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by Matt Brogan

In its 20th year at the Detroit show, Lexus gave the world premiere of the 2010 HS 250h luxury sedan today at the 2009 North American International Auto Show.

The all-new HS 250h will have a dedicated hybrid, not sold with any other powertrain. It is powered by Lexus’ first four-cylinder engine, the 2.4-litre Atkinson-cycle engine, which uses variable valve timing to increase efficiency. The engine generates 139kW.

“In 20 years, Lexus has gone from question mark to benchmark,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager, “leading to a landmark series of hybrid vehicles, including the vehicle we’re debuting here today, the first ever dedicated luxury hybrid.”

Lexus projects that the HS 250h will be 30 per cent more efficient than any other Lexus and will have the best combined fuel economy of any luxury vehicle in the United States. The company says the city mileage will be higher than that of the two-passenger Smart micro car.


Many features contribute to the HS 250h’s efficiency. An exhaust-heat recovery system aids in engine warm-up and enhances fuel economy. It is very aerodynamic, with a 0.27 coefficient of drag, thanks to standard front spoiler, rear under-spoiler, rear undertrays and diffuser fins.

The gull-wing shaped room adds to the slipperiness of the shape. The brushless electric motor in the steering system adds to efficiency by draining less engine power than a conventional hydraulic system.

The new model, which will go on sale in late summer, fits between the carmaker’s IS and ES models, rounding out its entry-luxury group. The front-wheel-drive vehicle is a little longer than the IS and about the same width.


It has all the luxury appointments: standard 10-way power leather seats, moonroof and premium audio. It has an optional navigation system that can deliver current traffic, weather, stock and sports information in more than 150 cities.

It also has a wide-angle front view monitor that uses a camera in the front grille to allow the driver to check for front blind spots at intersections or when exiting parking garages.


Safety features include 10 airbags; Lane-keep Assist, which alerts the driver of unintended lane departure and adds steering torque to stay in the lane; Safety Connect, while provides automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and 24/7 emergency and road assistance; active front seat head restraints and available LED headlights.

The all-new Lexus Enform system allows access to operators for navigation system and can also be programmed with destinations by the owner through other computers.

Eco-plastics make up 30 percent of the interior and cargo area, and 85 per cent of the HS, including the battery, can be recycled.


In addition to the HS, Templin announced two more launches that Lexus will make this year. A new RX will arrive at dealerships in February and the IS C convertible will arrive in late spring, giving Lexus its first convertible coupe in the entry luxury segment.