i-s

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Greetings all. 

I've hung around many a car forum on the internet over the years. Indeed, I recognise a few names here (well, at least one!). Of late I've been active on Volvo Owners Club (because of my V70 D5) and SpeakEV (because of my Nissan Leaf). 

Now the time has come for the diesel to go, and a deposit was paid today on a GS450h. I've done enough research to know that this is a spectacularly rare example. Once we collect it (another couple of weeks off) and I've done some detailing then I'll reveal...

Nice to be here, I've already picked up some useful bits of info. 

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2 hours ago, i-s said:

Greetings all. 

I've hung around many a car forum on the internet over the years. Indeed, I recognise a few names here (well, at least one!). Of late I've been active on Volvo Owners Club (because of my V70 D5) and SpeakEV (because of my Nissan Leaf). 

Now the time has come for the diesel to go, and a deposit was paid today on a GS450h. I've done enough research to know that this is a spectacularly rare example. Once we collect it (another couple of weeks off) and I've done some detailing then I'll reveal...

Nice to be here, I've already picked up some useful bits of info. 

Welcome 1.(juan?)

We await your contributions and piccies.

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Welocme to LOC!

Is it a brand new GS you paid a deposit for?

It will be 2 long weeks! lol! 

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Welcome to the forum and congrats on your soon to be GS450H.

I have got a lot of good information from hanging around the Speak EV forum.

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12 hours ago, i-s said:

Greetings all. 

I've hung around many a car forum on the internet over the years. Indeed, I recognise a few names here (well, at least one!). Of late I've been active on Volvo Owners Club (because of my V70 D5) and SpeakEV (because of my Nissan Leaf). 

Now the time has come for the diesel to go, and a deposit was paid today on a GS450h. I've done enough research to know that this is a spectacularly rare example. Once we collect it (another couple of weeks off) and I've done some detailing then I'll reveal...

Nice to be here, I've already picked up some useful bits of info. 

Welcome :smile:

It's not that facelift Premier that was linked earlier, is it?

http://usedcars.lexus.co.uk/en/used-lexus/Lexus/GS-450h/35-Premier-19-Alloys-pbbux96

The other ultra rare one in the dealer network (which isn't there anymore) is a red 450h with the LED headlights, sunroof and active cruise control fitted; so pretty much every option there was available at the time.

Yes, I spend far too long looking at used Lexus's even though I only bought mine recently. :smile:

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Thanks all. 

No, it's a used one - it's a 4th gen, pre-facelift. It's the only pre-facelift I've ever seen in the UK with the LED headlights rather than the Xenons. 

We went through a long process of selecting a replacement for the V70. We used to have just the one car, and there's not many cars that can match the V70 for doing everything (wafty cruise, practical load lugging, etc), but petrol V70s all come in at £500+ tax. However, last year we got the Leaf which does my commute and popping to the shops and I'm using to carry stuff when needed. The mileage dropped on the V70 and we started to look about for something a bit special to replace it (and get away from diesel). 

We looked at BMW and Mercedes (E-class coupe was favourite on paper) but came away very disappointed with the interior quality (look fantastic in pictures, cheap and nasty plastics to the touch), the comfort (awful seats in the E coupe, better in the saloon) and finding a petrol BMW or merc with standard (ie not sports, M-sport, AMG-line) suspension and electric seats was a proper needle in a haystack job. 

The only cars that impressed were the GS (and we were much more impressed with the NX in person than on paper, we liked the RX as well) and the Tesla S (which was only driven because I was interested - out of reach for now, and having now sat in a model 3 in the USA I'd prefer a 3). Husband isn't quite on board with having both cars electric (yet...) though.

The more I learned about the engineering of the GS (I'm an engineer), the more impressed I became. The way that the Power Split Device in the Hybrid Synergy Drive works is such a beautifully elegant bit of engineering and it really appealed to me. It overcomes so many of the real problems of auto transmissions. 

It's interesting reading the reviews of the GS hybrids in the motoring press. As an EV driver I've long since come to the view that the motoring press are mostly clarksonesque dinosaur petrolheads who can't cope with change. Most of the complaints around the GS hybrid transmission come down to "the car makes a droning noise at full throttle" - see the Fifth Gear test for a good example of that. In the real world though you accelerate hard for only a few seconds. They all seem to miss the myriad advantages of the smoothness of acceleration (much more akin to an EV), lack of wearing parts like clutches or auto fluid, the lack of kickdown lag or turbolag (which is the main reason that my Leaf is quicker in the real world than most ICE cars around town - fast acceleration isn't much good if you have to wait a second to get to it as the car gets into the right gear and builds boost) and the ability of the GS450h to gear right down to ~1k rpm @ 100mph (there's an autobahn video that shows this). In other words, as far as I can tell from the engineering and my experience, the "e-CVT" (and half of their problems are down to calling it that) is actually pretty much superior to any other mechanical transmission in terms of driving characteristics, it's just the noise that people focus on. Drive with ear defenders on in two different cars and they'd come to a different conclusion. 

