By on November 7, 2007

08_lexus_ls600h_l_032.jpgLexus has gone green. That’s right. The Japanese luxury automaker’s website encourages actual and potential customers to explore eco-design and hybrid living. Meditative Asian music and beautiful nature photographs accompany the explanation: “Hybrid Living explores new ideas of how we can experience our lives in such a way that minimizes our impact on earth without sacrificing comfort and luxury.” Kinda makes me want to fire-up an incense stick, slip on some sandals and go for a slow Sunday afternoon drive in an ecologically-tuned Lexus. But my inner cynic won’t let me enjoy the ride. Despite Lexus’ posturing, the two-and-a-half ton LS600hL doesn’t run on herbal tea and happy thoughts.

The LS600hL is Abel to the LS460L’s Cain. Only the dashing “Hybrid”-embossed chrome swooshes across the door panel bottoms indicate the hL’s relative virtue. The LS remains a deeply anodyne design whose size and stance are the only indication that something expensive this way cometh. Still, bonus points for not following BMW into flame surfaced Hell, and the LS’ integrated exhaust pipes are plenty wikkid. 

08_lexus_ls600h_l_059.jpgThe “L” bookending the model designation indicates that this not so mean green machine is 4.8” longer than a standard LS460. The benefits are best appreciated in the back, where there’s enough leg room for environmentally conscious passengers to roll out their yoga mats and contort themselves into relaxation poses. Not really. But close. And while we’re back here, sybarites are advised to order the Executive-Class Seating Package ($12,500) and enjoy a Sharper Image-style chair massage.

In an echo of the late, unlamented VW Phaeton W12, the hL’s center rear seat is replaced with a fixed console. The middle bit contains controls for the rear quarters of the sedan’s four-zone climate control system. It also conceals a handy wood-trimmed table and a rear seat cool box, suitable for chilling the finest beverages. Of course, all of these features are also be found on the Earth-ravaging LS460L. But it’s worth noting that hybrid drivers need surrender naught in the way of creature comforts in their endless pursuit of good karma. 

08_lexus_ls600h_l_038.jpgIf LS600hL hybrid intenders were worried about battery whine or a rough ride, they may rest easy, safe in the knowledge that the hL entombs its passengers in an automotive mausoleum. There are hunter killer submarines that generate more internal decibels than an hL at speed. Occupants who consider “road feel” as desirable as herpes will be delighted with the hL’s suspension. The discriminating buttocks of Lexus-born bluebloods need never fear champagne-spilling jolts from impudent potholes or impolite speed bumps– until emergency maneuvering is required or an ill-bred hooligan gets behind the wheel.

Put the world’s most expensive gas – electric hybrid through its paces and you’ll awaken bad manners you wouldn’t expect from a conveyance with a six-figure price tag. Pull your foot off the go-pedal and the hL’s over-exuberant hybrid drive train continues to deliver accelerative boost for a few inopportune moments. Stomp on the brakes and you induce unrefined and poorly modulated retardation from the regenerative braking system.

08_lexus_ls600h_l_036.jpgWhile the hL is a sub-six second to sixty luxobarge, the hybrid's handling is hampered by the fact that it’s a heavy old thing. The all wheel-drive hL adds 717 pounds of hybrid heft to the rear wheel-drive equation; weighing-in at 5049 pounds in all. Throw in the marshmallow suspenders, add a bit of over-sharp steering response, and you’re left with a car that’s almost as corner-aversive as a Swiss skiing chalet. The optional $3k Active Power Stabilizer will quell some of the nautical motions, but there’s only one cure for the hybrid’s spastic throttle and braking response: buy another car.

TTAC’s Jay Shoemaker astutely observed that Lexus makes cars for people who hate to drive. For car-haters who think the base LS460L isn’t expensive enough, the LS600hL will separate them from an additional $32,500 of their money. Mileage in town theoretically improves from 16mpg to 20mpg. But on the highway, the LS460L out-economizes the pseudo-green machine by two miles per gallon.

lexusls600h_nyreveal_02-copy.jpgAt the risk of sounding churlishly non-PC, let’s think about the hL’s economics for a moment. If an owner drove 15k miles a year– all of them in the city– he would save 187.5 gallons of gasoline a year. At $3.00 a gallon, it would take him 57 years and nine months to recoup the LS600hL’s “hybrid premium.”  

The LS600hL’s real payoff is, of course, psychological. For one thing, car-haters won’t have to listen to the faint purring of a vulgar internal combustion engine– or at least not as often. For another, owners can say they drive a hybrid. But none of this will stop the globe from warming. In the final analysis, the only point of the LS600hL is to assuage the guilt of shallow, label-conscious snobs. That’s an expensive cure for a senseless affliction. In that sense, the ‘h’ in the model’s name might as well stand for hypocrite.

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78 Comments on “Lexus LS600hL Review...”


