• Jul 17, 2007

NY Times writer Lawrence Ulrich didn't merely disparage the Lexus LS 600h L, he grabbed the car by its back tires, dragged it around back, and while the Times readership looked on, gave it a big city back alley whoopin'. Invoking Nick Nolte, John Matuzsak, Jor-El, Jared from Subway, and blasting the big hybrid's gas mileage, weight, 0-60 time, price, carbon footprint, and the very reason for being, Lexus' standard-bearer could certainly use some private time to recover.

What compliments there were in the article -- and it did garner some genuine compliments -- were little defense against Ulrich's ultimate assessment that "the hybrid may have set a new standard for automotive hyperbole." While it's possible that Lexus didn't expect such a scathing critique from the Gray Lady, it had to know that there would be questions about the paradox of a big, thirsty hybrid. However, Lexus is only making 2,000 of them, and it's a good bet that there are at least that many rich folks looking for what it calls "the progressive person's alternative." The LS 600h L is a shot across the bow. It will really get interesting when we get a glimpse of act two, and the responses from its competitors.

[Source: New York Times]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really don't know why anyone listens to the New York Times. Though I agree that this car is a waste of hybrid technology, people who write for the NYT, or any newspaper for that matter, really lack intelligence when it comes to subjects relating to products. I was browsing through the Washington Post car review section and couldn't help but check out the review for the Dodge Nitro. They thought it was an excellent car. I don't think I need to elaborate any further.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This stood out to me:
      "Excess weight takes its toll on mileage as well. The hybrid got 21 m.p.g. — amazingly, 1 m.p.g. less than the nonhybrid version that I tested on the same urban roads and highways in and around New York City."

      It returned less MPG.
        • 7 Years Ago
        it also has 440hp and all wheel drive.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Zamafir,

      obviously you're having some issues with the Camry you bought.
      Are you only averaging 27mpg? you could have gotten the same with the 4 cylinder. oh well, lessen for next time.

      the interior in this Lexus is very good (i've been in it), just go check it out once, and the interior on the A8 will feel like a grand marquis from the late 90's (go check out some pics of the Grand Marquis and compare it to the A8, as far as te S-class it has always been in front in Luxury even if the ride is mushy and soft adn that's what Lexus if c opying)
      • 7 Years Ago
      diesel is best for large cars period.

      and if enough research goes into them, like there has been for gas engines for the last few decades, I am sure they can be as environmentally friendly while delivering over 25% better fuel economy.

      Hybrids are not without fault since thery require the manufacture of batteries adn the extra weight you have to carry arund al the time

      They can not do an apples-to-apples comparison unless they test both of them at the same day. humidity, temp, traffic, etc all effet the car so unless conditions were exactly the same you can't say much over a 1mpg difference

      and 22mpg on the regular LS460 is very good considering you get only 4mpg better on a 4 cylinder Camry
        • 7 Years Ago
        @Ligor

        "diesel is best for large cars period."

        Where do you get this nonsense? Diesel cars bring little to no fuel savings compared with similarly performing gasoline powered cars. Fuel consumption should be measured in pounds not gallons when different fuels are compared, because you're burning mass not volume.

        If you compare the fuel consumption in miles per pound of the same car with the same performance, one model having a diesel engine, the other a gasoline engine, the fuel consumption is very much the same for both models.

        Example:
        2005 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI: 217 HP, 0-100 km/h in 7.0 sec, top speed 247 km/h, combined fuel consumption: 8.1 l / 100km equivalent to 5.96kg / 100km

        2005 Audi A4 3.0 TDI: 229 HP, 0-100 km/h in 6.9 sec, top speed 245 km/h, combined fuel consumption: 7.6 l /100 km equivalent to 6.34kg / 100km

        You can see here that for the same performance, installed on the same car, the diesel engine actually consumes more than the gasoline engine. The reason is the same why hybrids do not improve fuel efficiency of passenger cars: these more efficient powerplants, hybrids, diesels, add weight to the vehicle, that negates their superior fuel efficiency.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Note to Dondonel:

        Performance isn't defined solely by 0-60 runs. Diesels rarely excel at 0-60 accelleration, but that 3.0 TDI Audi would likely smoke the 2.0T in passing speed tests like 30-50MPH and 70-50MPH.

        -SimianSpeedster
      • 7 Years Ago
      Considering the number being made this is a politician mobile. Look at me I drive a hybrid an care about the environment.

      dondonel I understand your point about mass, but last I checked it is still priced by volume. And all that really matters is cost.
      • 7 Years Ago
      'To the driver, the sludgy effect feels like throwing anchors of various sizes out the window.'

