Lexus LS600h Origins
This model is the first hybrid to contain a V-8 engine coupled with an electric motor. This vehicle ideally combines hybrid environmental responsibility with acceleration and performance that do not suffer from the typical trade-offs associated with hybrid vehicles. While most luxury carmakers are content to use massive V-10 and V-12 high-output engines in their flagship sedans, Lexus opts for a V-8 from lesser LS models, making it a hybrid. The result outperforms the rest of the hybrid crowd but doesn’t hold its own against the performance of its gas-guzzling in class competition. As such, the LS600h continues to occupy an unusual and narrow niche in the full-size luxury sedan market.
The hybrid idea seems to bring mostly bragging rights, as the addition of an electric motor to a sizeable V-8 produces very little in the way of fuel economy. Over the 600h L’s history, the primary criticism is that the hybrid system only adds a paltry one mile per gallon gain over the LS 460 L. Some feel that such a meager gain isn’t worth the effort, but this vehicle offers the most performance, luxury, and cabin space a buyer can get out of a hybrid.
If consumers seek sheer power and performance and don’t care about the energy impact, then the more powerful competing models are the way to go. But for that buyer who wants full luxury and performance while still claiming to be green, the LS600h provides an ideal option; albeit one that pales in comparison to the Mercedes hybrid S-Class. The Lexus carries a surprisingly high price tag, making the equally efficient Mercedes a better value.About the Lexus LS600h
This full-size luxury sedan is a one of a kind, unusual creation. It provides the comfort and performance that fans of the Lexus line have come to expect, while still attempting to be green. This one may go down in the books as a rare misfire for Toyota’s well-respected luxury brand.
This car doesn’t manage to impress with performance. Lexus combines a V-8 with two electric motors in a vain attempt to compete with a V-12 in terms of power. While this strategy does produce the output necessary for the goal, the added weight of the heavy electric components negates the power production, and ultimately the LS600h doesn’t show any real improvement over the performance of the LS 460.
With a 20 mpg rating, the model certainly doesn’t leave any room to brag about fuel economy. With no lofty goals achieved, it’s difficult to see why a potential buyer would spend the money for such a pricey compromise.Lexus LS600h Features
The Lexus LS600h uses the aforementioned hybrid engine to produce a total of 438 horsepower. Power gets to the wheels through the (popular in hybrids) continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has auto manual control and modes for certain conditions: Normal, Power and Snow.
Given the price, and the fact that this is the flagship of a luxury brand, it’s no surprise that the vehicle offers many features. The 600h L only comes in one trim with a lot of standard items and even more extravagant options.
Some of the basics include 19-inch alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and ignition, leather trim on the seats and instrument panel, a 16-way power driver’s seat, a 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with 450 watts of surround sound, a music server with a 2000-song capacity, climate-controlled front seats, a heated steering wheel, and Lexus' self-parking system. The options go even further with seats that massage your back and the possibility of turning the rear seat area into something from a private jet. Giving credit where it’s due, this car means luxury.Lexus LS600h Evolution
So far there have been minor changes and additions to the LS600h over the course of its short life, but no major revisions. After debuting in 2008, the 2009 model added a Pebble Beach option package with some new features. A styling change in 2010 helped the 600h L to look like its own vehicle and less like the LS 460. That same year Lexus added a sport package, plus an electronics upgrade.