  • avatar
    Kman

    What a non-sensical car this is! I couldn't believe the $32,500 premium. Sure Lexus will tell us that the '600 is a V12 equivalent; but I always thought of the V12 big-lux sedan space as the place for zero-tolerance of annoyances in a car. Say, um, like a throttle that doesn't stop throttling when told to, or clumsy brakes. Seems like the LS460L is the eminently more logical and satisfying choice.

  • avatar

    My bad on the original title folks.

    This is a review– and pics– of the Lexus LS600hL.

  • avatar
    Pelle Schultz

    So why the 4 stars? I do not get these ratings. Perhaps some weighting of the categories would be warranted?

    29/40 may round up to 4 stars, but when a car gets two 1/5′s and a 3/5 in performance, 4 stars seems a bit off.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I’m a bit disappointed… you didn’t work in anything about clubbing baby seals.

    Two questions: Did you do your own fuel economy comparison? The EPA numbers might be unrepresentative (although I doubt it, 717 pounds is 717 pounds and physics never fails, especially the “drag” and “friction” parts). Was it any quicker off the line, due to the electric drivetrain?

    If it really does get worse real-world highway fuel economy and there’s no noticeable improvement in performance, this is a real “why bother” car.

    On the other hand, every time I read a Lexus review, I’m impressed by the luxury aspects of the vehicle. The rear seating looks really impressive. I’m going to have to find an excuse to visit the Lexus dealer sometime and see what the less expensive models are like.

  • avatar
    philbailey

    The apoplectic tree huggers are just going to HATE the last three paragraphs. Telling the practical truth the way it really is, simply doesn’t fly with these people.

  • avatar
    1169hp

    Great informative read. Thanks
    To me, this car is yawn inducing at best. Now, did you say this car weighs 5,000+ pounds? For the love of god. That’s truck territory. That extra $32k should buy some lighter, high tech bits to offset this things pork.
    DT

  • avatar
    shaker

    Done in snobby Lexus TV ad announcer’s voice:

    “The Lexus LS600hL: Batteries… Included”

    Or, showing a newly married couple eating wedding cake off the backseat table:

    “With this Lexus, you can have your cake… and eat it too.”

  • avatar

    While the A8 is still the best looking in the exec sedan class, I find the LS to be nicely understated, if a bit bland. The problem with the hybrid is that a lot of the real world tests seem to put both the 0-60 and mpg as the same as the standard L. So why spend so much more on a badge? They should have at least spent some of that 32K on carbon offsets to make it actually green versus faux-green.

    You didn’t mention the massaging, reclining Maybach style seats.

    This is a car where you should have done a direct face-off against the 600L.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    I personally think 4 stars is a bit kind. I would have said 3. Great review William, I too am unmoved by the hybrid speak Lexus is putting out.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    One of the things that I found characteristic of the car when I drove it at the introduction is that it has perfectly good acceleration, yet doesn’t really feel like it. There’s of course good initial torque from the motor, but then it’s absolutely steady, like a subway train. There’s none of the exhilaration of acceleration that comes from the rush through each gear, whether automatic or manual. Sort of boring. And of course it is a perfectly silly car. Almost as silly as the 460′s unusable automatic parking.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I thought I had heard that the LS600hL came with standard All-Wheel Drive? Still, I don’t really get the idea behind this car. It seems like the LS460 and LS460L have everything the LS600hL does. Back in the day my grandfather had a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Talisman that had console in the rear seat. (This was in the mid-1970s or so.) There’s really nothing new under the sun.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Hold on, you’re telling me this thing actually gets WORSE highway mileage than the normal LS460? This has to be one of the most ridiculous cars ever conceived

  • avatar
    EJ

    This car has all-wheel-drive. Any merit to that?

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    With hypocrisy specifications like this, it’ll do great in Hollywood. And perhaps Al Gore will buy one to shuttle his large glutes between his huge energy guzzling mansion and his private jet (oh…that he buys carbon offsets for).

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Yes. The LS600hL has standard AWD.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Lexus claims 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds for the hybrid and 5.4 seconds for the LS460L. These times felt totally credible to me.

    The LS600hL accelerates as Stephan Wilkinson described – very flat and steady delivery of power. There’s no power band slingshot effect.

  • avatar
    AKM

    Meh. I’m sure it’s a great car. But even though I’m a greenine, this car leaves me cold. It’s a car for the people who queu in line at whole foods to get their “this is not a plastic bag” cloth bag, usually waiting in their luxury SUVs with engines running to keep the A/C going.
    Can we just tax gaz more and be done with all this hydrid living/CAFE increasing/holier-than-thou silliness?

    As for the car, I don’t see the point of it. Either get a LS460, or, much better, a BMW 735 diesel.

    Or, you know, do something really green and get a bike.

    Kudos on the star rating, it’s an excellent write-up. Inspired by all those Yoga thoughts?

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    # philbailey :
    November 7th, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    The apoplectic tree huggers are just going to HATE the last three paragraphs. Telling the practical truth the way it really is, simply doesn’t fly with these people.

