Lexus HS250h unveiled at Detroit auto show 2009

Published: 12 January 2009

Lexus showed off its latest hybrid car at this week’s Detroit auto show 2009: the new HS250h. The new combination of letters and numbers confirm this is a new additional petrol-electric hybrid to sit alongside the existing models such as the GS450h, RX450h and LS600h.

It’s shorter than, but as wide as, the Lexus IS and is in the compact executive mould. Sadly, there are no current plans to sell the car in the UK – the HS250 is aimed squarely at the American market.

The HS was launched on the 20th anniversary of Lexus’s launch back at the Detroit auto show in 1989. It’s a reflection of how far the brand has come in those two decades – one Toyota suit bragged it had transformed from ‘question mark to benchmark’, which neatly summarises Toyota’s achievement with its luxury brand.

Tell me the tech spec on the Lexus HS250h

The HS hybrid uses a 184bhp 2.4-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine, mated to Toyota’s latest iteration of its petrol-electric drivetrain. It’s front wheel drive and, although no economy figures have been released yet, Lexus claims it’s more efficient in town than a conventional Smart Fortwo.

It’s a slippery shape with a drag figure of just 0.27 to cleave the air efficiently, and the construction methods are also green: 30% of the interior materials are plant-based eco specials, so we’d fully expect leaf-extract upholstery and a tree branch as a gearstick (sort of).

And the HS250h isn’t the last we’ll hear of Lexus hybrids. The brand forecasts ten more launches this decade. Goes to show just how advanced the Japanese car maker’s plans are compared with the western makers who are only just cottoning on to the potential of hybrids…

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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