      Hahahaha.

      This vehicle exemplifies the bad side of Toyota's hybrid strategy. A strategy that at times seems to just try to sell a car because it's a hybrid, regardless of merit.

      Hopefully this car will quietly die and the better hybrids they've made will be further developed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Currently owning a hybrid camry, I'd like to applaud this article for taking Lexus to task on this vehicle. Initially I was put off by the whole “we shall call it the 600H as a 6l v12 would produce as much power” – though this article puts things into perspective, it was the aforementioned 6l v12’s fuel consumption Toyota chose as the inspiration for their tepid naming scheme.

      So, as a Toyota owner, bravo, stick it to them for producing this portly pos.

      As a side note, has anyone actually driven this car? I’m shocked Lexus can even approach and exceed a $100,000 price tag with an interior which reminds me of Audi and Mercedes products from 20 years ago.

      I stunning failure all around, bravo.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is stupid.. the cars with the most to gain from Hybrid technology are ones that are heavy and thirsty to BEGIN with.. slapping a hybrid powerplant on something like a Fit or Yaris (which would make the nyt author happy) would make no sense..
        • 7 Years Ago
        I kind of disagree. While a bigger car would have a lot to gain from a hybrid power plant, their generally more expensive meaning that there are fewer of them on the road. Putting a hybrid setup in a compact car makes a lot of sense because IMO more people purchase compacts vs. large luxury cars.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Don, that is the LS600h, not 460h. The question is how much better is the mileage versus the regular version? The GS450h and RX400h offer solid mileage and good performance, and they are quite chubby in weight. The LS hybrid...well, the EPA numbers are telling.

        Hey, you have the reliability in owning a Lexus that parks itself, unlike the rather hideous BMW 7 or problem-filled Mercedes S. The LS460 averages around 23 mpg and steady driving.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, we're definitely seeing those benefits in the LS460hL's 20 mpg and the Tahoe Hybrid's 15 mpg.

        This tech is better for considerably smaller cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with Tyk: the author missed the point completely. He stated it right in the beginning, but then failed to comprehend it through the rest of the piece. The point is to add power without adding consumption, and that's exactly what this does, while also adding all-wheel drive and dealing with a much higher curb weight than the 460. I can see through all the marketing sputum that this is not really an environmentally friendly car, but then neither is the Prius. And personally, I don't care. Hybrids are not environmentally friendly and I can't imagine that they will be any time soon thanks to the massive amounts of heavy metals and extra energy used in their maufacture. But what they are is relatively powerful for their consumption, and this is the perfect example of that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sean:

        No, you are the one that is missing the point. In NY Times testing, the 600h was slower than the 460 AND used more fuel. And it was also far more expensive.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, this car is totally useless. It adds weight, loses mpg and 0-60 and handles worse because of the weight. It is purely a cosmetic thing for people to brag about while not helping anyone or anything.

        Save your money and get a 460 which is actually quite a nice car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Lexus LS 600h L is the green equivalent of moral relativism.

      It seems as though you can justify anything if you slap a hybrid badge on it. And the suckers who pony up 100 large are smoking something if they think this actually is helping the environment.
      • 7 Years Ago
      leave it to the autoblog commenters to make this post one of those "well it if it had been GM..."

      honestly, domestic fanboys, get over yourselves. your response to any post about toyota/lexus/any decent japanese brand has become repetitive and tiresome.
        • 7 Years Ago
        EnviroBob: I think Rob's just upset you caught him with the Buttsmacker Lip Balm on...
        • 7 Years Ago
        No more tiresome than the sound of Toyota Fanboy's lips smacking Jim Press' arse...
      • 7 Years Ago
      In terms of environmentally friendliness .. cars are INHERENTLY harmful to the environment.. they always will be no matter what type of powerplant you put in it. So, its a matter of harm reduction.. either:

      1- dont drive (use bike, walk, etc)
      2- use public transit
      3- car pool
      4- drive a small car or something appropriate
      5- dont drive like a maniac
      6- use a smaller engine if going for a larger car
      7- use the most efficient engine you can get

      Given that some (a lot of) people are not willing to go with 1 through 6 (ie. they want to drive a 600hp, 5000lb car as personal transportation).. you have to find a way to reduce its impact on the environment. Shunning hyrbid technology or simply ignoring thge fact that people want lots of power and big cars would not help the situation.
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