    As an apoplectic treehugger, I’m not sure what you’re talking about here. The review is of a ridiculous vehicle carefully designed to vacuum massive profit margins out of the pockets of hypocrites. It’s not that hybrids can’t improve mileage, it’s that Lexus is being utterly crass to claim this particular hybrid has anything to do with environmentalism. Which is all made quite clear in the review in my reading…

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Was the handling objectively bad, or did it simply “feel” like it? Was the performance overall objectively bad or did it simply “feel” that way?

    Objective data on the performance and handling of the LS600hL clashes with your idea that the handling is “inexcusable”, as does most every other review of the LS600hL. With the Active Power Stabilizer System, handling is said to be better than an LS460L, as it should be seeing as the LS460L also lacks AWD.

    That is also a reason why the 600hL cannot be compared with an LS460L because it lacks AWD even as an option.

    Also not mentioned in this review is that the 600hL is faster in passing speeds than a 460L.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Is this car for the Maybach buyer to cross shop? Or for an S-class/7-series/A8. I don’t get it.

    I’m sure it’s the nicest appliance Toyota has made to date.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Very informative and well-written review. I have to agree with Pelle and Alex though, about the 4 stars being one too many.

    Bill, have you ever driven a Diesel 7-Series, A8, Phaeton, or S-Class? Now those are some cars that impress both the neighbors and the well-meaning grandchildren.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    It is a widely–and expertly–marketed urban myth that all-wheel drive makes a car “handle better.”

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @AKM
    BMW doesn’t make a 735 diesel (yet) – only a 730d and a 745D (V8)

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    This month’s Motor Trend has a rather pointless and non-informative article that compared the LS600hL to other $100,000(give or take) sedans like the Maserati and Jaguar. The article was poorly written (and had bias smeared all over it) but there was one number that stood out.
    –14.9–
    Overall mileage for the “green” Lexus.

    (Slight edit) – the long-term LS460 elsewhere in the issue was pushing 20 mpg. Again – the point of this hybrid is?

    All right Lexus, the point of this car is? It weighs over 5,000 pounds. The trunk shrinks by half so the 700+ pounds of batteries and other electronic equipment can come along. The AWD blunts the driving experience. The brakes are a bad joke (anyone check out the 60-0 with all LS models? OUCH!!!) You’re trying to market a parallel parking system that might get used twice in the life of the car. And now your green-machine doesn’t eake out 15 mpg. Ding. Thank you for playing.

    What burns me most about this new LS (not just the hybrid) is that it no longer looks expensive. While the previous generations might have looked bland or slighly E-Class-ish, this looks like a Camry with new Accord tail lights. With the exception of the rather interesting looking integrated exhaust piping, I just don’t see anything in the exterior that screams “I just forced this guy/girl to spend 100,000 bucks!!!” When you see a Maserati, it doesn’t matter if wiring and pipes are dragging behind it…it looks like a $100,000+ car. In a way, it reminds me of the Acura RL. The RL is loaded with advanced AWD systems, electronics, engine technology and so on…but YAWN.

    I just don’t see a point for this car and in fact, this just continues to show the slow decline of the once mighty Toyota name.

  • avatar
    Thomas Minzenmay

    I’ve recently read a comparison testdrive with the Lexus 600h, Mercedes S 420 CDI & BMW 745d. While the Lexus has more power on paper, it also carries an extra 400 pounds and hence the 0-60 numbers were exactly the same on all three cars. At the same time, the handling on the Lexus is supposedly not on par with its German rivals (“not good enough for its segment” were the words) and the hybrid also takes away a lot of the trunk-space. In terms of fuel economy, the Lexus finished last with 18.5 mpg vs. 22 mpg for the Mercedes and 21.8 mpg for the BMW. Also the breaks were not on par with BMW & Mercedes. On top of that, the Lexus costs a 12000€ premium over the Mercedes and even 15000€ over the BMW.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Johnson: Was the handling objectively bad, or did it simply “feel” like it? Was the performance overall objectively bad or did it simply “feel” that way?

    Objective data on the performance and handling of the LS600hL clashes with your idea that the handling is “inexcusable”, as does most every other review of the LS600hL. With the Active Power Stabilizer System, handling is said to be better than an LS460L, as it should be seeing as the LS460L also lacks AWD.

    That is also a reason why the 600hL cannot be compared with an LS460L because it lacks AWD even as an option.

    Also not mentioned in this review is that the 600hL is faster in passing speeds than a 460L.

    Given the extraordinary weight and price of this vehicle the Active Power Stabilizer System should be standard equipment. It isn’t. Without it, it handles like a cheap carnival ride if you drive it aggressively. This is not an issue of AWD. It’s an issue of poorly controlled roll/pitch/yaw dynamics. A couple of quick turns completely upset the vehicles attitude. Combine this with the surging throttle and manic brakes, and driving a slalom is a real adventure (i.e. not in a good way).

