A performance-focused hybrid system in the 2008 Lexus GS 450h combines a 292-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with an electric motor system driving the rear wheels. Altogether, the hybrid powertrain makes 339 horsepower and can push the 450h to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds--faster than the V-8-powered GS 460.
The hybrid powertrain is very responsive, especially for quick passing maneuvers, and pins you back in the seat in hard acceleration. It's a full-hybrid system, meaning you can crawl ahead in slow traffic with electric power alone. During most driving, the system uses a combination of the gasoline engine and electric power, and it charges the battery system with the engine and during braking. But the system in the 2008 Lexus GS 450h is calibrated for performance, rather than absolute fuel economy, so EPA estimates are 22 mpg city, 25 mpg highway.
The 2008 Lexus GS 450h isn't at all averse to being driven like a sport sedan. The shifter has a manual mode that simulates six different gears, and there's impressive stability in corners, even when the road surface turns rough, thanks to the double-wishbone front suspension and multilink rear. The electric-assist steering is well weighted, but it doesn't convey much road feel.