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Published Date: 05/09/2017

Lexus is one of the world leaders in hybrid car technology, and the marque’s established and continuously-improving powertrains are perfectly placed - at a time when attention is switching away from diesel and on to such environmentally-aware forms of fuel. The question is whether to choose the GS or IS saloon.

Dramatic styling

The latest IS retains its forerunner’s sports focus, which is accentuated like never before through an aggressive implementation of Lexus’ spindle grille that grabs attention wherever it goes, flanked by gaping air inlets and distinctive, tick-like L-shape daytime running lights. The IS 300h is the most radically-styled car in the compact executive saloon segment and oozes dynamic flair along the sides and at the rear, each aerodynamic line reinforcing its rakish allure, particularly in F-Sport trim.

Lexus’ GS, meanwhile, competes in the mid-size executive saloon market and once again offers both business and private drivers something much more exciting than its German counterparts. The family spindle grille is wider and slightly more subtle and sophisticated in GS 300h Executive, Luxury and Premier trims, the sportiest GS grabbing attention in the form of the GS 300h F-Sport with larger alloys and even more muscular body styling.

Conclusion: Lexus’ IS and GS share similar sporty and dynamic styling so the choice really comes down to what size of car is required, the larger GS proving the most accommodating and comfortable.

Japanese-inspired interiors

Drivers of the Lexus IS 300h can thank Japan’s highly experienced Takumi craftspeople for the array of exquisite details that can be discovered, from distinctive wood inlays to an elegant analogue clock. Choosing a trim that includes Lexus Premium Navigation with its large HD display and clever Remote Touch control interface is well worth it. The IS 300h’s hybrid drivetrain slightly reduces boot space in comparison to its petrol counterpart but the 450 litres on offer compares well alongside German rivals.

Leather seats with 10-way adjustment are standard inside the larger GS 300h mid-size saloon, which also comes with Premium Navigation, Remote Touch and parking sensors as part of its extremely generous equipment list. The GS’ finely trimmed leather steering wheel is a joy to hold and operate, and drivers of Premier trim models will marvel at Lexus’ incorporation of the world’s first pelvic support system. Front and rear occupants enjoy increased space inside the Lexus GS, which has a 480-litre boot.

Conclusion: The Japan-inspired interiors of both the IS and GS blend tradition and modernity together perfectly and boast high levels of technology, but for added comfort and space, the cossetting GS is remarkable.

Hybrid from the technology’s pioneers

Business and private drivers who make the wise decision to choose hybrid power for their next saloon cars need look no further than the original champions of the technology - Lexus.

With a strong chassis, sophisticated suspension, excellent road-holding and advanced aerodynamics, the rear-wheel drive Lexus IS is truly a driver’s car. With hybrid power at its heart, it’s also one of the most fuel efficient sports saloons on the market, emitting a mere 97g/km CO2 in SE trim and offering fuel economy of up to 67.3mpg. The IS 300h benefits from the immediate power surge of hybrid technology, helping it reach 62mph in just 8.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 125mph.

The larger GS saloon is slightly more comfort focussed, particularly in Executive, Luxury and Premier trims, but can be specified with paddle shifts for added driver engagement. In GS 300h guise, performance credentials from its 2.5-litre petrol electric hybrid powertrain match the more compact IS’ horsepower and torque, whilst acceleration remains highly respectable at 9.2 seconds, as do emissions at just 104g/km CO2.

A more powerful version of the Lexus GS luxury saloon is also available in the form of the GS 450h which, as a Full Hybrid performance model, is equipped with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine combined with battery and electric motor technology. Accelerating to 62mph in a rapid 5.9 seconds is remarkable in itself, but thanks to the nature of hybrid power, it’s also an extremely smooth experience. The GS 450h can return fuel consumption of upto 46.3mpg and emits 141g/km CO2 in Premier trim.

Conclusion: Combining luxury with exceptional smoothness, plenty of power and green environmental figures, the Lexus GS 300h is an extremely good all-rounder.

In numbers…

 

IS

GS

 

Min

Max

Min

Max

Power (HP)

181

181

181

352

Fuel (comb MPG)

61.4

67.2

45.6

64.2

Emissions (CO2, g/km)

97

107

104

145

Top Speed (mph)

125

125

118

155

0 – 60mph in…. (seconds)

8.3

8.4

5.9

9.2

Price

£30,105

£41,875

£36,125

£54,050


Coming from the world leaders in hybrid car development, it’s no surprise that Lexus’ IS and GS saloons are highly accomplished, their F-Sport variants excelling at providing a sporty driving experience, while Luxury and Premier trims major on opulence. Standing out from the crowd is guaranteed by each of these environmentally aware executive saloons.

 

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