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    I don’t know what some people are expecting from this car. It is NOT a BMW. What it is is a damn Limo that is equiped with a powertrain that works extremely well in crowded urban eviornments. It is dead quiet and the power delivery is seemless. The ride is about as comfortable as one can get. This is a very luxurious car with an INTENTIONALLY understated exterior. No where can I find lexus marketng this thing as an autobahn burning sports sedan. Let the Germans continue to market there products based on intangibles that 99.5% of their customers will NEVER expereince or exploit. I love to drive but personally I could careless if my full sized luxury sedan can pull .90gs. I am never going to drive it in that manner anyway. BMW and MB can continue to be silly and believe that there is anything remotely sporty about a 4500lb+ automobile, but I have never seen any “adult” drive any full sized luxobarge in anything but a stately manner. Drive any 750 or S-class like you stole it and it will scare the shit out of you. All of these cars are too heavy, have wheelbases that are too long, and all have undersized tires for their size and weight. Push a standard S-class into too hard a turn too fast and it will destroy an outside front tire. Now regarding the LS600L, would I ever buy one of these things? No. But if I were an executive that had a personal car and driver but did not wish to look like one of those a-holes in a silly looking bling-bling Rolls Royces or VW based Bentleys I could think of no better choice.

  • avatar
    Thomas Minzenmay

    The ride is about as comfortable as one can get.

    Well, without having driven it but from what I’ve read in various reviews, this car is NOT as comfortable as one can get, far from it. If that was the case, I guess you’d be correct, but so this car really lacks a target group.

  • avatar
    pfingst

    “Kinda makes me want to fire-up an incense stick, slip on some sandals and go for a slow Sunday afternoon drive in an ecologically-tuned Lexus. But my inner cynic won’t let me enjoy the ride. Despite Lexus’ posturing, the two-and-a-half ton LS600hL doesn’t run on herbal tea and happy thoughts.”

    That’s why I keep coming back here. The writing on this site is one of the few things that consistently makes me laugh. Fantastic stuff!

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    It’s a quasi-limo. Any car that has a console in place of the middle seat, plus extra rear leg room, is designed, at least in part, for the owner to be sitting in the rear, driven by a paid driver. This is similiar to the Chinese-market only Cadillac SLS and Buick Park Avenue, which both also feature extra rear leg room and a center console in the back seat.

    So, handling isn’t important in a freaking limo, but ride and quietness are. It sounds like this vehicle succeeds in it’s place in the market.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Nice review. I’m with 1169hp — I’d like to have seen Toyota leverage their relationship with Lotus to add $32K of lightness, rather than this technological mess.

  • avatar
    Seth

    Europeans are now joining the hybrid bandwagon.. goes to prove that Toyota err lexus is on the right track.

  • avatar
    phil

    I think the world is coming to an end. First a Lexus goes onto the NOT RECOMMENDED list of Consumers Report (GS something or other), and now Lexus produces an obese whale of a car that is truly disappointing, even to its intended audience (that ain’t us boys). I agree with the concerns about 4 stars, this thing is a pig and shouldn’t merit more than 2. To compare this abomination to one of the 12 cylinder masterpieces from Germany is a travesty.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    Actually, Europeans aren’t joining the hybrid bandwagon at all. Automotive News has just reported that Europeean interest in hybrids is virtually nonexistent.

  • avatar
    p00ch

    MPG results are irrelevant in this car’s target market. And with 2.5 tonnes to haul, I don’t think any buyers are kidding themselves about saving the planet. So, what could be another reason (excuse) for buying this car? The desire to own the most technologically advanced limousine in the world?

    If only ToyLex had used its powers for good…

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    this car is a surprising stumble by Lexus. it pretty much fails entirely at it’s intended mission, which was V12 power with V6 fuel economy. It has neither. You’d have to be 12 kinds of a chump to buy one.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    LISTEN, AND LISTEN NOW:

    Why doesn’t anyone get the main point of hybrids? In every damn review I read, the author ALWAYS has to mention how it’ll take 765 years for the owner of whatever hybrid being reviewed to make his/her money back for the hybrid premium through the gas savings.

    THIS IS NOT THE POINT OF BUYING A HYBRID.

    What is, you might ask?

    Well there’s an answer to that question as well!

    The point of buying a hybrid to make a small, but present impact on global climate change, reducing CO2 present in the atmosphere and other noxious chemicals being produced through driving combustion powered vehicles. Add all of the hybrid pollution savings together, and it makes a difference. Every hybrid is a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. This is why most people buy hybrids.

    GET IT STRAIGHT.

  • avatar
    bal00

    At the risk of sounding churlishly non-PC, let’s think about the hL’s economics for a moment. If an owner drove 15k miles a year– all of them in the city– he would save 187.5 gallons of gasoline a year. At $3.00 a gallon, it would take him 57 years and nine months to recoup the LS600hL’s “hybrid premium.”

