The Lexus GS450h is proof that there is such a thing as too much torque. The hybrid system teams up with the 3.5-liter V-6 to produce V-8 levels of power to the tune of 340 horses. The problem is that the accelerator pedal is so sensitive that the torque is available at the slightest -- and I mean the slightest -- twitch of a toe. That may sound cool, but it's actually extremely annoying in this Lexus and makes the GS hybrid very difficult to drive smoothly at steady speeds. Surging to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.2 seconds (according to Toyota) is pretty impressive for a largish luxury sedan that's EPA rated at 22 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
The GS's leather upholstery is extremely nice, too, but I have a hard time appreciating it because the driver's seat cushion feels, to me, quite flat and unsupportive (like most Lexus vehicles I've driven in the past several years). I do like the exterior styling of the GS, particularly the side profile, but I think I liked the styling of the early, nonhybrid GSs, like our Four Seasons 2006 Lexus GS430, slightly better. Like that long-term test car, this one has extremely touchy brakes.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor