By on September 25, 2013

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The LS 600hL is the pinnacle of Toyota and Lexus engineering. It is the largest Lexus sedan, the brand’s most expensive model, the most expensive hybrid in the world and, with the death of BMW’s V8 ActiveHybrid system, it is once again the most powerful hybrid on sale. Yet the LS 600hL hasn’t had an easy time of things. The large luxury sedan has been lambasted for being the antithesis of green thanks to its EPA combined 20 MPG score. Critics also question whether the 600hL’s enormous premium over the LS 460L can ever be “justified.” I too questioned the logic behind the 600hL at first, but then I spoke with someone who changed my mind. Before we dive in, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The 600hL starts at $119,910. With all the options checked, you land at $134,875. Without destination. Put your eye balls back in their sockets and click past the jump as we dive into an alternate universe.

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Exterior

I don’t live in a world filled with chauffeurs, champagne and caviar. Heck, I don’t even live in a world with indoor plumbing. (Seriously, my house doesn’t have an indoor shower, but that’s a story for a different time.) This meant I needed help in order to view the 600hL through the right lens. Fortunately I have a family connection with a guy in Atherton who is exactly the kind of guy I was looking for: one with deep pockets. Being the private jet/vacation mansion owning guy I was looking for, I expected him to be put off by the LS 600hL’s simple lines and unmistakably “discount” $71,990 LS 460 roots. Instead he had an opinion I hadn’t considered.

In a town where the money is piled high and deep, but paradoxically being flashy is considered tasteless, the LS 600hL strikes the right balance. Or so I am told. By looking like a lesser LS, it doesn’t scream “I spent twice your salary on my car,” but at the same time your neighbors will know your trust fund is still returning 15% a year. While he agreed that a similarly expensive 2014 S-Class was far more attractive and exciting, he felt it was too “nouveau riche.” From the mouth of babes…

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior, Rear Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. DykesInterior
$119,910 doesn’t buy you a leather-clad dashboard standard, if you want that you have to add a few options to your spendy hybrid. No matter what package you add, the age of the LS platform shows in the front seats. Sharing the same mechanisms with the pre-refresh 2012 LS, the seat fails to contort in the same variety of directions as the Germans, or even the cheaper Lexus GS which has more modern seat frames. Still, 600hL buyers are likely to only experience the front seats when Jeevs has a day off.

Because 2013 is more of an extensive refresh than a clean-sheet design, the LS 600hL doesn’t get a fancy LCD instrument cluster, opting instead for a four-dial arrangement with a “wine glass” shaped multi-function display in the center. A full-disco-dash arrangement isn’t a requirement for me as there are plenty of traditional gauges in this segment but I had hoped for more from a luxury car designed in a country obsessed with electronic gadgets. The same thing can be said for the large 12-inch display in the middle of the dash. The display is bright and crisp but the software hasn’t been significantly re-worked for some time making it feel dated.

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior-009

Gadgets & Infotainment

No 600hL would be complete without the $7,555 Executive Package. For the cost of a used compact car Lexus adds an Alcantara headliner, deletes the middle rear seat for a fixed console, covers the dash in leather, wires up a 120V inverter, and installs the best rear seat available in America.

That seat is the 600hL’s raison d’être. It is also so mind-blowingly insane, I have decided it will hence forth be known as the “Lexus throne”. The 600hL’s throne contorts in 10 ways via controls in the substantial center console and boasts manual butterfly headrests. If that isn’t enough it will also vibrate and massage your royal personage while you put your feet up on the power ottoman. The massaging function isn’t like the systems employed by the German competition in the front seat. Those systems use a series of air bladders that inflate/deflate in a pattern to initiate a massage. The result feels more like a rodent trapped between the foam and the upholstery. The Lexus system uses a system more similar to the pneumatic rollers you find in airport “massage station chairs.” Only classier. And without the stench of the peasantry.

