The 2010 Lexus HS 250h hybrid sedan will debut from Toyota's luxury brand in August to compete with BMW's 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The vehicle "maximizes fuel economy while further shrinking its impact on the planet by using ecologically advanced materials, clever packaging of people and components and eradicating waste wherever possible," according to Lexus. The vehicle debuted in late May; pricing has yet to be released.
Using a two-motor hybrid system, the HS 250h uses a 141 hp drive motor that combines with the 147 hp gas engine. A second motor in the hybrid system serves as both engine starter and generator to charge the hybrid battery pack. The two-motor system also uses an electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) that maximizes efficiency, simplicity and compact size with extremely smooth and quiet operation, according to Lexus. A motor speed-reduction planetary gear unit helps provide high power output in this small package. The HS250h also uses a shift-by-wire system that eliminates the need for bulky shift cables, saving space and weight while allowing much more design freedom in placing the shift lever in the interior.
The center stack sweeps rearward to the Remote Touch, which meets the driver's hand atop a floating form over the center console. Switches and displays are neatly arranged for ease of operation and free of visual complexity. Leather-trimmed seats are standard, as are special soft touch stitched details on the center stack and instrument hood. Interior trim colors include black leather, new light gray leather, parchment leather, and a distinctive black/light gray two-tone leather trim. All include standard high-finish trim or available brown walnut wood trim.
The electro-luminescent instrument cluster includes a hybrid system indicator displaying system output and regenerative charging status, simultaneously indicating the efficiency of the system related to driving style. An auxiliary eco driving indicator light further assists the driver in maintaining the most economical use of system power. A multi-information display in the center of the indicator uses high-contrast OLED technology for maximum visibility and indicates various conditions such as fuel consumption, ambient temperature and cruising range.
A new standard multimedia package includes voice recognition, Bluetooth technology, integrated satellite radio (subscription required; first three months free) and USB iPod connectivity operated via steering wheel controls or from the display screen. A multi-information display situated in the instrument cluster keeps the driver informed of the numerous actions controlled by the steering wheel-mounted switches. The HS 250h's next generation navigation system is optional and features Lexus' exclusive Remote Touch controller with user-adjustable haptic feedback.
HS 250h designers create a sleek and aerodynamic shape with a roomy cabin while containing the physical footprint of the car and packaging the hybrid system components, according to Lexis. They used a somewhat taller profile and more forward A-pillar location than used in conventional sedans. This allowed a higher seating position for both front and rear passengers, providing improved passenger vision and easier access, while also creating a better location for the batteries.
The battery components, including the high-voltage battery pack, auxiliary battery and battery-connected devices, were carefully packaged to deliver a spacious cabin and surprisingly large trunk space, according to Lexus. The HS250h will offer 10 Lexus exterior colors: Matador Red Mica, Tungsten Pearl, Smoky Granite Mica, Obsidian, Golden Almond Metallic, Black Sapphire Pearl, Starfire Pearl, and three hybrid exclusive colors - Black Opal Mica, Aurora White Pearl and Silver Opal Mica, which debuts on the HS.