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By Samuel R. Avro on Jan 11, 2009 with no responses

Lexus Unveils New Luxury Hybrid At Detoit Auto Show

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The Lexus HS 250h is based on a similar underbody to the Toyota Prius hybrid, although the car itself is slightly larger than the Lexus IS250 sedan.

The new Lexus HS 250h was introduced today at the Detroit auto show, Lexus’ first hybrid designed for the entry-level luxury market. Claiming the title of “world’s first luxury hybrid,” the new hybrid Lexus is not a hybrid version of another Lexus model, it’s an entirely new car.

The vehicle is powered by a more advanced version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor used in the Camry hybrid, and is said to deliver the performance of a V6 but the fuel economy of a four-cylinder engine.

Lexus Group Vice President Mark Templin said the gasoline-electric engine would likely get more mileage in city driving than Mercedes-Benz’s two-seater Smart car which is listed at 33 city miles per gallon.

In an effort to reverse the tide of sliding sales, Lexus’ parent company, Toyota Motor Corp, announced that it will begin rolling out the new luxury hybrids this summer.

“Did you know that more than 60% of entry-luxury car buyers would have considered buying a hybrid if one had been available?” said Templin after he unveiled the car in Detroit.

Irv Miller, vice president of communications of Toyota Motor Sales, claimed that by 2010 Toyota should be selling one million hybrids a year.

Not just will the engine be environmentally friendly says the company. The interior of will be the first Lexus with carbon-neutral “ecological plastics” in the cabin – up to 30 per cent of interior materials are said to be covered in the new, reduced-emissions coating, and 85 per cent of the car can be recycled.

Lexus spokeswoman Julie Alfonso said that the new hybrid will be considerably cheaper than the other two Lexus hybrids currently available. She said that she expects the vehicle to retail in the mid-$30,000 range. Lexus’ top-of-the-line 2009 LS Hybrid sells for $105,885. The 2009 GS Hybrid sells for $56,400.

To date, Lexus has sold more then 157,000 hybrid vehicles worldwide, beginning with the RX hybrid in 2005.

Lexus says the HS 250h has a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.27, making it among the most aerodynamic in its class.

Emergency safety technology available in the vehicle includes a lane-departure warning system that advises the driver if he or she is unwittingly swerving between lanes.