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2008 Lexus GS 450h Hybrid

2008 Lexus GS 450h Hybrid

Chevy Impala FlexFuel

Mercedes-Benz C-Class FlexFuel

Chevy Malibu Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC

Chrysler Town & Country

Mercury Grand Marquis

Honda Civic Hybrid

Nissan Altima Hybrid

Lexus GS 450h Hybrid

Toyota Camry Hybrid


Sporty and hybrid. Performance and environmentally protective. Some word combinations seem to be naturally opposed to each other. Oxymorons aside, the Lexus GS 450h Sport Sedan probably takes a little explaining. Normally one would think of a hybrid vehicle as slower go transportation, with tender-footed response on the throttle and a healthy respect for the colored light bars that spike and fade on special gauges to calculate energy activity. If that's all there is, then how come Lexus owners can cruise around with V-8 equivalent power and still achieve the kind of mileage normally reserved for less endowed fuel sippers?

Lexus GS 450h Hybrid Interior
Lexus GS 450h Hybrid Interior

The 2008 Lexus GS 450h hybrid has one of the most powerful hybrid powerplants. Rear drive, as any self-respecting performance car should be, it's propelled by a combination of 3.5-liter V-6 engine and "compact, permanent magnet motor." That produces a solid 340-horsepower and a screeching 5.2-second zero to 60 capability. This is luxury car living as it should be for those willing to get along at a combined 23 miles per gallon (22 mpg city and 25 mpg highway) on premium. That's 30 percent better than most V-8s, boasts Lexus. The presence of "body sway control" in cornering from the Active Power Stabilizer suggests the potential of performance driving.

Unlike some other hybrid technologies, the GS 450h uses a "full hybrid," meaning it can operate solely with its gasoline powered engine, cruise on electricity alone, or be powered by a combination of both. It also has a secondary electric motor to help recharge the 288-volt nickel metal hydride battery pack and provide startup power. Special GSs 450h exterior touches enhance the sport look of the long hood, pull-back cabin and short rear deck. Wood, leather, available Mark Levinson Premium Sound and navigation system are inside. Among safety features, a "precollision" system brakes and preps safety restraints when a collision is unavoidable.

Expect about a mid-$50K base for all this conscience-soothing gusto. A small price for the best of both worlds.