Activating the massage is easy once you get the hang of the 17-button remote control nestled next to the 26-button infotainment remote inside the 45-button console. If you rank your rides by button count, we have a winner. Lexus tosses in a blue-ray DVD player, wireless headphones and a single LCD that drops down from the ceiling. Although the Lexus Remote Touch joystick lives on up front, those being coddled in the rear can forget about the clunky controller and can control many of the car’s functions via the button bank. On the one hand this is less integrated than BMW’s iDrive for rear passengers that allow them top play with the nav system, but it does shield the owner of the LS 600hL from dealing with the evil that is Remote Touch.

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Engine, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drivetrain

The wealthy are frequently in a hurry and have the resources to pay Texas-sized speeding tickets. Unfortunately for them, Lexus hasn’t updated the 600hL’s hybrid system for the new model. While I still think of the 600hL’s setup as one of the most advanced hybrid systems in the world, I just can’t call it “powerful” anymore. Rated at 438 system horsepower, it is outclassed by a wide variety of V8s in everything from a Dodge Super Bee to the German’s base V8 options. That’s even before we talk about the V12 luxury barges Lexus is attempting to target. The “old” S65 AMG cranked out 631 horses and enough torque to cause the earth to rotate in the other direction. What will 2014 bring? You can bet the answer will be: more.

Operating much like a Prius hybrid system on steroids, a 385 horsepower 5.0L V8 engine is mated directly to a planetary gearset employing two motor/generator units. The larger motor is capable of 221HP on its own, but the battery pack in the trunk of the LS can only supply 53 HP at a time limiting the EV mode to around 30 MPH. The engine and motors work together to provide seamless and linear acceleration unlike anything on the market save a Tesla Model S. This design is quite different from the pancake motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission that you find in the German hybrids. Lexus won’t comment on how much torque the combined unit is good for, but my gut tells me it is around 450 lb0-ft combined.

Lexus continues to use a 288V Ni-MH battery pack that is similar to the one used in the Lexus RX hybrid. The 1.6kWh battery pack isn’t as space efficient as the more modern Lithium based batteries but had a proven track record and allows high current discharges with a smaller number of cells. Unfortunately it’s not as slim as the trendier cells and occupies a large portion of the trunk. Combined with the plumbing for the four zone climate control and the massaging throne, they slice trunk capacity from 18 cubes to 13 making it difficult to fit large luggage in the rear.

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drive

With 5,500 pounds of luxury sedan riding (yes, you read that number correctly) on an air suspension, you can cross corner carving off your list. I suspect that such activities are frowned upon when the help is driving you anyway, but the weight and relatively narrow 245/45R19 tires mean stopping distances are long as well. Dynamically the LS has always been an excellent vehicle with a well controlled chassis, nearly perfect weight balance and a solid feel. When scaled up to the 600hL, you can tell those traits are still there but they are masked by the weight and the standard adaptive air suspension.

If I might digress for a moment, the LS platform is the perfect vehicle to experience an air suspension in on a test drive. There aren’t many cars that have a standard steel-coil suspension and an air suspension available in the same car and the LS is one. Air suspensions have an entirely different feel to them so when you compare an S-Class with Airmatic with a 7-Series that had only a partial rear air suspension it’s difficult to compare unless you’ve experienced what the air bags do to the feel of the car. I encourage anyone looking in this segment to give the LS a spin with and without the air suspension so you can really be familiar with the changes these systems make to the feel of a car.

Back on topic, let’s talk thrust. At the stoplight races the LS 600hL accelerates faster if the engine is already on. This is fairly logical since some of the motor’s twist would be consumed by starting the engine. Our numbers were taken with the engine “stopped” by the hybrid system which is the normal state of affairs. Thanks to the massive torque from the electric motor and the 5.0L V8, we hit 30 MPH after a scant 2.36 seconds. After this point the heavy curb weight comes into play with 60 MPH happening after 5.44 seconds followed by a 13.96 second quarter-mile. A BMW 750 and Mercedes S550 scoot to 60 about a half second faster while the V12 BMW 760 is a full second quicker. On the flip side even the new 8-speed ZF transmission feels like a farm tractor compared to the Lexus Hybrid Drive system. Acceleration in the 600hL is extraordinarily linear, unbelievably smooth and eerily silent. Comparisons to the Tesla Model S in terms of acceleration linearity and feel are entirely appropriate. All of a sudden the hybrid drivetrain combined with the throne in the back make sense: if I’m being driven, I want a smooth experience. Forget about the driver having fun, it’s all about the party in the back.

2014 Lexus LS 600hL Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

After a week with the LS 600hL I still have problems looking at the expensive cruiser in the “right” way, but I am closer to understanding the point. That point is less about fuel economy (which was 21.8 MPG over all by the way) and more about silently and smoothly cruising below the radar. If that’s your mission, then mission accomplished. The LS 600hL is also the least expensive vehicle that I know of designed with the chauffeured set in mind. Except that makes the LS 600hL the oddest duck I’ve met. Being obviously designed for owners with drivers it makes a value proposition that logically shouldn’t matter to the intended audience. If you’re being driven, the smallest part of the expense structure over the life of a vehicle is the price of the vehicle. Your driver and his benefits are likely to eat the bulk of your budget. My sounding board in this process is still trying to convince me that looking at the LS 600hL in this light is missing the point. Perhaps, but it does explain why the LS 600hL sells in such small numbers. It also explains why he still has a 2010 XJ8.

 

Hit it or Quit It?

Hit it

  • Best. Back. Seat. Ever.
  • Avatar on Blue Ray never sounded so good.

Quit it

  • Everyone will wonder why you didn’t buy an S-Class.
  • 438 ponies is hardly class-topping in 2013.
  • Despite being told otherwise, 21.8 MPG still seems to be missing the point.

 

Lexus provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

0-30: 2.36

0-60: 5.44

1/4 Mile: 13.96 @ 105 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 21.8 MPG over 623 miles

 

 

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58 Comments on “Review: 2014 Lexus LS 600hL (With Video)...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    I can’t imagine myself in a world where something like this would remotely appeal to me, but for those with the bucks, why not?

    It’s probably more reliable than a Rolls or Bentley and more economical for those who care.

    Nice review.

    Alex, I want to hear more about your lack of plumbing, since you let that cat out of the bag! Inquiring TTAC commenters want to know!

    • 0 avatar

      Oh god, I once saw an old lady in her 70s with a broken down Bentley. Really great looking car, BTW, just didn’t run. It was raining. For some reason she would not hide in her car while waiting for the tow truck and was getting wet. Frankly I was concerned that she’d end with pneumonia if she kept it up. Heck I would catch a good cold if I did that.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “The LS 600hL is also the least expensive vehicle that I know of designed with the chauffeured set in mind. ”

    Hyundai Equus.

    Although, if I lived in Atherton I can’t imagine not going with the Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      “Hyundai Equus.”

      More for its home market of South Korea (as opposed to the US where they’ll primarily be owner driven), but I agree with your point.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      I’m somewhat curious about the chauffered target market overall, at least in NA. There are a decent number of these things around my neighbourhood (Vancouver) and I’ve never seen one of these not being self-driven — ditto with any other top-tier luxury cars in its ilk including Bentleys etc. Not sure if it’s a Canadian thing, but I imagine at least half of these, if not more, will be owner driven.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Actor Jack Nicholson has a chauffeur. He used to drive, but his agent said between the fender bender repairs, insurance premiums, and lawsuits, it was cheaper to hire a driver. And Jack no longer has to pull out a seven-iron to fend off angry motorists.

        Young divas insist on drivers, at least for appearances, though I’ve seen pictures of Canadian singer Avril Lavigne driving her own car. CEOs on “official business” get somebody else to drive, and other business executives are part of the customer base. For everybody else it’s a case of “my driver has the day off.”

        If you raised your teenager to be responsible, you can sit in the back seat too, at minimal cost. My 13 year old grandson promises to drive me anywhere, as soon as he gets a license, and I buy him a Corvette.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        You see quite a few chauffeur-driven in the neighborhood of the World Financial Center in Manhattan. The main entrance sometimes looks like a Lexus dealership. The other place I saw these (along with S-Classes by the 1/2 dozen) was at the Pullman Hotel at the Bayun airport in Guangzhou, China. Here in Texas? Not so much. The millionaires in our immediate area all drive F150s and Silverados.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    So this one didn’t set a new all-time low decibel reading?

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    In that market, I guess odd duck is good. You don’t have to be the best, you can have flaws, but at least be different. I like the new non-shiny light wood treatment and the interior. It looks like the New First Class cabin of Lufthansa on the decades-old 747. New interior to dress up old-as-balls mechanicals. That said, this guy needs a complete redo ASAP. I hope they introduce a new model soon and this nose-tail-interior-dashboard refresh is only for a year or two like the 2012 Avalon. Tesla is eating up all of the luxury green customers, the new 2014 S is eating up all of the traditional luxury barge buyers. It’s time to swim upstream, Lexus!

  • avatar
    oldowl

    At that price you might think the 600hL might have a more distinctive front end than a variation on the Lexus lemon-sucking grille.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      No kidding. That’s a heck of a lot of money to spend for a front end which looks like that.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I’d expect a little more rear leg room too. I think my ’68 Mercury Montego had more, though the front passenger seat didn’t turn into an “ottoman”.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        This is a stupid, hideous vehicle, with an idiotic price tag, that only a fool would purchase with their own money.

        Even if it were 1/3 the price, I’d rather have a Lexus LS430 (yes, the last gen).

        It never ceases to amaze me how true the adage that fools & their money are easily separated is.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Lexus has tried really hard to ugly up their vehicles lately. I guess that is an industry trend as well.

          I just can’t get over the front of this car compared to its much better looking competition.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Gotta like the back though. It’s nearly got fins like a Cadillac, and it looks pretty serious with the LLL brake light clusters they’re using.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    0-60: 5.44
    1/4 Mile: 13.96 @ 105 MPH
    “With 5,500 pounds of luxury sedan riding (yes, you read that number correctly) …”
    “… I just can’t call it “powerful” anymore.”

    Maybe you can’t, but I will.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That’s right, weighs more than some old Rolls from the 70s.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      ” A BMW 750 and Mercedes S550 scoot to 60 about a half second faster while the V12 BMW 760 is a full second quicker. ”

      Exactly where is this sort of acceleration relevant on public roads? I’d suppose passing on a two lane road. And I’s suppose in Germany in the (not so common) times on the Autobahn where one could go flat out with so much power.

      My humble Prius C reportedly get to 60 in 10.5 seconds at best. I very rarely have the pedal to the floor,and that is in “ECO ” mode which cuts maximum power down by some percentage. It has adequate passing power on two lane roads even in ECO, but it helps to remember to turn off the ECO mode.

      But of course practicality is not a concern with top of the line anything. Ego and desire are.

      I recall a cartoon in a Playboy magazine in the 60’s, a woman remarking to her man friend driving a big convertible stuck in traffic “your 400 horsepower car idles nicely in traffic”

      Ah but I rant.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        It’s as relevant as the 1 second difference between the bmw 325 I considered, and the 330 that I bought. It’s a difference you can feel, and that feeling is good. Ego also has nothing to do with it. 99% of people out there can’t tell the difference between the two, just like 99% of people can’t tell the difference between, a 6, 8, or 12 cylinder S class or 7 series.

  • avatar
    Toad

    ” If you’re being driven, the smallest part of the expense structure over the life of a vehicle is the price of the vehicle. Your driver and his benefits are likely to eat the bulk of your budget.”

    Not in China. My guess is that and developing nations and the Middle East is where the bulk of these will end up. Drivers should be relatively inexpensive.

