2008 LS 600h New Car Test Drive
Longer, lower, heavier and more powerful than the LS 460, the 2008 Lexus LS 600h L is intended to be a showcase for Lexus technology and an icon for the brand. It is, simply, the ultimate Lexus. Only about 2000 units will be made.
The LS 600h comes with the latest full-hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive.
Swift and stable on the road, the LS 600h L blends luxury, performance and ecologically efficient innovations to make a unique luxury car. The full-hybrid drive system delivers performance on a par with a 6-liter V12 engine, yet with mileage comparable to a V6 powered sedan. According to Lexus engineers, the LS 600h L produces exhaust emissions nearly 70 percent cleaner than the cleanest competitors.
The LS 600h will be offered strictly as a long-wheelbase model, hence the L in the model nomenclature. The additional length this stretched version offers translates into just a little less than five inches of additional rear leg room. Nine colors are available, in a palate of pearlescent and metallic paints.
The interior is crafted in subdued, tasteful colors. Wood and leather materials are used to accent touch points such as the steering wheel, assist handles, instrument panel, and shift knob. In keeping with Lexus design philosophy, every effort has been made to cleanly integrate controls and features without adding clutter. Interior details stand up to close inspection, even down to the stitching in the seats and uniform action of panel covers. The effect is that nothing stands out, because the interior details have been executed at a uniformly high level.
Ride comfort is equivalent to what luxury car buyers should expect. Road vibration is minimal and there is little harsh impact or uncontrolled rebounds, even at high speeds. More impressive is the balance of ride quality, low noise and predictable, sure handling. This effect comes from a new, multi-link air-spring suspension, and an optional active power stabilizer package.
Because of a relatively short turning radius and electronic power steering, the LS 600h is surprisingly easy to maneuver and park. For those who are less than perfect at parallel parking, the Lexus Park Assist feature can be used to allow the car to park itself. Electronic steering also enables the LS 600h to optimize steering control according to vehicle speed, so drivers get both easy maneuvering at low speeds and firm control at high speeds.
The LS 600h has been designed with a full suite of advanced safety features. Many of these are enhancements to the brake and steering systems. As a group, they function to detect possible problems, enhance brake control, enable the car to avoid obstacles, and minimize severity of unavoidable collisions.
The LS 600h is a roomy, distinctive, limited-edition sedan with world-class safety and performance.
The Lexus LS 600h ($104,000) comes with leather upholstery, automatic climate control, heated wood steering wheel, heated rear seats, Smart Card key, Park Assist, 16-way power driver seat, Gen-5 navigation system, Bluetooth with steering wheel controls, and charcoal-activated dust. All LS 600h models include Mark Levinson Audio, XM Satellite Radio, and the NavTraffic display with traffic navigation rerouting.
Upgrades are based upon a choice of three rear seat configurations, which include an executive Class Seating package that converts the interior into a four-seat configuration and includes a 45-degree reclining right rear seat with massage feature, infrared body-temperature sensors and 18-inch wheels.
An Active Power Stabilizer package enhances handling and includes 19-inch wheels.
A unique Launch Edition LS 600h were sold through the summer issue of the Neiman Marcus InCircle catalog. About 100 units came with a three-piece set of leather luggage custom-designed to fit into the trunk by an Italian leathersmith. The Launch Edition models include exclusive exterior paint, detailed interior seat trim in white leather, 19-inch wheels and distinctive badging.
Safety features include the latest integrated safety system from Lexus, called Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management. However, the Advanced Pre-Collision System is optional.