WHEN you enter the rather rarified atmosphere of the mid sized executive car sector there are some extremely good and very tempting models to consider from the world’s leading premier manufacturers especially from the UK, Germany and Japan, writes Bryan Longworth.
They come from Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes but while they are all top performers in every way there is one car that in my opinion is the smoothest of them all as far as power units are concerned and that is the latest Lexus GS 450h Luxury petrol-electric hybrid.
For Lexus is the only manufacturer from this elite group who provide a hybrid power unit for their car with the others using petrol and diesel engines, all among the best in the world.
But for sheer smooth power delivery the latest Lexus GS must arguably be the best because it is so quiet and silky and yet as the following stats show it is also quite fast with a top speed of 155mph, a zero to 62mph time of 5.9 seconds and quite frugal with a combined fuel consumption of 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 141g/km.
Petrol power is provided by a 3.5-litre V6 engine and this works with the electric motor to provide a combined power output of 341bhp and the rear wheels are driven through a CVT automatic gearbox that can also be used manually and there is a choice of three driving modes.
This hybrid unit powers the latest GS which has a more distinctive and slightly larger body that attracts plenty of attention and attracted many admiring glances at the Chatsworth Country Fair where there were plenty of exotic cars around.
The GS is literally loaded with standard kit such as smart 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, rear view camera with parking guide monitor, leather seats, sat nav and front and very effective parking sensors.
My biggest surprise came when I started driving the test car and put my foot down on a straight and quiet Pennine country road I enjoy using and was amazed at its acceleration and its zero to 62mph figure of 5.9 seconds is up there with some very fast and expensive machinery.
I also found that the steering and roadholding were also up for it and the big fast Lexus could be driven in a very sporting manner that would more than satisfy any owner who wanted to blow the cobwebs away.
There is a very roomy and luxurious interior with a large boot at the rear that is big enough for all the holiday baggage and beneath the load area is a space saver spare wheel.
The only niggle concerned the electronic parking brake switch location low to the left of the steering wheel - it took me quite a time to find it.
But this apart I really enjoyed my time with this latest Lexus largely because it was so versatile being a luxurious larger executive car with the ability to perform like a genuine sporting car when the driver felt like some stimulating motoring!
My Verdict: A very stimulating executive car.
Model: Lexus GS 450h Luxury.
Power unit: 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and electric motor.
Combined output: 335bhp.
Transmission: CVT automatic with manual function.
Top speed: 155mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 5.9 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 45.6mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 141g/km