  • avatar
    Windy

    Sounds like those rear seats would be just the ticket for M.M. ‘s van project… makes me wonder if he has seen any of these on his visits to the self serve wrecking yards…

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Still can’t rationalize buying this over the non-hybrid version…

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Unlike just about everything else you have reviewed, this car is clearly designed to be a rider’s — not a driver’s — car. Otherwise, the amazing rear seat makes no sense at all.

    From that perspective, all that’s required of the front seat is that it be adequate — not state of the art. The help is sitting in that seat.

    Likewise, neck snapping acceleration is fun only for the driver and for those who enjoy roller coasters. Thus, this car’s acceleration is more than adequate, even if, unlike the new AMG S-Class, it doesn’t pop 60 in less than 4 seconds. As you note, the quality of the acceleration is extraordinary . . . and that’s what will matter to the owner of this car.

    Finally, as your Atherton friend notes, understatement is key. If you’re being driven by a chauffeur, this car is much more understated than being driven in a Roller or a Bentley. To the casual viewer, this is just another “Silicon Valley Toyota” as the LS was dubbed many years ago.

    Regarding the supposedly unimpressive mileage figures, I invite any of the complainers to identify a 5500 lb. vehicle that gets anywhere near that in mixed driving. Most vehicles of that size would be lucky to get that kind of mileage at 50 mph driving the length of Kansas.

    • 0 avatar
      MK

      Interesting review, I’ve never paid attention to these except one I saw in the GTA last year when I noticed the little h emblem.

      I’m so far out of the target demographic for this thing it’s unreal but I had NO idea this thing clocked in at over $120k and is designed to be chauffeur driven.

      I had never considered it but I guess it makes sense particularly in Asian, European, Middle East countries… Being driven around by someone else just goes against my grain.

      The blonde wood in that thing looks quite nice though, would be nice to see more of that style picked up across the industry.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    typo edit for you Alex – “while the V6 BMW 760 is a full second quicker”. A 760 is a V12, not a V6.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Wow. A flip down DVD player like you get in a $30K minivan, “impressive.” The tech in this car is beyond pathetic. Lexus is really going to have to hard sell their microwaved leftovers with a brand new S-class for sale.

  • avatar
    wsn

    “while the V6 BMW 760″

    1 liter per cylinder?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “The LS 600hL is the pinnacle of Toyota and Lexus engineering.”

    I know it’s not technically in production anymore, but no love for the LFA?

    At any rate, I believe Lexus is the Official Carriage for the Royal Family of Monaco…not a bad feather in its cap.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I’m always surprised that there aren’t more celebrity endorsements for cars. I remember Lucy Liu and Karen Mok as brand ambassadors for the Cadillac SRX, Tiger Woods for Buick, and Daniel Craig for the Range Rover Sport. Otherwise, I don’t see many at all.

      I suspect the campaigns aren’t that cost effective, and probably work better on commoditized products like wrist watches.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    Done correctly, light wood trim with a black interior can be a stunning and classy combo!

  • avatar
    suspekt

    Interesting…

    13.96@ 105mph… 5,500 pounds…. getting about 21.6mpg…. pretty crazy numbers

    what other full luxury car can do this???…. all of the German diesels wont trap as high…

    I wonder if the 4.0T in the Audi A8 would do better…. it just might

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That same Audi 4.0L is now in the Bentley Continental GT V8. If Bentley were to use that engine in its new Flying Spur (which is of course a four-door version of the Continental GT), it might be a good comparison to the big Lexus size-wise.

  • avatar
    tralls

    The one issue with your video is the claim that the Lexus is the most expensive hybrid available. The Porsche 918 Spyder, which is now available, is the most expensive.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Alex, you say that the air suspension makes the car feel different, but then you move on to talking about other things. HOW, exactly, does it feel different? Better? Worse?

    I think I know what your talking about though. I had a mid-2000s Jaguar XJR with the CATS air suspension. It never felt entirely… natural. It had an artificial feel to it, and it was a bit unpredictable. Sometimes seemingly large bumps would be magically absorbed, and other times, small imperfections in the road would intrude rather rudely.

