The hybrid system is similar to the one in the new LC 500h coupe, which combines the traditional Toyota hybrid two-motor CVT with a 4-speed automatic for better responsiveness, less of the "rubber band" CVT sensation, and (of course) greater efficiency. It should also help keep the LS 500h relatively quiet at full bore, keeping it in line with the "whisper quiet" mantra of the new LS. The new lithium-ion battery pack is 20 percent smaller than the outgoing nickel-metal battery, though Lexus claims power density has been improved.
Styling changes to the hybrid are minor. It still features the love-it-or-hate-it spindle grille that's permeated throughout the Lexus lineup, but other than a handful of hybrid badges and the typical blue ring around the badge, it's hard to spot the difference between the models. The interior appears to have a few minor trim changes, including some new reptile scale-like door panels.
While fuel economy hasn't been announced, expect improvements over the outgoing model's 19 city/23 highway rating. Look for more news on fuel economy and pricing in the next few months.