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]