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It’s been around a year since I purchased my GS450h.  I figured it might be useful to others to do a review of what a year of owning one of these cars is like.

My Car

It’s 2008 (MKIII) GS450h SE-L, with ACC (adaptive cruise control), PCS (pre-collision system), and a sunroof.  This means it’s the top model, with every option ticked.  It’s black with light grey leather, and piano black wood including wood inserts on the steering wheel.  At the time I bought the car it had approximately 58,000 miles on the clock.  It’s now on about 72,000.  I bought it from Lexus Edgware Road.

 

Driving Experience

I’ll get to the point, it’s fast.  When the Battery has charge and the 3.5 V6 is warmed up it’s very quick, especially above 50 mph.  The rate at which you can gain speed when you floor it once you’re already moving is incredible.  Off the line it’s quick without being ridiculous, and if you find yourself in a situation where the Battery is depleted (say, having crawled through slow traffic for a mile or two), outright full bore acceleration is blunted as you’re relying purely on the V6 to haul 1900 KG of car and driver up the road.

While undeniably quick, I wouldn’t describe the GS as ‘fun’ to drive on a twisty road.  It’s certainly competent, and between point A to point B is probably just as rapid as the obvious competition, but I do have the sense that you’d be having more fun in a BMW 5 Series.  The handling is predictable, grip is good, but you do get the sense the car would rather you stopped being silly and drove properly.

The flip side of this is that it’s outstandingly comfortable when driving at 7/10ths, and is quiet, comfortable, and competent.  So, it’s fast, but it’s not sporty.  I also find myself missing the soundtrack of a car accelerating through the gears, but that’s mostly because I’m immature.

The rest of the time when you’re not driving like you're qualifying it’s a very smooth and comfortable drive.  The radar cruise control is absolutely excellent, as is the stereo and infotainment system.  Following a few weeks of driving brand new Lexus courtesy cars I was glad to leave their garish graphics and contrived menus behind and get back to the simplicity and elegance of my decade old GS450.  I’m half considering a GROM VLINE to bring connected apps into the car, but at £500 there are more pressing uses for my money.

I do with the car had a bigger fuel tank.  With my fuel consumption (see below) I'm generally needing to refuel after about 320 miles.  An 80 litre tank would make my trips to the forecourt far less frequent.

The silent running when stuck in traffic (as I frequently am in Cambridge) is really enjoyable, as is the feeling of cruising along burning no fuel.  This is an addictive quality of hybrids that is hard to appreciate if you’ve never driven one before.

Obviously subjective, but in terms of looks I think it looks best from the rear three quarter view, and overall it’s not as good looking as a Mercedes CLS or properly specced BMW 5 Series.

 

Maintenance

Since I bought my car from Lexus, it came with a 12 month warranty.  In the 12 months I’ve owned the car the following things have been replaced under warranty (remember this is a relatively low mileage car with a full Lexus service history, bought from a Lexus dealer).

  • TPMS sensor
  • Water pump
  • Offside rear shock absorber
  • Driver side washer jet
  • Passenger side washer jet
  • Driver’s door mirror
  • Front passenger seatbelt and mechanism

I’m not quite sure what this lot would have cost had I been paying myself, and to be honest I probably would have sorted the easy ones myself, but I’d say it’s comfortably in the £1,200 to £1,500 range.

I had an issue with my brake light switch which was resolved by the AA (cover included as part of the Lexus warranty).

I’ve had the car serviced once in my ownership, that was relatively cheap at around £250, including the Lexus Owners Club discount.  My next service at 80,000 miles will be a bit chunkier at around £500 but that’s some months away.

Last October I bought four new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres to replace the budget tyres Lexus sold it with.  The Michelin PS4s were around £650.  Tyre wear is predictable and I expect the Michelins to last about 15,000 to 18,000 miles.  I’m perfectly happy with this as this as the PS4 is a high performance tyre and they’ve barely lost traction in the entire time they’ve been fitted – money well spent.

I’ve had one wheel refurbed following a close encounter with a kerb, which was £85 from Lexus.

I bought a front wiper blade at around £20.

I’ve not spent anything on the brakes since ownership, though I will need new discs and pads front and back in the next few thousand miles, for which I’m looking at £700 ish.

I’ve taken the two year Lexus warranty which is £1095, which I’m paying off at 0% over 12 months.  This seemed like a no-brainer given the relatively high number of issues thus far, plus for peace of mind.  You don't need much to go wrong on a decade old £50K Lexus before you comfortably cover the warranty outlay.

 

Fuel Consumption

This is where Fuelly comes into its own.  Every time I’ve refuelled the car I’ve (very anally) entered the details into the app.  Screen shots below.

