Best of both worlds

Best of both worlds

Dave Helm, director at IT firm Blue Logic Computers, puts the latest Lexus Hybrid Sport to the test and finds a surprisingly potent mix of power and style.

Y14motorsINSETWhen I heard rumours that the car I would be test driving would be the new Aston Martin I could barely contain my excitement. It’s fast, powerful and luxurious – what more could a man in his late twenties want? Well ok thirties.

But then my dreams of cruising up the A1, with the engine roaring and the wind blowing the few strands of hair I have left were shattered as the car was not available.

I was gutted. But I soon picked myself up when I heard I was test driving the new top of the range Lexus GS450h F Sport. Although the two cars are at total opposite ends of the market, I was still excited to test drive the Lexus as I’m all for going green, and haven’t driven a hybrid before.

Plus I didn’t believe that it could do 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds! Oh how I was wrong. When the car arrived I found myself with a smile on my face even though it was pouring with torrential rain. Although it’s a saloon car, it was sleek yet imposing and oozed an executive air.

Once inside I felt reassured by its high quality craftsmanship and superb finish. Then there are the luxurious leather seats and the excellent driving position. I was impressed. It was comfortable yet very stylish.

The next thing to catch my attention was the dash board with its huge 12.3” LED screen; believed to be the world’s widest in-car multimedia display. It’s attractive and colourful so immediately gives the impression it’s easy to use.

However I didn’t find it to be. The mouse function was a bit of a faff to get used to, the menu wasn’t easy to navigate through and for the life of me I couldn’t find out how to turn off the voice navigation in the Sat Nav option. Having spent 15 years in IT, you’d think this would be easy for me.

The car had all the usual gadgets you would expect to find from the electric steering column control to a keyless ignition but my favourite was the innovative blind spot indicators used in the side mirrors.

I think this is a great feature and could even help to reduce the amount of accidents we have on our roads. As soon as I set off, I instantly thought I had forgotten to turn the engine on.

It’s as quiet as a thief in the night when in Hybrid mode and in the end I found it to be quite soothing and relaxing. There are no harsh engine or revving sounds to remind you that you are in a hurry or stuck in traffic jams. It was a concern though when people were stepping out in front of me in car parks as they simply didn’t hear the car approaching.

I live in a rural area so the torrential rain and floods hindered me from pushing the car to its limits but instead I was able to see how it handled in the adverse weather conditions and again I was impressed.

Although the gear changes felt relatively slow the car gripped to the road, powered through the wet roads and handled corners exceptionally well.

Once the clouds parted and the rain ceased I grabbed the opportunity and slammed my foot on the accelerator pedal to see if this car could really power its way through and reach 60+ mph in under six seconds and surprisingly it did. So I have to hold my hands up and say I was wrong for doubting it.

Overall I like this car as it reminds me of Alan Sugar; on first impressions he’s a powerful and intense business man but when you get to know him he’s cool, calm and a smooth operator.

The Lexus GS 450h that Dave Helm of Blue Logic Computer Systems test drove was supplied by Lexus Leeds, Domestic Road, Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 6HG, Tel: 0113 251 1411, www.leeds.lexus.co.uk The Lexus GS 450h is priced from £44,995.00