Lexus LS 600h L: the New Volkswagen Phaeton

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Our friends over at have hooked-up with (be careful when driving your exotic?). This week’s alert: luxury hybrids are a drug on the market. Hybrid Escalades are going for ten grand under sticker. Lexus dealers have been instructed to sell their remaining stock of 2009 Lexus 600h Ls for $10k off sticker. And, we might add, the rest. After all, the second you drive that $106k-and-up top-of-the-line hybrid off the lot, you’ll lose a LOT more than $10k. Still, the discount could take some of the heat out of torching 10 Grovers—and drive down the the price of pre-loved examples. A 30k LS 600h L is yours for around $75k. And the rest, now. At any price, the 600h L is one of the world’s best luxury cars— that’s destined to remain the deep-pocketed eccentric’s choice. Or, as was the case with the VW Phaeton, not.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Oct 20, 2009

    This car is akin to ordering a double quarter pounder heart attack special with extra large fries and.... a diet coke!

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Oct 20, 2009
    b) is way more fuel efficient than the 600hl It's also much slower. The reason the W12 was compared is because it's actually competitive with the LS600hL. At that power point, the LSh is more fuel efficient, especially in urban duty. d) has a very good interior, unlike the Lexus The other comments are fair, but lets be honest: the Lexus LS has a very, very nice interior, certainly better than the Phaeton's. You may not like it, but it's not "bad". I’d be very, very surprised if worldwide sales of hybrid Lexi were higher than sales of diesel Phaetons. This is kind of a red herring. For one, Lexus never made many LSh cars. It's a limited-availability model, whereas the Phaeton TDI more pedestrian. You'll note that the Ford Focus outsells both for the same reason. Now, that said, the Lexus creamed the VW (and the Audi A8, and the Audi & the VW combined) in North America and Japan. The Phaeton and A8, by virtue of being diesels, are going to sell better in markets like Europe, where that matters. Considering their highly regional appeal, I wouldn't champion one over the other as a truly huge success.
  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Oct 20, 2009
    This car is akin to ordering a double quarter pounder heart attack special with extra large fries and…. a diet coke! No, it's not. It's like going to a very, very expensive restaurant that happens to serve vegan, organic, ethically-derived cuisine instead of veal or fois gras. You could go to the farmer's market, grow your own and/or practice veganism, but that's not really the point, here. The point isn't that the food is organic/ethical, it's that it costs a shitload of money and comes with a "shitload of money" experience. The vegan/organic angle is, metaphorically, gravy.
  • Fb1580119404 Fb1580119404 on Feb 23, 2010

    Have serious doubts about this car. Gas mileage is 22 mpg in real use, 18 in MI winters. Caution all hybrid fans north of mason-dixon line. Just replaced rear struts/shocks (warranty) at 14K miles. It;s a great ride, smooth highway driver, ungodly expensive. Good thing the wife leased it.