all of the Safety Connect features and builds upon them with the premium services of Destination Assist and eDestination. Destination Assist agents are available via the on-board cellular equipment and can help drivers find a specific address, a business by name, or a type of business (e.g., gas station, movie theater, etc.), and even Zagat®-rated restaurants, and then send the coordinates to the navigation system for routing. With eDestination, drivers can go online via LexusDrivers.com to save and sort destinations in up to 20 folders, each holding as many as 10 destinations. Then drivers can send the locations—up to 200 at a time—to their vehicle, where they will be available for download into the navigation system. Online, drivers can create personalized location names (e.g., "Favorite sushi," "1 PM Appt," "Kids' doc," etc.) and even list notes about their saved locations, all helping them see exactly the information they choose in the vehicle.

Lexus Insider, a complimentary, opt-in service is also available without a subscription on all Lexus Enform-equipped vehicles. This feature offers in-vehicle audio casts that provide owners access to useful vehicle tips and event information, and insights into exclusive owners' benefits - all designed to further enhance the Lexus experience.

XM - Beyond Radio

Lexus Enform vehicles are factory ready for subscriptions to a variety of innovative XM services. An integrated XM® satellite radio receiver is standard. Additionally, Lexus Enform vehicles feature XM NavTraffic® and XM NavWeather™ services. XM NavTraffic informs the driver of current traffic conditions with real-time traffic displays. When traffic problems are detected the navigation system alerts the driver so that the route can be adjusted. XM NavWeather provides near real-time weather conditions as well as spoken and nav-screen forecasts, both based on official National Weather Service data.

Lexus Enform also provides the platform for XM® Sports and Stocks, which features in-vehicle updates on sports and stocks so drivers can stay connected to their favorite teams and investment data while on the road.

XM Sports provides game results and schedules for up to five personally selected national league sports teams while XM Stocks supplies data for up to 10 personally selected stocks. After inputting their selections, drivers can access the reports through the navigation system, or by using the voice command system, adding a new level of flexibility.

XM services require separate XM subscriptions. The XM Sports and Stocks service is included with an XM® radio subscription. All XM services offer complimentary 90-day trial subscriptions.

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