    Absolutely correct. However it gets even worse when you figure in interest. The hL saves you $563 worth of gas a year. If you put $32,500 in the bank at 4% you make $1300/year, and there is a lot you could do for the environment with that kind of money. Hell, for $32k you could probably adopt enough trees to offset the CO2 emissions of the entire street you live on.

  • avatar
    NickR

    In the final analysis, the only point of the LS600hL is to assuage the guilt of shallow, label-conscious snobs. That’s an expensive cure for a senseless affliction. In that sense, the ‘h’ in the model’s name might as well stand for hypocrite.

    Exactly.

  • avatar
    bal00

    The point of buying a hybrid to make a small, but present impact on global climate change, reducing CO2 present in the atmosphere and other noxious chemicals being produced through driving combustion powered vehicles. Add all of the hybrid pollution savings together, and it makes a difference. Every hybrid is a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. This is why most people buy hybrids.

    That’s great and all, but basic economics still apply. Essentially it’s a $32k device that saves maybe $5000 worth of energy during its life.

    If you’re actually concerned about the environment it makes a lot more sense to spend the $32k elsewhere. Use it to insulate your house, buy a more efficient A/C, invest in renewable energy projects, throw out your old refridgerators, pay people to plant trees, put solar panels on your roof.

    All of these things offer a significantly better return on investment in terms of CO2 savings per dollar, and they’ll put more money in your pocket, too.

    And let’s be honest here, what’s green about a vehicle that gets 20mpg while hauling 4 people max? I guess the one-eyed really is king.

  • avatar

    There are no Hybrids in Europe – everyone is just fine with their noxious little 3-cylinder diesel engines, thank you.

  • avatar
    Luther

    It’s a lot of money to spend just to starve trees of CO2…Oh, the humanity!

    To say that CO2 is polution is to say Al Gore is honest.

  • avatar
    BigChiefMuffin

    All the people buying these things because of the low emmisions are really deluding themselves. Yes they are slightly lower, but the poor mpg of these cars ( due to their excessive weight ) and their whole life environmental footprint ( which is far more important and, on hybrids, far worse due to the batteries ) makes them the environmental equivalent of the go-faster stripe.
    It might make the driver feel good about themselves but it has not other positive effect.

    Hybrid cars are a sad victory for PR spin over reality and this car is probably the worst example around…

  • avatar
    AKM

    @AKM
    BMW doesn’t make a 735 diesel (yet) – only a 730d and a 745D (V8)

    I though the new 272hp turbodiesel from the 5-seires had been transplanted in the 7-series.
    I rode in a 730d 2 years ago, and assumed that by now, that amazing engine would have been brought in. Or maybe I’m just confused and BMW kept the 30 instead of 35 like they did for their turbo gasoline.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    i can`t believe that none of you mentioned the outstanding fit and finish, the mindblowing insulation, and suspension comfort. i guess if this was some subpar cadillac with gaps visible from space, you would be milder in critics. This is the world`s most complex sedan ever built( except concepts). And what will be shocking, is its reliability after 10 years. it is a marvel of craftsmanship. look at a -pillar, look at chroming finishes in corners. and now look at your bmw with jigsawed chrome lines in corners. diesel? have you ever heard diesel at idle? this lexus is voiceless compared to any diesel. lexus 600lh is a showstopper. a reserved aesthetics of japanese engineering supremacy. they don`t need to copy anyone.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    LamborghiniZ: Why doesn’t anyone get the main point of hybrids? In every damn review I read, the author ALWAYS has to mention how it’ll take 765 years for the owner of whatever hybrid being reviewed to make his/her money back for the hybrid premium through the gas savings.

    It’s important to note because until Hybrids become economically viable they will not gain widespread acceptance. Nevertheless, that’s not why I mentioned it in this review. I wanted to demonstrate how absurdly expensive this hybrid is. Toyota is able to deliver hybrid drive trains on their other cars for about one tenth the added expense of the LS600hL’s hybrid premium.

    According to the bureaucrats at the EPA, the LS460L gets 16/24 mpg and the LS600hL gets 20/22. In real world blended driving, the results are going to be pretty damn close. In every other respect, the LS460L is identical or better than the hybrid variant. So what are you buying for the extra $32,500? Since you really aren’t really helping the environment, all you’re getting is a badge.

    I’m not against hybrids or Lexus, per se. But this car is nothing more than an eco-con job designed to take money from people who don’t have the good sense that god gave a monkey.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    jurisb: i can`t believe that none of you mentioned the outstanding fit and finish, the mindblowing insulation, and suspension comfort. i guess if this was some subpar cadillac with gaps visible from space, you would be milder in critics.