Way back in the late 90s my father was buying a new car (and I was in my late teens, just learning to drive). Even then the disparity between what the motoring press said and the reality was quite plain. My father's shortlist was the 7 series, A8, S-class, XJ8 and LS400 - the press loved the A8 and the XJ8 at the time. The S was the first to fall (the grosserwagen W140 was just too big, and needed the 5 litre to move (I should explain, my father had previously owned an S-type 3.8, Rover P6 3500 V8 and an XJ12 5.3 at various times - he demanded a certain level of performance)). The XJ8 was next, as the interior belied the car's very dated roots with a cramped cabin, short seat squabs and shallow boot. The A8 went down next as it was stupid - the 4.2 quattro was epically quick, but the ride and seats involved more concrete than compliance (fine for a sports car, not a luxury saloon). In the end it came down to the magical LS400 and the BMW 7 - in the end of the cars that were available at the time he went for a 740iL 4.4 as the mk4 LS400 was a bit out of reach and the mk3 was a bit off what the BMW was. However, the quality and experience of the Lexus always stuck with me. We did drive a 2nd gen GS300 at the time also. 

I think the 4th gen GS is a car he would have liked - it's also the same colour as his BMW was. 

Shahpor - I thought someone would be watching. It is the latter of the cars you mention. We saw yours on sale also - we've been keeping a close eye on them since July. 

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A wonderful contribution by an informed lady. It made an extremely interesting read for me.

Let`s hope that there will be more of the same!

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5 minutes ago, royoftherovers said:

A wonderful contribution by an informed lady.

I fear you might be disappointed on two counts!

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17 minutes ago, i-s said:

I fear you might be disappointed on two counts!

I fear you're right!

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1 minute ago, The-Acre said:

I fear you're right!

Pray tell, Phil.

Have I been Trumped ? 

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It was a tongue-in-cheek response that I am neither 

1) informed (but fake it well)

2) a lady (definitely don't fake that one well!)

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2 hours ago, i-s said:

The way that the Power Split Device in the Hybrid Synergy Drive works is such a beautifully elegant bit of engineering and it really appealed to me. It overcomes so many of the real problems of auto transmissions. 

Elegant is right. I've said the same thing in another thread but I get the impression that not many people appreciate just how elegant. I think I compared the power split device in its original form with about 22 moving parts, to a typical automatic gearbox with something closer to 350 moving parts. It's nice to see someone else appreciate how impressive this device is.

The elegance of the transmission was probably the number one reason I bought an IS300h. Not only does it get round the problems of auto transmissions but it also overcomes the inadequacies of the internal combustion engine.

Wind back 120 years when there were steam cars, electric and internal combustion engine cars competing for market dominance and the ICE is plagued by problems: it won't start itself (steam and electric can); so the engine has to be running before you get the car moving (not necessary for electric and steam); and it has a limited torque range (electric and I assume steam have maximum torque from stationary).

So to keep up with the competition, the ICE needs something to get it running - a handle will do in the early days. Once the engine is running, it needs something to engage the driving wheels - a clutch is developed that can do this. It then needs something to get over its limited torque at low and high speeds - a gearbox with two speeds in the model T Ford. But despite all these inadequacies it had one trump card to play. Its energy source was much lighter and took up less space than in the competing technologies. The electric car still has the same problem as 100 years ago - the Battery is too big, too heavy and doesn't store enough energy. The steam engine still needs to carry a lot of water and fill it up at regular intervals.

A whole century goes by and the picture barely changed. The engineering of the gearbox became tremendously sophisticated but at the expense of more and more complication. The starter motor and the clutch are far more sophisticated now. But how much better to dispense with them altogether.

Which is why the power-split device is a truly 21st century solution to the inadequacies of the internal combustion engine. It wouldn't have been possible without the incorporation of computers. By contrast, the starter motor, the clutch and the conventional gearbox are still basically 19th century concepts.

So, yes, elegant is right. And it sounds as though you've found a nice example. 

 

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Elegant is right. I've said the same thing in another thread but I get the impression that not many people appreciate just how elegant.

