With obvious intentions of dominating the luxury sedan market, Lexus has infused its updated LS four-door with something that no competitor can provide - a V8 full hybrid drivetrain.
Based on a five-liter direct injection V8 engine, the Lexus Hybrid Drive adds a pair of high-power electric motors and a two-stage "electronic continuously variable transmission" to produce up to 430 HP - said to be equivalent to that of a six-liter V12 (hence the model nomenclature). To make sure that power makes it to the pavement, a standard full-time AWD system routes the power to all four wheels. Fuel economy has not yet been disclosed but is said to be similar to that of mid-sized V6 AWD sedans. The LS 600h L will be certified as a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV), giving it emissions levels approximately 70% lower than that of the competition.
Adding to the wiz-bang technology credentials is the newly-developed Lexus Advanced Pre-Collision System, or APCS. It uses two forward-facing cameras and millimeter-wave radar to detect a variety of objects in front of the big sedan, and combines this with a third camera mounted on the steering column to monitor the driver's awareness. If the potential for a collision exists and the driver is not paying attention, an audible and visual alarm is activated. If no action is taken, the system will then begin to apply the vehicle's brakes. Additionally, the variable steering ratio is automatically quickened to improve the vehicle's response to evasive maneuvers. The LS 600h L also becomes the first vehicle in the world to make use of LEDs for low-beam forward lighting.
Available only in the long wheelbase configuration in North American, the new LS hybrid will be built at the Tahara assembly plant, where each vehicle will be hand-sanded twice during the painting process.
Lexus Group VP Bob Carter was joined on-stage by Moritaka Yoshida, the Chief Engineer on the LS. The two of them seemed extremely proud of their creation, and rightfully so.
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