    Check the summary. I gave ‘Ride’ and ‘Fit and Finish’ five stars each and characterized them as Imperial and Immaculate, respectively. But then, I was really impressed by the fit and finish of the new CTS…

  • avatar
    brownie

    Wow, everyone’s really worked up about this car! One thing I would point out about the environmental impact: something like this is likely to be used carting overpaid bank executives and the like around in mostly urban driving. The mileage/emissions benefits over the 460L (or a comparable Benz, Audi, Bimmer or Towncar) will be substantial. The gas savings may not pay back the upfront investment, but it will be better for the environment.

    Of course, those important people could just as well ride around in a Prius or Civic, but they won’t – their time is too “valuable”. If you thought credit writedowns were bad, imagine how much worse they’d have been if executives hadn’t been having important cell phone conversations while being chauffered around in absolute comfort and luxury!

    Anyway, my point is that this is not a car for rational analysis. You and I would never buy it anyway.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Lexus can pull something like this off, no matter how asinine it is on paper. Now what if VW had brought the V6tdi Phaeton out…(aside: drool)

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    I can’t believe that anyone would make the price of this thing an issue. Honestly the LS600lh is still less expensive than a similarly equiped s550 4matic, yet it contains far more expensive technology. How can one accept the grossly inflated prices of any Porsche, MB or BMW yet say 100grand for a fully equiped v8/hybrid AWD luxury sedan with about the best fit/finish and build quality in the world is over-priced?

    Like I said before, If you do not like Lexus/ Toyota just come out and say so. But please review a full sized luxury sedan for what is really is. Is this a drivers car? No. Does it pretend to be? No.

    When you think about it such cars like an AMG S65 and a Cayenne Turbo are just plain stupid and make their driver/owners appear to be the same.
    The AMG S65 is a 5000lb barge with a hot rod engine and a boy racer body kit. Seems kinda confused to me! The Cayenne Turbo is a jacked up SUV with what, 500hp. Can you say oxymoronic!

    The more I see of the silly fastasy-mobiles come out of Germany today the more sense the cars from Lexus begin to make.

    Sometime it is important to NOT take yourself to seriously and accept the fact that a car is just a car. You aint gonna be racing at LeMans in your AMG whatever so WTF is the propose of buying a 5000lb, 500hp Monster with a stiff legged ride and half-a$$ relaibilty? I guess you sit in the back seat a just command your driver to go faster and faster, pull the next right turn as hard as you can! Drive me home like the A$$hole that I am!

    On the other hand a very luxurious Limo with clean emissions, a quiet yet powerful powertrain, a seemless tranny, AWD for bad weather, the best interior in class, and the best build quality in the world all wrapped up in a cleanly styled understated exterior does appear to make a lot of sense.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Earlier poster asked

    “So, what could be another reason (excuse) for buying this car? The desire to own the most technologically advanced limousine in the world?”

    IMO this is the perfect car for the intelligent high profile executive/politician/media star who knows they will be photographed in or near their auto.

    It provides comfort and safety combined with a green credential. When their driver hits you in your fit/yaris/prius/edge they will likely suffer nary a scratch. Bicycles colliding with this Lexus will fare even worse.

    Hey Joe Sixpac why aren’t you driving a hybrid, I do!!!!

  • avatar
    Jim H

    May as well move those calculations to $4/gallon…we aren’t likely to see $3/gallon again.

    Also, compare it to other cars in the $100K territory with similar performance, luxury, etc.

    For example, comparing this to the non-premium car really is apples and oranges, isn’t it? This one is all-wheel drive (700lbs worth), hybrid, and likely has other things that the other model doesn’t. Those are apples and oranges. :)

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Clearly you guys are not the target group for this kind of car.

    quote: Without it, it handles like a cheap carnival ride if you drive it aggressively.

    Why would anyone in their right mind drive a 2500kg/5000lbs 5+m long and luxury flagship sedan agressively??? And agressive how – you tackled corners with this car? Tried to feel the limit of the tires when cornering?

    When you review a Bentley, Rolls or a Maybach top of the line sedan you have the same criteria and expectations? Trying to brake those cars into corners and pushing the corner exiting speeds to the max?

    I see that LS600hL excels in all categories that those cars are well knwon and respected for. Highest build quality, the best materials, the quietest cabin (and engine), the most comfortable and secure-feeling ride you can immagine even with high speeds (and on the not-so-perfect roads) – the car that isolates the passangers form the outside world creating the most relaxing interior atmospehere you can immagine in a motor vehicle and maybe most importantly – an engine that is a head of its time and very powerful, yet ultra quiet and offers totally seamless acceleration. Except the Lexus can’t offer you the long history that those brands/manufacturers can. I see that LS600hL is the Rolls-Royce of the 21-st century.

  • avatar
    Thomas Minzenmay

    @ Brock_Landers

    I honestly doubt that the Lexus excels a Bentley, Rolls or Maybach in ANY category save fuel consumption.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    I honestly doubt that the Lexus excels a Bentley, Rolls or Maybach in ANY category save fuel consumption.

    Why not?

