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Lexus lobs GS300h

New addition: The GS300h kicks off from 79,000 for the Luxury variant and tops out at $102,000 for the Sports Luxury.

More equipment and price reshuffle as Lexus adds second hybrid to GS range


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27 Nov 2013

LEXUS has given its mid-size GS range a shot in the arm with the addition of the entry-level GS300h hybrid, giving the premium marque some much needed firepower against its European diesel rivals.

The GS300h is available in three specification levels, kicking off with the Luxury from $79,000, F Sport from $87,000 and Sports Luxury that starts at $102,000, excluding on-road costs.

This marks a $2000 premium over the base GS250 petrol variant in F Sport and Luxury guises.

The addition of the new hybrid variant gives Lexus a competitor for its German rivals’ base diesel offerings including the Audi A6 TDI that’s priced from $79,500 and the BMW 520d and Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI (both $82,400).

Powering the GS300h is a 164kW 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with an electric motor and nickel-metal battery, matched with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

This is the same powertrain found under the bonnet of the IS300h and while it matches the smaller vehicle’s power output, the heavier GS is slightly thirstier, with fuel consumption of 5.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, compared to 4.9L/100km.

The GS300h is the second hybrid variant to join the mid-size line-up, following on from the GS450h that has been available since the model launched in May last year.

Lexus has taken the opportunity to make some pricing alterations and add some extra gear to the range, including the introduction of an eight-speed transmission to GS350 variants.

The Lexus ‘lane keep assist’ safety system is now standard on all Sports Luxury variants and is available as an option on the GS350 and GS450h F Sport.

Further to this, the top-spec Sports Luxury variants gain bigger 19-inch alloy wheels, replacing the 18-inch hoops and LED fog-lights as standard.

Lexus has tweaked the head-up display so it projects navigation audio and vehicle speed information in full colour on to the vehicle’s windscreen. While most prices in the range have risen, Lexus has brought the cost of the GS250 models down by $45 each, so the Luxury is now priced at $77,000 and the F Sport retails for $85,000.

The GS350 F Sport is up by $855 to $99,900, while the Sports Luxury cops a $2555 hike for a new price of $111,600.

Topping the range is the GS450h hybrid F Sport, up by $200 to $112,100 and the Sports Luxury is $1600 more than before for a price of $123,500.

Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley said the Japanese luxury brand was p[leased to offer another hybrid option in its growing passenger car range.

“Lexus is the luxury hybrid pioneer and the introduction of the GS300h has a significant part to play in the continued growth of hybrid vehicle sales in Australia,” he said.“GS300h brings the total number of Lexus hybrids on sale up to seven, and we believe that this will help us achieve our goal of a 50/50 split in sales of hybrid and conventional engine vehicles in the future.”

Sales of the GS have slowed this year, with 420 units sold to the end of October compared to 512 in the same period last year, marking an 18 per cent drop.

By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class has sold more than twice that this year, with 1108 sales and the BMW 5 Series is sitting on 939 units sold so far.

The GS is still light years ahead of its only real Japanese competition – the Infiniti M – which has sold 37 cars in the first 10 months of 2013 following its local launch in January 2012.

Lexus could face competition from within its own camp from now on, with the return of the similarly proportioned ES to its line-up last month.

Lexus GS range pricing*
250 Luxury (a)$77,000 (-$45)
300h Luxury (a)$79,000
250 F Sport (a)$85,000 (-$45)
300h F Sport (a)$87,000
350 F Sport (a)$99,000 (+$855)
300h Sports Luxury (a)$102,000
350 Sports Luxury (a)$111,600 (+$2555)
450h F Sport (a)$112,100 (+$200)
450h Sports Luxury (a)$123,500 (+$1600)
*Excludes on-road costs.

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