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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the gas powered 2018 lexus ls won t be lonely for long

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]

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2 of 28 comments
  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that