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A handsome – and highly evolved – hybrid car

The Lexus GS450h brings potent luxury with less guilt. Worth two Priuses plus a few thousand gallons of gas? You decide.

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George Clooney, need a limo? We shouldn't presume that an elegant actor with a green streak would go in for this handsome and highly evolved hybrid (actually, he's partial to tiny all-electrics). Still, he's the sort of black-tie guy who comes to mind when you're gliding around in a Lexus GS450h.

Despite its low-emissions rating, this $60,000, rear-wheel-drive sedan might leave an eco-conscious car-lover torn. A seamless electric-drive system assists a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 292 h.p. all by itself. The 339 combined h.p. – and tremendous torque – sling this 4,100 lb. car from 0 to 60 in a sports-car-quick 5.2 seconds, Lexus says (our launches didn't involve a stopwatch). By going (mostly) easy on the throttle, we nursed out 27 m.p.g. – remarkable for this car, if not a number that will excite fans of the technology. This road-mastering machine answered every ergonomic need. Quibbles: When "shifting" the quiet, continuously variable automatic, we wished for a tachometer rather than a kilowatt gauge. And we laughed when we popped the trunk (battery packs don't leave room for much Louis Vuitton). Verdict: Lovely. Potent luxury, less guilt. Worth two Priuses plus a few thousand gallons of gas? You and Mr. Clooney can decide for yourselves.


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