Written by: Sammy Chan
Photography by: Sammy Chan
捍衛環保, 人人有責. 話雖如此, 現實的汽車市場往往都會令我們對富有人家存有一種偏見, 認為他們所駕的車子大部份都是構成環境污染的窮兇極惡. 莫談那些殺氣滿面的巨無霸越野車或那些只講求引擎容積而不講求效率的跑車充斥高檔汽車市場, 大部份的豪華車輛鑒於動力系統和車體各種元素便難免有差強人意的耗油表現, 唯靠普羅大眾所開的小形汽車才可與環保扯上一點關係.
然而, 豪華房車和高性能跑車都有一定的市場價值, 我亦深信, 富豪亦全不是對環保漠不關心的, 只不過市場現就沒有一部可兩全其美的選擇, 除能滿足他們對座駕的起碼要求之外, 於消耗燃油和廢氣排放方面都不會對環境構成威脅.
凌志也是看準這點才決定以雙動能版 Hybrid 的 LS 600h L 來作為 Lexus 的旗艦, 此舉其實亦是一個非常冒險的嘗試, 但欲要在市場上獨樹一幟就不得不有這種抱負和精神. 但待 LS 600h L 尚未正式在加拿大市場推出之前, 凌志 GS 450h 仍乃現今市場上唯一最豪華兼擁有最高性能的雙動能豪華房車.
GS 450h 是繼 RX 400h 之後第二部進軍高檔雙動能汽車市場的凌志產品. 正當同系之 GS 350 及 GS 430 都有多款設備不同的選擇之時, GS 450h 則只設一款樣樣皆齊之型號, 售價為 $76,900, 比裝備相若的 GS 430 Premium with Navigation 相宜了五千三百元. 由於這類車子的車價原本已高, 再引進雙動能版本之後, 價格增加的幅度也相對較少, 反較能讓該層次的買家見獵欣喜.
一台馬力渾厚的 3.5 公升 V6 引擎原已為 GS 450h 帶來了強勁的開始. 除備有智慧式雙可變閥門計時的先進設施之外, 這台引擎還設有凌志最新研發混合直接和缸口燃油噴注系統的科技. 於 6400 轉時, 引擎的最大馬力輸出為 292 匹及於 4800 轉時, 其最高扭力為 267 磅呎. 與其匹配的電磁馬達 magnet synchronous motor 也是一副有很高功率的機器, 而輸出亦有馬力和扭力之分. 從 5615 至高達 13000 轉之間, 馬達的馬力就有 197 匹, 而最大扭力亦是極佳的 203 磅呎, 並可在低至接近怠速階段全數揮發出來.
292 匹再加 197 匹, GS 450h 豈不是擁有接近五百匹馬力? 單獨來看, 這固然不錯, 但當兩者一起運作之時, 為了互相配應及作出協調, 最終的動力輸出也因而有所降低, 混合之後的最大馬力為 339 匹. 以學術角度來看, 將快推出的凌志頂級 LS 600h L 則有配合得較為理想的混合輸出, 其五公升 V8 引擎和電磁馬達的馬力是分別為 389 匹以及 221 匹, 最後輸出為 438 匹馬力, 數比上看來是較佳的配塔.
座於引擎右下方的電磁馬達為驅動系統提供廣泛的輔助作用, 除可作為車子起步時的唯一驅動能源之外, 此電磁馬達亦有增進車子的加速功能, 作用有如一副渦輪增壓器或超級增壓器般, 助長引擎本身威力, 令加速性能有所提升, 此點而非其節約能源的本質才是 Hybrid 今回令筆者對之刮目相看的特點.
