2008 Lexus LS 600h L Hybrid Luxury Sedan: Test Drive — Popular Mechanics

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Lexus LS 600h

2008 Lexus LS 600h L Luxury Sedan: Test

October 1, 2009 12:00 AM

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I got a weekend’s worth of alone in an early prototype of Lexus’ LS 600h L, the world’s first V8 hybrid sedan. We’ve tracking this vehicle for time now. since it parent company Toyota’s extension of its hybrid gasoline-electric technology up the socioeconomic ladder. a smart play, I think, the allure of green driving has so pervasive amongst the rich and that many people of and influence have been driving around Priuses pride. So one can imagine Toyota’s execs asking the question: are we selling technologically advanced cars to wealthy people we could be selling them luxury cars with the technology?”

And so the Lexus LS 600h L hybrid was more to the point, is about to be this summer. This is, however, sure to surprise a lot of buyers accustomed to hearing hybrids with gas mileage in the 40- to range. There’s a story of efficiency behind the LS 600hthe of a V8 engine that has the power of a with the mileage of many V-6 Nevertheless, with an estimated 20 highway miles per gallon (I got to 19 mpg), this vehicle putting any oil sheiks out of business. But a sticker price of $102,000, it is marketed to them.

To be honest, the way to evaluate the LS 600h L is not against hybrids, but against other luxury sedans. Its closest comes from the 12-cylinder S600 and BMW 760Li. These are the of the truly wealthy, with starting at $140,000 and $122,600, Lexus’s hybrid LS looks a bargain next to these (leaving the customer with to $40,000 to spend on his yearly membership, or maybe a donation to a environmental charity), but in this section of the automotive market, prices aren’t necessarily the motivator. Status, power and are the stock and trade of these and if a car can deliver a high level of all elements and cost less, it’s relative value is icing on the cake.


It’s important to note Lexus doesn’t produce a V12 for the U.S. market. So, short of an entirely new engine platform, a V8 was actually the only way for the company to against the German V12 sedans. To me, shows how flexible hybrid is: It’s as effective a tool for engine power output as it is for engine efficiency.

Lexus LS 600h

On paper, the LS 600h actually short of the Mercedes S600, has a power output of 510 hp, compared to the 438 hp (although measuring horsepower in the LS 600 h is a business, since it effectively has motors working in combination). It has a time of 5.5 seconds, compared to 4.5 for the S600. And the LS 600h L’s gas is marginallybut consistentlyhigher than the which posts an incredibly mileage range from 12 mpg in traffic to 19 mpg on the highway (the as a few efficiency tricks up its sleeve, as It can cut off a bank of cylinders at cruising to operate like a straight six

As for a matchup with the BMW 760Li, the are almost identical: Both 438 hp, the BMW’s 0-60 is only 0.2 slower than the Lexus, and V-12 has a stated fuel of 14 city /22 highway.

In the driver’s seat, however, the LS 600h L seems to outperform its We haven’t yet had the opportunity to do serious testing on this vehicle, but we impressed by its powerful takeoff to the deliciously torque-y electric and confident handling (thanks to all-wheel drive). Lexus have long had a reputation for that seemed buttery and in comparison to their German but the LS 600h L felt downright That said, it was definitely the silent type. The hybrid was remarkably quiet, even by standards. If there was a rumble or to be heard from either the or electric motors, you couldn’t from inside the vehicle.

I delve too deeply into the cockpit gadgetry available on car, as it would require full article. Sufficed to it comes standard with a and Mark Levinson audio share a 30GB hard tons of airbags. Plus, you can the 600h L with all the outrageous that can be tacked onto the LS, such as the much-ballyhooed Advanced Guidance System (which can the car itself in only twice the it would take to do so yourself) and a massaging rear seat would put most business-class chairs to shame.

The lesson I take from car is that the German luxury have little to no competitive over Lexus anymore. The segment is the closest thing to an race that the automotive has. And in the battle of the Germans vs. the the Lexus LS has matched or exceeded refinement found in Mercedes’ and big sedans. Now Lexus has closed the gap by using hybrid technology to a V8 into a virtual V12. almost enough to make a car buyer want to save to $40,000. Glenn Derene

Lexus LS 600h
Lexus LS 600h

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