Although Lexus already showed the new GS, in the form of the GS350, at Pebble Beach, today's unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show gave us our first look at the new hybrid Lexus sedan -- the 2013 GS450h.
The hybrid model is an important part of Lexus' strategy both in the U.S. and in Europe, as the company hopes to eventually spread Lexus Hybrid Drive to all of its model range. That will help Lexus reduce its average carbon dioxide emissions levels, an important metric for vehicle fuel economy in Europe.
"Lexus Hybrid Drive is our defining technology," said Lexus Europe vice president Andy Pfeiffenberg."It will deliver... efficiency across our European line.
With regard to the new car, Pfeiffenberg said Lexus listened to criticisms from owners and journalists alike. He said that although the last Lexus GS hybrid was praised for refinement and comfort, the driving experience was lacking. As a result, the new GS450h has a stiffer body, improved braking system, and better handling.
Not only is the 2012 GS450h quicker and more fuel efficient than its predecessor, Lexus says the car is also quicker and thriftier than "key" diesel-powered competitors. Pfeiffenberg didn't say which competing vehicles he was referring to, but we think Audi and BMW sedans are likely targets.
"The GS450h shows the new face of Lexus," Pfeiffenberg said. He hopes the car will help Lexus increase its sales volume in Europe. Sales have already been bolstered by the introduction of cars like the CT200h hybrid; in 2010, Lexus sold 30,000 vehicles across Europe. This year, the company expects to sell 45,000 across the continent.
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