感覺上, 來自電磁馬達的推動反應似乎還比渦輪增壓器或超級增壓器來得較為迅捷些少, 駕臨之時亦靜寂驚人, 全沒有後二種輔助設施所慣常發出的呼呼聲響. 每逢驅駕大馬力的高性能車輛之時, 我向來都不大願意將油門施壓或在無需要的情況之下肆意加速, 無謂浪費金錢亦不想因而有所內疚, 但今次則不同, 電磁馬達不僅提升性能和增強此車的駕駛情趣, 且亦沒有在燃油消耗方面帶來了額外的負擔. 可高舉環保旗幟但暗底裡則以跑車將之看待, 那種沒有約束的舒暢感覺是同級車中所難以尋找得到的.
Lexus GS 450h 的加速力意外地強勁, 至於零至 100 km/h 的表現如何, 雖然廠方只發佈為六秒以下, 但應會與同系的 GS 430 相若, 即為 5.7 秒左右. 廠方說, 透過一副電子無段變速系統來傳遞動力的雙動力組合是好比一台容積 4.5 公升的 V8 引擎, 但耗油表現則低如一般 V6. GS 450h 的正式耗油數據為市區 8.7 L/100 km 以及高速公路之 7.8 L/100 km, 而合共之數據則為 8.3 L/100 km. 廢氣排放方面, GS 450h 亦迎合了為 Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) 所定設立的標準.
內廂佈局與外形, 性能表達一致, 予人高科技高性能的感覺. 三個呈隧道狀的獨立式儀錶醒目怡人, 顯示更是富跑車化味道, 而 GS 450h 最特別的便是那個取替轉速錶的電力錶 power meter, 以 kilowatt 指數示人. GS 450h的標準設備除有先進的泊車感應系統之外, 還包括了衛星導航系統, 而 GS 的導航系統也是那麼高科技化的, 除導航指南外, 你亦可用手指在營幕上觸控氣溫系統以及音響系統, 此系統雖然十分過癮, 但試車時間根本不多, 駕駛享受已然不足, 更沒有閒暇去研究怎樣使用了, Lexus 一湧便推出八般武藝出來, 又如何教人一時間完全消化呢？
讀者或許會問, 在 GS 同系之中, GS 450h 的受歡迎程度又如何? 依廠方最新之六月份銷售發佈所示, , GS 450h 在 GS 車系中所佔的比例為百分之十九, 與之比較, 豐田 Camry Hybrid 和 凌志 RX 400h 在其所屬系列中則佔較重份量, 分別為 24% 及 22% 不等. 無論如何, 凌志將雙動能科技應用在 GS 這款性能豪華房車上, 再次證明這種科技的運用範圍非常廣泛, 在環保意識前題之下, 亦能兼顧駕駛樂趣與性能表現, 是其他車廠所難以對衡的.
Protecting and improving the environment we live in is the responsibility of each and every one of us, from junior to seniors and from the poor to the rich. Having said that, one can’t help but wonder whether the automotive market has left us with an impression that those well-to-do are not really doing what they have purported to do all along. You don’t have to drive too far to have this impression endorsed, with all those fat Hummers and steroid-laden sports cars overwhelming the landscape of Forest Hills and Bridle Paths.
It’s probably unfair to put the blame solely on the consumers as all luxury and high-end vehicles are dictated by their bodily size and mechanical necessities. However, most luxury and performance vehicles are warranted in the marketplace and I also believe that the riches are just as concerned about global warming as our ordinary citizens. It’s just that our car market is still void of sensible choices, of vehicles that not only satisfies our needs and wants but would also put very little burden on the environment.
It is probably with this in mind that Lexus is chasing after its high-end customers with its ongoing pursuit of hybrid technology and has now even crowned the hybrid LS 600h L as its company flagship. But before this ultimate Lexus goes on sale in the market in Canada, the Lexus GS 450h hybrid remains the most luxurious and most expensive hybrid that one can proudly display outside one’s mansion without feeling frightened of being labeled an environmental antagonist.
The Lexus GS 450h is the second hybrid offering from Lexus after the RX 400h and is the first full hybrid in the world to feature front engine and rear wheel drive layout. While both the GS 350 and the GS 430 could be had with different trims and drivetrain configurations (GS 350 is available in either RWD or AWD), the GS 450h is offered in only one trim, a well-equipped model with an MSRP of $76,900.