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y4mftADJNdc9LFrhygyjykJjUtZAuI1hocV67sZP

 

In terms of outright fuel consumption it’s not what you’d call economical, but it is pretty good relative to its size, weight, comfort and especially performance.

To put the 28 mpg of my GS450 in context, over the same sort of use in my BMW E46 330i I was getting 23 mpg, in a Toyota Prius 1.8 I get 46 mpg, and in a Volvo S80 D5 I was getting 38 mpg.  It seems I have a heavy right foot, or I’m just a rubbish driver, or maybe both.

As stated above I wish it had a bigger fuel tank.  320 miles between fill ups isn't ideal.

 

Owning my Lexus

My local Lexus dealer - Cambridge - is also essentially the same as my local Toyota dealer so I see them a lot between warranty claims on my Lexus and regular servicing on my 20,000 miles per year Prius.  I’d say they are pretty good, but hardly exemplary.  The staff are lovely when you’re there, the coffee is good, and they have the option of collecting my cars from my office and dropping back, which is really convenient.  I have needed to escalate and push to get things done in a reasonable time, and I’m not sure they are really that switched on when it comes to customer retention.  I’ll carry on using them but I’m not sure I’d chose a car because of them…

 

Will I keep my Lexus?

In short, yes.  I certainly plan to run my GS450 for at least another two years while it’s still under warranty and potentially more if it seems to be holding up well.  I’m not entirely sure on what to replace it with anyway.  My experience of modern Lexuses have left me a bit cold, and aside from a MKIV GS450h not much else appeals.  I’ve looked with interest at the Infiniti M35h but an E Class convertible appeals despite the diesel engine.

 

Thoughts on Lexus as a brand

I’m not sure I necessarily see myself as a dyed in the wool Lexus owner.  I really like my car and appreciate its virtues but the current range of Lexus cars doesn’t really stir me, and the absence of non-SUV Lexus estate means when I need to replace my family transport Toyota Prius with something bigger I’ll end up looking at E Classes and 5 Series which is annoying as something like a GS300h Estate would be ideal.  As a Lexus driver there is a slight feeling of being in a Toyota with better quality materials and finish, which isn’t really surprising but may not be what everyone wants from their luxury motoring.

 

Would I recommend a GS450?

Hell yes!  Brilliant car and if you buy well/have a warranty/are lucky then it’s also very cheap to run.  In my view I’m running a £50K car with almost all the peace of mind of a new car but at a far reduced cost.

 

Thanks for reading.

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Many thanks Andrew, I enjoyed reading that summary.

It is as you say, an outstanding motor car, with features not appreciated by everybody although it lacks features required by younger and more enthusiastic drivers.

I would be disappointed with only 18,000 miles from Michelins, but then I am no longer a young and enthusiastic driver.

I regularly obtain more than 450 miles from a tank of fuel.

I look forward to your next report in twelve months time.

Regards

John

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Andrew / @Odysseus, well done that's a great review and should prove very useful to other owners and potential buyers alike :thumbup1:

It's interesting to see what work/parts you've had fitted too. Apart from a new exhaust shortly after purchase (subsidized by the vendor) mine has only needed service items - long may that continue.

Like John I regularly get 450+ miles from a tank although i don't boot it everywhere/all the time.  Checking my pump-2-pump records over 18 months / 15.7k miles of ownership...I've averaged 35mpg.  I used to get a slightly higher average when I sat on the A1 for hours at a time but I now mostly drive back lines / town with just the odd long run (who needs a 106 mile commute - each way!).

I'm also very happy with my GS and enjoy every trip.

Oh and finally, where are the :kewlpics: ?!

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Good read thank you for this. Some of the content makes me wonder if its worth keeping my CLS for a bit longer. I am surprised at the amount of relatively high number of issues you have had with such a low mileage. Purchasing a warranty seems to be a good idea with the GS450h, quite a few threads popping up recently with Hybrid issues and exhausts falling off etc. But they are gettting to that age where only so much would be covered on a warranty. Food for thought, I may have to stretch the budget for the newer model.

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Some pictures as requested.

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19 hours ago, Odysseus said:

Would I recommend a GS450?

Hell yes!  Brilliant car and if you buy well/have a warranty/are lucky then it’s also very cheap to run.  In my view I’m running a £50K car with almost all the peace of mind of a new car but at a far reduced cost.

What a great review! Thanks for posting. I've just bought a 10 year old LS600h from Lexus Stoke. Just over 101k miles but they were happy (for a small additional cost) to give me a full three year manufacturer warranty with the car. As with your GS450, the peace of mind that the warranty offers means I can enjoy the car for three years (at least) without worrying about the potentially big bills that accumulate quickly. It was interesting to read about the work that you have had done on your car too. When you bought it, did it have a good Lexus service history or was a mix of Lexus and other independents?

