The Lexus LS 600h L was the first car to combine a V-8 gasoline engine with an electric motor for improved gas mileage and robust acceleration. The 600h L is a hybrid version of the LS 460L, and it pretty much sits alone as far as ultra-expensive hybrids, starting in the $105,000 range.
New for 2009
The LS600h L receives no significant changes for 2009.
The LS 600h L differs little from the LS 460 in its exterior appearance. Aside from the model badge on the trunklid, the word "Hybrid" appears on the trim near the bottom of the rear doors.
- 19-inch wheels with multiple design options
- LED headlights are used as the low-beams
The 600h L shares the gas-only L model's interior appointments. Special to the hybrid is a power-flow diagram on the dashboard's central LCD screen. Even nicer, the basics are repeated in color graphics between the speedometer and tachometer. The car's hybrid nature doesn't eliminate any of the model's gee-whiz features, the most awe-inspiring of which is a self-parking system that relies on the car's rearview camera.
- Power moonroof
- Voice-activated navigation system
- 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system
- Available rear climate control
- Available rear-seat DVD entertainment system
- Available rear-seat cool box mini refrigerator
Under the Hood
The LS is the first vehicle to mate an electric drive system to a V-8 engine, in this case a 5.0-liter. The system as a whole generates more than 430 horsepower, according to Lexus.
- 5.0-liter V-8 makes 389 hp, but when teamed with the electric motor total output rises to 438 hp
- Continuously variable automatic transmission with "PWR" (power) and "SNOW" modes
- All-wheel drive
- Lexus estimates 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds
- 288-volt nickel metal hydride battery
- 165kW electric motor
- Combined fuel economy of 21 mpg
The LS 600h L includes all the standard safety features of the LS 460L. The available Advanced Pre-Collision System helps detect obstacles in the car's path, including pedestrians. It uses a forward-looking radar sensor and two cameras to view the road ahead. A third camera on the steering column monitors the driver's face. If the driver's head is turned and there's an obstacle ahead, the system chimes a warning and flashes a light, then applies the brakes gently if there's no response. It also tightens the seat belt retractors and moves the brake pads closer to the discs in preparation for a panic stop or collision.
- Electronically controlled antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution
- Electronic stability system
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags
- Front knee airbags
- Rear-seat side-impact airbags
- Available Lexus' Pre-Collision System
- Available rearview camera