It helps that the Lexus GS 450h is equipped with a very powerful 3.5-litre V6 engine from the start. Besides featuring advanced technology like Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) on intake and exhaust cams, this engine is also equipped with the new Lexus-designed combined direct and port fuel injection system delivering a peak power of 292 hp at 6400 rpm and maximum torque of 267 lb-ft at 4800 rpm. Working hand-in-hand with the engine is a high torque magnet synchronous electric motor that drives the rear wheels. Powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery, this electric motor produces 197 hp from 5, 615 rpm to a dizzy 13,000 rpm, and provides 203 lb-ft of torque from zero to 2,840 rpm.
Simple mathematics may lead one to think that this is one heck of a machine, capable of more than 500 horses in total. But because of the different mapping of these two powerhouses, the combined total has thus been reduced to 339 hp, still plenty enough to equate it to a 4.5-litre V8 engine. For academic purpose, coupling of the engine and the electric motor appears to be better matched in the soon-to-be-released LS 600h L. With 389 hp coming out of its 5.0-litre V8 and 221 hp from the motor, its effective total of 438 hp does seem to have a mathematical advantage over the Lexus GS 450h.
Located on the right underneath side of the engine, the electric motor could serve as the sole power supply when the GS 450h is operating under light load such as at low speed or cruising downhill, hence negating fuel consumption totally during such condition. When performance is called for, the motor will also lend a hand in delivering optimum power to the rear wheels. It is also this second function that truly amazes as few realize that hybrid power could be used as anything other than conserving energy.
Having driven turbos and superchargers in even stratospheric vehicles like Porsche 911 and Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG (S65 and CL65 are biturbos) respectively, I could subjectively say that the response from the electric motor is even more "electrifying" and immediate when one floors the gas pedal. Often in the course of testing some powerful vehicles, I am caught between my urge to extract all those power and my conscience to the environment, but this is one time when I harbors no guilt feelings testing a performance car at all, really just like having your cake and eat it too.
Acceleration is unexpectedly strong in the Lexus GS 450h. Although manufacturer’s data reveal that acceleration from 0-100 km/h is less than 6 second, the GS 450h should get you there in about 5.7 second as demonstrated by its V8 sibling, the GS 430. According to Lexus Canada Inc., the GS 450h consumes 8.7 litres of fuel per 100 km in the city and 7.8 litres per 100 on highways, with a combined figure of 8.3 litres per 100 km. Emissions from the hybrid is also super clean as it complies with the Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) standard.
Performance and luxury are also well blended in the GS 450h cockpit. Quality is top-notched and use of materials is both modern and tasteful. Gauges are sportily styled and it is worth noted that the traditional tachometer has now been replaced with a power meter using kilowatts as unit of measurement. With no options in place, the GS 450h is loaded with a back-up camera, touch-screen navigation system and an audio system that audiophiles will gladly have in their Christmas wish list- a Mark Levinson 14 speakers audio system.
Although Hybrids are still well-suited for single-minded vehicles, it can play a valuable role in luxury and performance automobiles. As to how well the GS 450h has been received in the market, the most recent release from Toyota Canada reveals that both the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Lexus RX 400h fared better than the Lexus GS 450h, occupying 24% and 22% respectively in their own model line-up compared to the latter’s penetration rate of 19%. Nevertheless, there’s no competition in its sight as the GS 450h holds the best fuel consumption per horsepower equation in the luxury category.
型号 Model: 2008 凌志 Lexus GS450h
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $76,900
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2850
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4825 / 1820 / 1425
引擎 Engine: 3.5-litre DOHC Dual VVT-i V6
最大馬力 Horsepower-HP: 339
波箱 Transmission: 電子無段變速系統
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: 雙願骨, 圈彈簧, 穩定桿
後懸 Suspension-Rear: 多連桿, 圈彈簧, 穩定桿
煞制 : 前後通風碟
循跡操控系统 ABS/Traction Control: Standard
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 245/40 R18