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What a great review! Thanks for posting. I've just bought a 10 year old LS600h from Lexus Stoke. Just over 101k miles but they were happy (for a small additional cost) to give me a full three year manufacturer warranty with the car. As with your GS450, the peace of mind that the warranty offers means I can enjoy the car for three years (at least) without worrying about the potentially big bills that accumulate quickly. It was interesting to read about the work that you have had done on your car too. When you bought it, did it have a good Lexus service history or was a mix of Lexus and other independents?


Thank you! I get so much from forums like this and it seemed the least I could do to give something back, so to speak.

To answer your question the service history of my car is 100% Lexus main dealer, with a reassuring quantity of entries in the MyLexus history to show previous owners used Lexus dealers for any quibbles.


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Great review, and I agree with everything you have said I have had 2 MK3 GS450h and a MK 4 and its certainly a car I would go back to if they still built them, and in a couple of years your tempted to change your 450h i guarantee your love the MK4 even more, better everything, including m.p.g

IMG_0004.JPG

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1 hour ago, wendle said:

Great review, and I agree with everything you have said I have had 2 MK3 GS450h and a MK 4 and its certainly a car I would go back to if they still built them, and in a couple of years your tempted to change your 450h i guarantee your love the MK4 even more, better everything, including m.p.g

IMG_0004.JPG

Chris is right, the mpg should be better, I am getting out of mine 39+mpg average, for example my BMW e60 525d on the same route (mostly home-work-home) was getting 35-37mpg!

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Nice review and useful info - thanks for posting. 

On 8/17/2018 at 11:42 AM, Odysseus said:

in a Toyota Prius 1.8 I get 46 mpg

That, sir, is a genuinely impressive lead foot. Respect!

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In terms of ride & handling has anyone every gone over to better springs & coil-overs ?

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On 8/19/2018 at 10:06 AM, Initial P said:

In terms of ride & handling has anyone every gone over to better springs & coil-overs ?

Changing the suspension to coil overs would possibly be detrimental as the GS450H has adaptive variable shock absorbers a switch to select normal or sport mode. The sport mode adapts the shocks to your driving style with 17 steps of adjustment. This along with variable steering ratio, and on some versions variable anti roll bars noted by the extra 12 volt Battery in the boot to drive the ARB system.

John

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12 minutes ago, Initial P said:

What about the non hybrid GS range ?

It's possible that coil overs might improve the handling by lowering, and stiffening, but possibly at the detriment to ride comfort.

John.

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It's possible that coil overs might improve the handling by lowering, and stiffening, but possibly at the detriment to ride comfort.
John.


I tend to agree with John on this one. As I said in my opinion at the beginning of this thread I think a standard GS450 is an extremely capable tool and with the adjustable dampers provides a very tight ride with limited roll which allows better cornering speeds in the right conditions. This coupled with the throttle set to ‘Hybrid Power’ gives you a very pokey point to point machine.

All that said the steering is a bit lifeless, the chassis doesn’t really tell you what it’s doing at the limits and there’s very little sense you’re in something that wants to be thrown around, regardless of how well it might dynamically cope with such treatment. I don’t think any of this would be ‘better’ by lowering the suspension or adding firmer springs even if your ‘virtual fastest lap’ might be 0.5 seconds improved.

I’m not really knocking the GS for this incidentally, and based on experience I do think the equivalent BMW might be more rewarding at this kind of thing, even though the same BMW would lag behind in terms of refinement, reliability, driving serenity and so on.


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BMW with that power (similar to GS450h) will be more rewarding but it also will be less (much less) comfortable with crushy and noisier suspension. Friend of mine drove me yesterday in his BMW e60 535d that has about 340-360bhp (mapped) and as much as I love BMW and still admire e60 shape I had no regrets to go Lexus! Plus BMW will be lighter due to not having hybrid batteries which helps handling.

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Interesting review.

I have now owned mine just over 24 months and have done almost 40,000 miles. I am averaging 34.8 MPG (actual) over those miles, and my two year warranty has just run out - it has saved me £10k plus worth of work (lots done).

The car has been great and is now approaching 12 years old and no further warranty is possible. Fingers crossed now!




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11 hours ago, Diesel Do Nicely Brian said:

Interesting review.

I have now owned mine just over 24 months and have done almost 40,000 miles. I am averaging 34.8 MPG (actual) over those miles, and my two year warranty has just run out - it has saved me £10k plus worth of work (lots done).

