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Road Test: Lexus GS 300h 2.5 F-Sport 4dr CVT (2014-2015)

£41,690 when new
4/10
Road test score

Car specifications

Budget
£41,690
Brake horsepower
223bhp
Fuel consumption
56.5mpg
0–62 mph
9.20s
CO2
115g/km
Max speed
119Mph
Insurance Group
33E

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This is Lexus going through the motions. Plodding. It’s disappointing to have to report that, but despite a brand new powertrain, one borrowed from the smaller IS saloon, the GS300h executive remains an underachieving car in too many ways.

Here are the facts of the matter. It features a 2.5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine mated to an electric motor, and together they deliver a total of 217bhp to the rear wheels. Despite that, 0-62mph takes a lengthy 9.2secs. But that’s OK, the Lexus isn’t, even in £41,745 F Sport guise, a sporting saloon. Not even if it has Sport and Sport+ modes complete with a dash that digitally rearranges itself to show a rev-counter instead of a power meter. That bit is clever.

The cabin’s nice, too, right up there with Audi and BMW for design and execution. And as long as you meander around gently, the Lexus is quiet and rides with a placidity that’s very appropriate and becoming. That’s how it should be. So don’t have an F Sport, have an SE, which costs from £31,495, and save yourself the money. Become even more anonymous, true, as lesser models don’t have the F Sport’s visual impact, but relax and waft about.

Provided you do no more than that, the GS300h is adequate. But our chief problem isn’t that it lacks charisma or doesn’t drive with the same verve as a BMW, it’s that the hybrid system, the one thing that sets Lexus apart, the one thing you’d expect them to work hardest on, has failed to move the game on at all. Brush the throttle, just to coax the GS away from a set of traffic lights, and the engine fires. You can’t crawl along in heavy traffic for more than a few minutes before the 4cyl has to fire to top the battery.

It’s always been like this since the first RX appeared almost 10 years ago, but now we have cars like the i3 and 918 that are doing exciting things with electric,
and Lexus is failing to keep pace. OK, so if you’re a company driver the figures look good - 109g/km CO2 and 56.5mpg. But don’t be disappointed when you don’t achieve that. If our experience is anything to go by, you’ll be lucky to top 40mpg. And that when an equivalent diesel will knock on the door of 55mpg. On top of that, the GS has nasty brakes, a horrid CVT gearbox and tragically spongy throttle response. Come on, you’re Lexus, you can do better than this.

Ollie Marriage

The Numbers

2494cc 4cyl, electric motor, RWD, 217bhp, 163lb ft 56.5mpg, 109g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 9.2secs, 119mph, 1730kg, £41,745

The Verdict

New engine, same problems. The GS may be smooth and refined, but the hybrid system is extremely average.

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