    It also had the habit of going to MAX firmness right before a stop (I presume this was to eliminate dive) but sometimes it would go to max stiffness, just as I was cresting a speed bump, and then it would overcompensate and go to max softness and bottom out over the next speed bump.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I have a pet theory of Lexus, and that it is a brand in decline because it needs more halo products.

    The evidence? Lexus is 4th in sales behind all 3 German brands in Canada. The LS at its peak outsold all of the flagships in the US market, and today is outsold by flagships that are 5 and 7 years old already. They moved away from the simplicity and speed of the U-Connect rivaling touchscreen towards a hepatic mouse controller. They have displayed inflexibility by being slow to respond in offering AWD, multiple engine choices, and more customizable option lists. And finally, they’ve been showing cost cutting in products like the ES, which have interiors that don’t even rival a 2003 ES (though I would argue that is also true of the 5 and E-class).

    To me, a strong luxury brand can sell in volume without discounting. By that definition, a luxury brand ought to be able to sell every car they can make, at envious margins, and have buyers willing to pay full price. Profit seeking and exclusivity don’t mix unless you’re a niche player wanting to be gobbled up by a volume company, thus Tesla’s infatuation with volume targets.

    I’m of the school of thought that luxury brands can either do business with a halo product anchoring volume lessor products (BMW, MB, Lexus, jewelry, audiophile products), or have products of level quality and price points (VAG, Apple, most Kering/LVMH/Richemont brands) with relatively little differentiation between top and bottom but using separate brands to reach higher price points. You can’t do both without flaming out your brand through cannibalization, like VAG will soon find out.

    I think the Europeans have shown that you can totally sell vinyl manual seat, 4 cylinder, not-made-in-Germany sleds to badge whores, as long as there is a halo product behind it. And people will buy them, because somewhere out there is a 911GT3, S65, or B7 Active X that you’re now part of the club with. It’s sad that the halo products of today’s Cadillac and Lincoln were built 40-50 years ago.

    So my solution is to recognize that Lexus is a brand that requires halo products to move more ES’s and IS’s. So move the LS upmarket, and bring the LF-LC already.

    • 0 avatar
      romanjetfighter

      I agree with you 100%!

      2003 ES had adaptive variable suspension, and I think after the refresh, those swiveling headlamps were available. 2010, there was actual shiny chrome on the door pulls and the dashboard. Now it’s painted silver. The stitching on the new model is fake on the dashboard and inconsistent with the stitching on the mouse thing in the center console. And they’re putting in NuLuxe instead of standard leather like the old models.

      Gross!

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      I don’t think you’re 100% right here. While you are on point with Mercedes, I don’t think BMW operates the same way. The C and CLA are definitely riding the S class’s coatails. However, I don’t think people buy a 3 series because of the 7. if anything, it’s the other way around. The 3 series is BMW’s halo car. Younger people buy a 3 series because it’s a 3 series. As they get old/wealthier/better promotions, they buy up to the 5 and the 7 because they supposedly share the 3 series DNA. That being said, I think the current 3 series is riding on the reputation established by previous generations of 3 series. While most BMW buyers may not know what a 2002 or e30 are, those are the cars that earned BMW the “ultimate driving machine” title, and it’s that image that people are buying into today.

      • 0 avatar
        WaftableTorque

        Having an aspirational halo product seems to be a necessity at some stage of the development of a luxury brand. Even BMW had their M1 and Audi had their Quattro. It’s no guarantee of success, as the Q45, Allante, and XJ220 have shown.

        But I think my point is still valid though, about going super-consistent with your brand and limiting your market, or going loosey goosey with your product mix and use a halo product to anchor the brand’s message. Like Apple vs Samsung. Food for thought anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          I have to disagree that the M1 figures that heavily into the BMW mystique. the M3 has far more name cachet and recognition. I’ve had several enthusiasts friends that i had to explain BMW’s reason for naming the 1 series M that instead of M1. also, the 2002, which is the car that is singularly most responsible for BMW’s reputation, predated the M1. As much as I personally revere the M1, BMW’s repuation was built on small sedans. The 2002, the 3 series, the 5 series, and their respective M models are what gave BMW the image it now is cashing in on today.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The LS400 sold in the volume it did b/c it was priced below a loaded E Class, nevermind the S Class.