I think the problem is complexity of idea. I only really "got it" when playing with a 3d printed model of a rear diff that a colleague has on his desk. The principle of the PSD is the same, as I'm sure you know, although differing in some of the details and optimisations. Using the output shafts of the diff as the inputs and driving them at different speeds/directions to see the sum effect at the input (output on the PSD) got the concept over to me (but I'm a kinaesthetic learner, so that's what I needed). Although the concepts of how that works are difficult to get, the actual mechanicals are very simple relative to a conventional autobox. 

I fear for complexity in modern ICE vehicles, especially diesel - my volvo terrifies me. It has 2 turbochargers with much associated high-pressure pipework and intercooler, EGR and DPF. Newer ones are even worse in having Adblue SCR systems, etc. They're not terribly reliable as a whole, and then you get onto the issues of auto boxes. Although it used more fuel, my Honda Accord Tourer was the cheapest car to run that I've had, as it had such a simple but well-made engine (chain cam, 4 cyl naturally aspirated). Stick some long-life plugs in and servicing was simply change some oil and filters (it was a manual though). 

Once I understood how the hybrid system works I went from fearing its complexity to realising that it's actually a lot simpler and a lot more reliable than other ICE/transmission combinations (as the ICE part of the hybrid is a big lazy naturally aspirated engine that should go on for ever). The electrical side doesn't frighten me because of my profession. 

Of course, all of that leads to the strong arguments in favour of electric cars - vanishingly low mechanical complexity (few moving parts, no issues with engine mounts, no emissions hardware, etc) and very high reliability combined with very high efficiency - a Hyundai Kona EV will do over 300 miles real world on 64kWh, which is about the same amount of energy as 2 litres of diesel. I very much look forward to having a choice of full electric Lexus, Volvo, etc vehicles.

 

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1 hour ago, i-s said:

2 litres of diesel

mis-type. Should have been 6 litres. 

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Welcome I-s, how are you going to sleep for the next 2 weeks, waiting for your new baby 👍😊

Sounds like a good buy you got your hands on

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2 hours ago, Thackeray said:

the ICE is plagued by problems: it won't start itself

In fairness to Rolls-Royce, I should probably add the proviso that 1930s models apparently could start themselves. It only needed the advance-retard lever to be moved, which I suppose generated one spark, for the engine to start running, even after a month of not being used!

https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/may-1975/48/starting-rolls-royce

https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/march-1975/36/v-e-v-miscellany

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6 hours ago, i-s said:

The more I learned about the engineering of the GS (I'm an engineer), the more impressed I became. The way that the Power Split Device in the Hybrid Synergy Drive works is such a beautifully elegant bit of engineering and it really appealed to me. It overcomes so many of the real problems of auto transmissions. 

It's interesting reading the reviews of the GS hybrids in the motoring press. As an EV driver I've long since come to the view that the motoring press are mostly clarksonesque dinosaur petrolheads who can't cope with change. Most of the complaints around the GS hybrid transmission come down to "the car makes a droning noise at full throttle" - see the Fifth Gear test for a good example of that. In the real world though you accelerate hard for only a few seconds. They all seem to miss the myriad advantages of the smoothness of acceleration (much more akin to an EV), lack of wearing parts like clutches or auto fluid, the lack of kickdown lag or turbolag (which is the main reason that my Leaf is quicker in the real world than most ICE cars around town - fast acceleration isn't much good if you have to wait a second to get to it as the car gets into the right gear and builds boost) and the ability of the GS450h to gear right down to ~1k rpm @ 100mph (there's an autobahn video that shows this). In other words, as far as I can tell from the engineering and my experience, the "e-CVT" (and half of their problems are down to calling it that) is actually pretty much superior to any other mechanical transmission in terms of driving characteristics, it's just the noise that people focus on. Drive with ear defenders on in two different cars and they'd come to a different conclusion. 

 

Shahpor - I thought someone would be watching. It is the latter of the cars you mention. We saw yours on sale also - we've been keeping a close eye on them since July. 

Something tells me you are going to be an interesting person to have around here :smile:

Sorry, was I too quick for you when I bought mine? :tongue:

I browsed the advert for yours a few times because it is not just an unusual spec, but also an unusual colour.  These are rare cars to begin with, so finding a full spec'd red GS450h Premier is indeed a rare event.

I look forward to seeing some proper pictures of it.

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Thanks all. 

Shahpor - it's rare that I'm called "interesting". 👍 We weren't ready to move on the car when yours was up for sale, although shortly after that Sidcup had a meteor blue one that we made an offer on. Meteor Blue was our top colour choice, followed by the Riviera Red of the car we got, with your Mercury Grey third. Silver, White and Black all tied for last place. 

There will be pictures, but first there will be polishing... 

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So spent all of this weekend prepping the V70 and getting it listed on Autotrader. I'm just hoping it sells easily...

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