The Gas-powered 2018 Lexus LS Won't Be Lonely for Long

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The next-generation Lexus LS flagship’s top-to-bottom revamp took some fans by surprise when it was revealed ahead of the Detroit auto show. Not only did it do away with a formal roofline, a V8 engine — which has powered the model since its inception — was no where to be found, replaced by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6.

It appeared as if convention wasn’t the only thing Lexus planned to ditch, as a hybrid model was neither announced, nor teased. As it turns out, Lexus did tease an upcoming hybrid variant — we just needed to look closer.

The current-generation LS 600h runs in the same circles as other top-zoot hybrid luxury sedans, employing a 5.0-liter V8 mated to an electric motor for significant power gains, though its fuel economy remains less than impressive. We’ll likely be able to erase that powertrain from our memories.

While there’s no word on what form the new electrified model will take, it’s clear that Lexus is planning something. Press photos of the next-gen LS contained an Easter Egg. In an interior shot, an “EV” button can be seen just aft of the gearshift and touchpad.

Not only is it a clear indication that a hybrid model will return, it also signals that the upcoming hybrid system will be more capable than before. The existing LS 600h operated as a conventional hybrid, with no ability to run purely on electricity — not even on short jaunts, like the company’s famed but far less luxurious Prius.

For 2018, the LS switches to a variant of the platform used by the LC performance coupe, which just happens to field a hybrid model. Toyota hasn’t said if the 354-horsepower Multi Stage Hybrid System found in the LC 500h will take up residence in the redesigned sedan. If it does, its output would pale next to the 415 hp available from the LS 500’s twin-turbo V6. That doesn’t seem right for a range-topper. Certainly, not when its predecessor placed performance above gas mileage.

[Images: Toyota Motor Corporation]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
  • El scotto I can get the speedometer from dad's 72 Ford truck back. I can't get dad back.
  • El scotto BAH! No dividers in the trunk for bags of onions or hooks for hanging sardines! Hard Pass.