Launched back in 2008, the Lexus LS 600h L continues to stand apart from its high-end counterparts. To be specific, “h” stands for hybrid. That gasoline/electric powertrain makes this a vehicle of choice for well-off buyers who crave a large luxury sedan, but would rather generate a smaller environmental footprint.
Or, if that doesn’t quite work, to at least convey a “greener” automotive image. Fuel economy aside, the most lavish LS model might tempt anyone who wants one of the most serene-riding, technologically advanced luxury sedans on the planet.
What's New for 2016
The multimedia system has been enhanced, so drivers can now display the map across the entire 12.3-inch screen. Menu shortcuts have been added to the side of the screen, and voice recognition capability has been enhanced. The Remote Touch interface adds “enter” and “back” buttons. Structurally, body adhesive goes into more areas to improve rigidity.
Choosing Your Lexus LS 600h
Serving as top dog among Lexus's flagship sedans, the LS 600h L comes only as a long-wheelbase model, in a single trim level. The hybrid powertrain mates a 5-liter gas-powered V8 with an electric motor to produce a total of 438 horsepower, delivered to all four wheels via an automated continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Fuel economy isn't this hybrid's strong suit. Expect an estimated 19 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, or 20 mpg in combined driving. Those figures barely beat the LS 460's conventional gasoline V8, with an estimate of 16/23 mpg city/highway (18 mpg combined) for the extended-wheelbase all-wheel drive model. Drive-mode selection has six settings: EV, Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport+.
As expected in a car that costs more than $120,000, the LS 600h L is loaded with standard features. These include an air suspension, four-zone automatic climate control, semi-aniline leather-trimmed seat upholstery, wood trim with aluminum accents, a heated steering wheel, Lexus Enform Service Connect telematics, navigation system, Mark Levinson 19-speaker audio system with DVD changer, LED interior lighting, front knee airbags, seat-mounted rear airbags, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The Executive Class Seating Package drops passenger capacity to four, with just two seats in the rear. Also included are a Blu-ray entertainment system, rear-seat massaging, and an ottoman. Radar-based adaptive cruise control, a driver attention monitor, lane keep assist, and collision avoidance assist are bundled into an optional pre-collision system.
Considering its astounding selling price and rather skimpy improvement in fuel consumption over a regular gasoline V8, no one buys an LS 600h L strictly to save money at the pump. May as well just savor its posh comforts and conveniences, while enjoying the smoothly vigorous performance and library-like serenity. Being realistic, those are the true reasons most folks buy this upper-notch LS. In this league, we’d pay extra for the pre-collision system.