Lexus has revealed the HS250h, what it says is the world's first "dedicated" luxury hybrid vehicle, at the Detroit show.
Based on the IS sedan, the HS is the fourth hybrid vehicle from Lexus and the manufacturer says it is its most fuel efficient model yet. Expected fuel consumption is claimed to be down by more than 30% over the most efficient model in the Lexus line-up.
HS's powertrain is similar to the RH400h and GS450h recently made available in South Africa.
It is powered by the first four-cylinder, a 2.4-litre petrol unit, to form part of a Lexus hybrid system and together they generate output of 139kW.
A new system has been designed to improve efficiency. An exhaust heat recovery system reduces the time required by the engine to warm up and the windscreen has infrared ray reduction properties to keep the cabin cooler and reduce the amount of air conditioning needed.
The energy-saving techniques are carried across to the interior, too and HS 250h will be the first Lexus to use carbon-neutral "ecological plastics" in its cabin and interior design.
Befitting a luxury sedan, the HS is equipped with features including electric power steering with a new lane assist system, a new Hard Disk Drive (HDD) navigation system with a casual-speech voice recognition feature and a heads-up display unit using LEDs to make reading the display easy even in harsh sunlight.
The all-new 2010 HS250h will reach North American dealerships towards the end of the third quarter of 2009.
However, the car is currently not planned for local introduction as Lexus South Africa focuses on the models currently available and prepares to introduce the LS600hL shown at last year's Johannesburg International Motor Show.