    MB put RR to shame and almost ran them out of business in the late 1970s and the 1980s simply because the then current S-classes were far superior cars than anything RR was making.

    Explain to us what is so special about any of the current models offered from Bentley, Maybach, or RR.
    I will grant that the RR phantom is the most blinged out car you can buy today and it has a very luxurious interior but outside of that it is close to 6000lbs or not more. I fully expect it to ride wondefully. On the street these things do look rather silly with the oversized chrome barbaque grill attached to the very plastic looking front.

    The VW Bentleys are known to have less than stellar rides with their oversized wheels, front heavy desgins and limited suspension travel. Honestly these things are just A8s Phaetons in drag. Put anthor way these cars are nothing more than glorified parts-bin specials.

    The older Bentley Aranage is an antique is just about every way imaginable expect snob appeal.

    The Maybachs are just glorified stretched S-classes, BFD. It is ugly and plain looking but lacks any kind of understated elegence. The interior is nice but Lexus manags to provide the same 1/3 the price.

    So explain how a maybach or RR is a $200,000 better car than a LS600?

  • avatar
    RLJ676

    “So explain how a maybach or RR is a $200,000 better car than a LS600? ”

    Simple, years of built up prestige and luxury, compared to the costliest Toyota ever. Appearantly that commands $200k.

  • avatar
    Thomas Minzenmay

    I never said that those cars are 200.000$ better than the Lexus. But they’re better, plain and simple. The ride in a Maybach or RR is unparalleled, the interior vastly superior due to the fact that it’s hand crafted and uses better materials, the engines on those cars are way stronger.

    Besides, from the reviews I’ve read (I haven’t driven the Lexus personally), the Lexus even loses against the rivals in its own segment (S-Class, 7-Series) in pretty much every category, especially in terms of ride quality but also when it comes to interior quality.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Simple, years of built up prestige and luxury, compared to the costliest Toyota ever. Appearantly that commands $200k.

    So why is the Maybach a failure than?
    Presitige is just a word! It is up to you to decide how much meaning you want to give it. The joke is that a great deal of Lexus’ success is due to their ability to punch holes right though the whole prestige arguement.
    See. presitige and POS cars that have numerous problems do NOT go hand in hand. Anything that is prone to failure is NOT prestigeous!

    So if I design and produce a chair that is far more comfortable that a chair being made by a “prestigeous” company with a long history I guess you would rather sit in the uncomfortable chair because it has “history” behind it.

    Well, P.T Barnum did coin a phase about there being a sucker born every minute!

  • avatar
    RLJ676

    what..”So if I design and produce a chair that is far more comfortable that a chair being made by a “prestigeous” company with a long history I guess you would rather sit in the uncomfortable chair because it has “history” behind it. ”

    You miss the difference between prestige and “quality”. A $6 digital timex can be more accurate than a Rolex or Breitling (actually, I’d bet on it being as they’re automatics), but it sure as hell will never be more prestigous. That is how people view this toyota compared to a Bentley.

    Further, yeah, most people are paying way more for “prestigous”, STYLISH designer chairs, rather than a very comfy but tacky beanbag chair. So even your example doesn’t really support what you think it does.

  • avatar
    Thomas Minzenmay

    Maybach isn’t the issue here, but its main shortcoming is obviously its horrible design.

    Apart from that, I think that by now Lexus has built its own prestige – in America at least. People wouldn’t be buying it if it wouldn’t stand for great quality and great ride. See the VW Phaeton. It was a great car for a reasonable price, but the VW badge just doesn’t have any prestige.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    I cannot even begin to consider comparing the LS600hL with other $100,000+ luxury cars from Mercedes, BMW, Rolls, et al, when it doesn’t even compare favorably with the $71,500 LS460L, which is identical in every respect other than the overweight non-economical AWD hybrid driveline. What is the point of it being more complex and difficult to build if the hL doesn’t provide qualitative improvements over its own [relatively] inexpensive non-hybrid twin?

    It simply does not deliver the goods and is in some ways is worse (e.g. handling). Simply put, this Japanese Emperor has no clothes.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Mr. Montgomery brough this discussion right back to its core–thank you.

    The existence of the LS460L is what causes the problem here, not this car’s relative value compared to German imports.

    I honestly predict this thing will be silently killed a la Honda Accord hybrid–people (mentally) expect a substantial improvement in economy when buying a hybrid. The Accord brought additional performance instead. This thing brings…additional weight and cost, and that’s about it.

  • avatar
    JohnB

    Kaboom! Great Review!

  • avatar
    p00ch

    If they were going for silent operation and locomotive-like pulling power, why didn’t they just build a proper V12 and call it a day? Nobody will buy into this beast’s green credentials. At 5,000 lbs and with all the hazardous materials it contains (not to mention manufacturing or later disposal), does it matter if its exhaust produces slightly fewer pollutants than a non-hybrid V12?

