You know who I don't like? Apart from people who text 'your' when they mean 'you're', that is. People who are into hi-fi equipment. You go to their house, they make great ceremony of revealing a bunch of expensive boxes that are set up for perfect acoustic enjoyment, but when you take a look at their CD collection, it contains nothing more than two albums. No Angel by Dido. And something by Coldplay.
I've always put Lexus owners in the same bracket. They bang on about the smoothness and technical brilliance of their cars, but when you get behind the wheel, you are so removed from the driving experience that you may as well not be there. The cars have all the soul of a Chris Martin falsetto.
At first the GS450h seemed typical of this. It has auto headlights. Auto windscreen wipers. An auto handbrake - it was only on day four that I realised you operate the handbrake manually. There is an electric rear window sunshade to prevent anything like reality penetrating the cabin, and the sepia tint on the driver's mirrors makes the outside world seem instagrammed.
Meanwhile, the ride is so smooth and quiet that you may as well be driving the car from a computer console while lying in bed in Claridge's. Which brings me to why I liked this car. Either I am getting old and have started to enjoy peace and quiet, or the market has caught up with Lexus.
You see, with so many electric and hybrid cars now on the market, deathly silence is no longer so strange and, in this context, the GS450h F is rather good. Indeed, as far as hybrids go, I think it might be the best one I have ever driven.
It looks great. Handsome. And with its Sport and Sport+ driving modes, it is pretty perky too.
However, I found myself driving it more often than not in Economy mode, the car automatically alternating between electric and petrol modes. Thrashing a Lexus saloon just feels wrong, like an emoticon at the end of an email to an estate agent.
Besides, with such an excellent 12-speaker audio system, you wouldn't want engine noise to interfere with your enjoyment of Coldplay's Clocks.
|SPECIFICATION - Lexus GS450h F Sport
Engine: V6, 24 valves, 3.5 litre hybrid electric CVT
Fuel consumption: 45.6 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 emissions: 141 g/km
Power: 341 bhp
Torque: 260 lb/ft @ 4,500 rpm
0-62 mph: 5.9 seconds
Top speed: 155 mph