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 however, the Lexus LS 600h L to outperform its stats. We haven’t yet had the to do serious track testing on vehicle, but we were impressed by its takeoff (thanks to the deliciously electric motor) and confident (thanks to full-time all-wheel Lexus cars have had a reputation for handling that buttery and soft in comparison to German counterparts, but the LS 600h L downright aggressive. That it was definitely the strong, silent The hybrid engine was remarkably even by Lexus standards. If was a rumble or whine to be heard either the gasoline or electric you couldn’t tell from the vehicle.

I won’t delve too deeply the technological cockpit gadgetry on this car, as it would another full article. to say, it comes standard a navigation and Mark Levinson systemwhich share a 30GB driveand tons of airbags. you can outfit the 600h L with all the options that can be tacked the standard LS, such as the much-ballyhooed Parking Guidance System can park the car itself in only the time it would take to do so and a reclining, massaging rear that would put most airline chairs to shame.

The I take from this car is the German luxury brands little to no competitive advantage Lexus anymore. The super-luxury is the closest thing to an arms that the automotive industry And in the battle of the Germans vs. the Japanese, the LS has matched or exceeded every found in Mercedes’ and BMW’s big Now Lexus has closed the engine gap by hybrid technology to turn a V8 a virtual V12. It’s enough to make a wealthy car want to save $20,000 to Glenn Derene

Lexus LS 600h
Lexus LS 600h

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