I test drove both the ES300h and GS450h yesterday. I currently drive a HS250h for business and an 06 911S for fun.
I was blown away by the straight line acceleration and commendable handling of the GS. I got it up to 100mph with very little drama. Brakes were excellent and I had no issues with the electric steering feel. The interior is gorgeous and the 12 inch display rocks. I didn't drive the car long enough to feel any major differences between normal/sport and sport+ (in stark contrast with my 911 where switching to sport immediately creates a rock hard ride). At 4,100 lbs., she is a very big girl that likes to dance.
The big surprise yesterday was how much I liked the ES. Don't get me wrong, the GS is a tour de force of hybrid engineering in a package that deserves comparison with the $90K Panamera Hybrid. The ES rode a little smoother than the GS and, with the exception of the buzzy engine noises under heavy acceleration (like the HS), was very refined and had plenty of grunt in both city and highway applications. As much as I've liked my HS over the past three years, the ES is in another league in terms of ride and refinement.
In terms of the GS, the question I have is whether the GS is worth $20,000 more than the ES? For this veteran car guy, my gut says it's not, especially given my own personal situation where I already have a fun car.
I am going to decide on the ES versus GS in the next few weeks. I would love to hear from others who have driven both of these great Lexus hybrid vehicles.
2010 HS 250h
2006 911 S
2010 GX470 (hers)
2010 Audi A4 2.0Q (daughter)