      As the price of the LS has risen, sales have fallen (and the LS is still a cool $20k cheaper than the S Class).

      Nonetheless, the LS sells better within its segment b/c it brings a greater value equation than the GS or IS, respectively, do for their respective segments (and why the bulk of Lexus sales are the cheaper FWD ES and RX).

      Keeping the price down is also why Toyota lengthened the life cycle of the current LS460 and why they have been slow to update powertrains, unlike the Germans who seemingly make improvements continually.

  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    This car will get redesigned in 2015 with the rest of the LS lineup. Here’s what needs to happen to the hybrid LS:

    1. AWD will be optional. That will drop 200 lbs.
    2. The whole body of the hybrid needs to lose weight. Hood, wheels, trunk lid, suspension, all need to be made of aluminum. Drop another 200 lbs.
    3. Lithium Ion batteries will drop another 50-100 lbs.
    4. Avoid making it the most powerful model, which will be the 2016 LSF. Have it be a mid-range product, focused on fuel economy, not extra power. Similar power to the standard V8, and a small premium in price, but gets 50% better fuel economy. Target 30 MPG combined, over the LS500’s (future name with the 5.0 V8) 20 MPG
    BD

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Those are all very good suggestions. It’s sort of like how BMW’s newer diesel models are typically more economical and more sporty than the base models, but are outmatched by the top-tier powertrains. Or they could do as Mercedes-Benz did with the outgoing S400 and make the hybrid the base-model. And if Lexus really wants the power of a V12, the company should just build one.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      I disagree with your 4th point. Once cars start costing this much, economy is way, way, waaaay down the list of priorities. They care about power and refinement, and if that power and refinement costs a few MPG, so be it.

      What they could do is make the LS a hybrid only car. (it is their flagship after all). The base car could have the V6 hybrid system from the GS with a focus on economy, and the V8 hybrid could be the upgrade focusing on power.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    It amazes me the length that people will go to diminish this and the LFA due to their price tag and how they “aren’t worth it” or are “irrational”. Um, tell me what $100K+ car is rational. Certainly no less irrational than buying an S-Class that will spend most of its time at the Mercedes-Benz service center, but somehow nobody seems to scream irrational at that car…

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Well, the market has spoke and the LS600hL just doesn’t sell.

      But then again, neither does the hybrid version of the GS (which sells about 40-60 a month).

      When it comes to hybrid luxury sedans, it seems that the market is tilted towards the cheaper FWD sedans (ES, MKZ, etc.).

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      ‘but somehow nobody seems to scream irrational at that car…’

      Because new S-Classes don’t spend most of their time at the service center. That was 1998-2006. And even if they did, most owners would still think its ‘worth’ it. Lexus can’t really win in this market.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    I have a 2009 LS460 AWD that gives me 27 mpg on the highway. Nuff said

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Maybe an engine like this would do better than a hybrid, much better and probably perform just as well.

    But Toyota don’t have any real diesel tech at the moment. They went to BMW to ‘exchange’ BMW diesel tech for Toyota hybrid tech.

    It seems even Lexus does have some of Toyota’s shortcomings.

    Vital statistics: Cayenne S Diesel

    Engine: 4134cc V8 diesel with twin turbochargers
    Power: 281kW at 3750rpm
    Torque: 850Nm at 2000-2750rpm
    Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic auto
    0-100km/h: 5.7 secs
    Kerb weight: 2195kg
    Fuel economy: 8.3 litres per 100 km
    CO2 emissions: 218 g/km
    Towing capacity: 3500kg
    Price: $155,500
    On sale: April 2013.

  • avatar

    The S400 is a better car because it uses less fuel and costs less. Technologically, the S400 is more sophisticated, but the LS600 Powertrain is probably the best of the lot.


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