The car has been great and is now approaching 12 years old and no further warranty is possible. Fingers crossed now!




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 I believe that it is possible to extend the warranty if the mileage and age criteria were met when the extended warranty was first taken out and has not been interrupted.

I mentioned this to Lexus Chester  only last week and they had to read the warranty to see that I was correct Brian.

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 I believe that it is possible to extend the warranty if the mileage and age criteria were met when the extended warranty was first taken out and has not been interrupted.
I mentioned this to Lexus Chester  only last week and they had to read the warranty to see that I was correct Brian.


Thanks for this information. If this is indeed the case I can see me owning my GS450 for quite some time!


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13 minutes ago, Odysseus said:

 


Thanks for this information. If this is indeed the case I can see me owning my GS450 for quite some time!


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Read your documentation Andrew. Refer to all of the relevant parts, not just  the first sentence/paragraph which seems relevant.

Please let us all know how you get on 

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Excellent review Andrew. I enjoy reading reviews where the person has owned the car for an extended period. With the issues you have had the warranty was well worth the extra cost. I was a little surprised at the mpg figure, but after reading what YOU get from other cars, then it is not that surprising. I do shake my head a little when I read people banging on about BMW's Your statement below says it all to me. Horses for courses I suppose.

On 8/20/2018 at 6:57 PM, Odysseus said:

I’m not really knocking the GS for this incidentally, and based on experience I do think the equivalent BMW might be more rewarding at this kind of thing, even though the same BMW would lag behind in terms of refinement, reliability, driving serenity and so on.
 

 

 

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On 9/1/2018 at 10:55 AM, royoftherovers said:

Read your documentation Andrew. Refer to all of the relevant parts, not just  the first sentence/paragraph which seems relevant.

Please let us all know how you get on 

Very cryptic of you John, and I like being tested, though I have to admit I've looked through the T&Cs and I can't see anything that suggests the warranty is indefinitely extendable, unless you're referring to part F of the 'Eligible vehicle' section, which states "is less than 10 years old and has less than 140,000 miles on its milometer at the start of the first Warranty Period" (emphasis is mine). 

Additionally however, the clarifying notes for that section include "We will not provide a Lexus Extended Warranty for any vehicle which is older than 8 years from the date of its first registration" which would seem to contradict the statement above it that I referenced.

It must be stated that I'm not a lawyer so I'm very happy to be corrected on my interpretation on any of this.

Lexus warranty Terms & Conditions: https://d3rvezpmgp265q.cloudfront.net/lexusone/lexgbenv11/Lexus-Extended-Warranty-Terms-and-Conditions_tcm-3157-1184113.pdf?_ga=2.261681546.649040480.1536137243-310123032.1535537556

Taken from the Lexus website:  https://www.lexus.co.uk/owners/warranty/

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On 9/5/2018 at 11:07 AM, Odysseus said:

Very cryptic of you John, and I like being tested, though I have to admit I've looked through the T&Cs and I can't see anything that suggests the warranty is indefinitely extendable, unless you're referring to part F of the 'Eligible vehicle' section, which states "is less than 10 years old and has less than 140,000 miles on its milometer at the start of the first Warranty Period" (emphasis is mine). 

Additionally however, the clarifying notes for that section include "We will not provide a Lexus Extended Warranty for any vehicle which is older than 8 years from the date of its first registration" which would seem to contradict the statement above it that I referenced.

It must be stated that I'm not a lawyer so I'm very happy to be corrected on my interpretation on any of this.

Lexus warranty Terms & Conditions: https://d3rvezpmgp265q.cloudfront.net/lexusone/lexgbenv11/Lexus-Extended-Warranty-Terms-and-Conditions_tcm-3157-1184113.pdf?_ga=2.261681546.649040480.1536137243-310123032.1535537556

Taken from the Lexus website:  https://www.lexus.co.uk/owners/warranty/

Thanks for taking up the challenge Andrew.

I have just arrived in Andalucia having driven 1870 miles from Wirral in the Merc Estate, so have not been  on the Forum for 6 days.

I was referring to part F and support your views in your first paragraph.

In my view the statement "we will not provide" etc refers to a new Extended Warranty and therefore is different to a continuing Extended Warranty.

Regards

John 

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46 minutes ago, royoftherovers said:

Thanks for taking up the challenge Andrew.

I have just arrived in Andalucia having driven 1870 miles from Wirral in the Merc Estate, so have not been  on the Forum for 6 days.

I was referring to part F and support your views in your first paragraph.

In my view the statement "we will not provide" etc refers to a new Extended Warranty and therefore is different to a continuing Extended Warranty.

Regards

John 

Lovely, a bottle of Rioja this eve?

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