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  1. 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. 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.
  2. In Feb 2015 I had the front offside shock absorber of my 2007 GS450h replaced by my local Lexus dealer. Today - 2 years 5 month later they tell me it's leaking!! Anyone any idea of a definitive source of info about the expected life of these things? I'm not going to let this rest. Anyone used the Motor Ombudsman Service? - it seems Lexus UK are a member.