  • avatar
    f8

    p00ch, Toyota has a proper V12. It just isn’t available in the US, it goes into super-luxury sedans that Toyota offers in Japan.

  • avatar
    musah

    Will, thinking aloud here, did lexus release this car knowing that it has a poor handling? Then what was all the wait from LS460 till now or is your review that is BIASED??
    Pistonheads are never meant to understand hybrids.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    460 and 600 have totally different characters. Any of you here have driven both?

    460 is a great car, but its no 600. 460 has a 8-speed autobox, which is very good compared to the competions 6 and 7-speeds, but its no CVT. With 460 you still need to use kickdown to get the gears down, revs up and the car accelerating. When the revs are high you can hear the V8, its quiet, but you can clearly hear it. CVT on the 600 is totally seamless, you got endless massive torque available at any moment without any hesitation or delay. And whatever you do with the accelerator pedal – the car is always tomb-quiet. Like driving a car with nuclear powerplant.
    With seamless torque you need seamless grip and here’s where the AWD comes in.

    Only direct competitor that offers AWD with 12cyl is Audi. Audi A8 6.0 W12 Lang (long wheelbase) has a curb weight of 4729lb/2145kg, LS600hL weighs 5049lb/2290kg. So what’s the drama about weight?

    And give me a break reffering to German Auto Motor Und Sport magazine’s test 745d, vs S420CDI vs LS600h. Those guys are so biased that its not even funny. If you get into the details of this test, you will see how absurd it is.
    It’s like hoping Japanese martial arts magazine that is testing/evaluating samurai swords is unbiased towards a competing German made samurai sword :)

  • avatar
    like.a.kite

    A review of the same vehicle in the NYT:
    link

    The title, Conspicuous Consumption With Green Illusions, is quite appropriate I think. Why? Because you’re getting basically 0 extra mileage for the massive price hike and ‘hybrid’ decal after the weight of the battery (and motor(s?), AWD, etc) is factored in. Green illusions indeed.

    This thing exists solely to give Lexus a greener image in the eyes of the ignorant.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    bal00: Right, that’s true, but the LS600hL is not the only hybrid out there. That’s the thing, while this car specifically might not be the best representation of planet saving intentions, the same thing applies, because even reviews of the Prius or Insight contain the same “you won’t make your money back until…2095″, and those cars DO make a difference, and apply to what I was saying before even more extensively. It’s just a general point that needs to be recognized w/ hybrids and never is.

  • avatar
    Johann

    Usually the TTAC star rating follows what was said in the actual review. But reading this review does not equate in my view to FOUR whole stars! Yikes. How on earth can it have earned that? The review reads 2 star at most to be honest. It’s heavy, has a tiny boot as a result of the extra battery, its emissions are still sky high, it hardly gives you any extra MPG and above all costs a LOT more than the equivalent non hybrid version. You have to be a greenie with serious blinkered vision to ever even think of buying this thing.

  • avatar
    s mike

    Remember this pig has a battery in it that has to be replaced in 6 or so years for about $6 grand.

    You have to give Lexus their due on fit and finish. They are far superior to MB and BMW

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    As far as I know, Toyota has yet to replace a Prius battery, and they’ve been out for 10 years. And saying it’ll cost $6,000 is simply your guess, since the price is dropping constantly and even Toyota doesn’t know what they’ll cost when they need to sell one. That’s just one of those silly things that everybody says about hybrids, along with “Wait’ll all those dead batteries go into landfills.” Well, they won’t: they’re designed to be easily recyclable. The heavy metals basically can be poured out of the casing.

  • avatar
    ar_ken

    but… but… but… it’s a LEXUS!! It MUST be good!!!!!!!!!

    *beeh* Lexus good.. all others bad… Lexus good.. all others bad… *beeh*

  • avatar
    KixStart

    s mike: "Remember this pig has a battery in it that has to be replaced in 6 or so years for about $6 grand." Toyota's batteries are going the distance. I visit my local Toyota dealer occasionally for the oil change special (otherwise they'd never see me) and I always ask the parts guy if they've replaced a Prius battery (bear in mind they've been on the road since '01 or so around here). The answer is still "Not yet."

  • avatar
    s mike

    I have never heard of a battery that just keeps going outside the TV ad. What’s Toyota’s warranty on the battery? 8 years, right?

    That makes the 2001′s ready in 2009. We all know battery’s fail just when the warranty is up

  • avatar
    musah

    this car is beautiful, by scale of 1 to 10, think it scores 11

  • avatar
    musah

    Just ordered for one only to be told that they aint sold in “Third World Countries!!!!!!!!!!” DISCRIMINATION OF ANY KIND.

  • avatar
    realtruth

    I’d say this car just proves the P.T. Barnum line. Why would anyone even consider buying this? A “Hybrid” that qualifies for the gas guzzler tax! (But the genius’s in congress probably made sure that hybrid powertrains don’t get considered regardless of their econ) That’s about a green as clear cutting the rain forests.


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