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Lexus HS 250h

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Words ByJim Holder

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You can have any kind of powertrain you want, so long as it's a hybrid.

The Lexus HS 250h will become the first hybird-only Lexus when it goes on sale in America, Canada and Japan this summer.

The saloon is midway between the IS-series and GS-series in size, but the early indications are that it will not go on sale in Europe.

However, there are suggestions that Toyota will develop its own model on the platform, presenting it in saloon and estate bodystyles.

Its powertrain is developed from the US-market Toyota Camry Hybrid, and uses a 184bhp 2.4-litre petrol engine. Fuel economy is said to be 30% better than the most-fuel efficient Lexus currently on sale in the US, although exact figures weren't released.

Technology to improve the car's fuel efficiency include an exhaust heat recovery system to help start-up, electric power steering, heat-resistant windows to reduce the use of air-con and energy efficient LED headlamps.

The car has also been sculpted to improve airflow, and as a result the roof is curved to reduce drag. A side benefit is that it also reduces wind noise.

The interior is also eco-friendly, as it is made from 30% bio-plastics. These are said to result in 20% less CO2 being emitted over the car's life.

Safety features include stability control, a pre-collision warning system that auromatically brakes the car in an emergency, a lane departure warning system, a heads-up display, active front headrests and 10 airbags.

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Owners sayRated 4 out of 5

The Lexus GS is quiet and comfortable, but finds itself up against some strong competition. The GS F is interesting, but hampered by a poor gearbox.