Lexus Debuts 2008 LS 600h L: World’s First Full Hybrid V8 Luxury Sedan
04/12/2006 New York
Lexus unveiled the all-new 2008 LS 600h L hybrid luxury sedan at a press conference today at the 2006 New York International Automobile Show. Scheduled to arrive in Spring 2007, the all-wheel-drive LS 600h L will be the world’s first vehicle to feature a full hybrid V8 powertrain.
"The LS 600h L was developed to explore the outer reaches of performance, style and safety," said Bob Carter, Lexus Division group vice president and general manager. "It is a vehicle as efficient and familiar as it is indulgent and advanced, a far-reaching concept, fully developed and fully realized. It is simply in a class by itself."
Lexus Hybrid Drive
Coinciding with the debut of the all-new LS is the introduction of the Lexus Hybrid Drive name, which will be used globally for all Lexus hybrid models. The hybrid-drive system in the LS 600h L builds upon the Toyota and Lexus legacy established by the Prius, RX 400h and GS 450h to combine an all-new five-liter V8 gasoline engine with large, high-output electric motors and a newly designed large-capacity battery pack. This advanced combination will provide the LS 600h L with an unmatched balance of environmental efficiency and performance, furnishing the hybrid with a peak combined output rating of more than 430 horsepower.
To distribute this immense power, a new full-time all-wheel-drive system is utilized for superior handling control. The LS 600h L also employs a newly developed dual-stage electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission. This combination results in impressive power and seamless acceleration.
The Lexus Hybrid Drive system found in the LS 600h L is the automotive industry’s most advanced gas-electric hybrid system developed to date, providing power and performance on par with modern 12-cylinder engines while still delivering best-in-V8-class fuel efficiency. It will equal or better the combined fuel-economy ratings of smaller V6 all-wheel drive mid-sized luxury sedans.
The LS hybrid is expected to carry a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) rating. A SULEV rating means the LS 600h L has nearly 70-percent cleaner emissions than the “cleanest” of its competitors.
“It is fair to say that there is nothing on the road, or on the drawing board, that comes close to delivering such a formerly contradictory combination of jaw-dropping engine performance, fuel efficiency and clean emissions,” Carter said.
Owing to the inherent noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) improvements offered by its hybrid powertrain, the LS 600h L is designed to set a new standard for silent running in the prestige-luxury sedan class. The depth and density of cabin quietness in the LS 600h L required extensive re-engineering of accessory motors and switches.
With "quiet-ride" ranking as one of the top five reasons for purchase of prestige-luxury vehicles, especially among current LS owners, the LS 600h L is well-situated in its class and poised to please the exacting luxury-car buyer. Its NVH levels are about half that found in conventional cars, making the hybrid LS one of the quietest automobiles ever built, if not the quietest.
High-Output V8 and World’s First Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission
The LS 460 and LS 460 L will be powered by an all-new, highly advanced 4.6-liter V8 engine that will produce approximately 380 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque. Combined with a world-first eight-speed automatic transmission, these LS sedans will travel from zero-to-sixty miles per hour in less than 5.5 seconds—all without sacrificing fuel economy. Even with this level of performance, the new LS sedans are expected to receive a combined city/highway mileage in the low-20s as well as an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle II (ULEV II) rating.
Advanced Active Safety Technologies
Coinciding with the launch of the hybrid model is a newly developed, Advanced Pre-Collision System (APCS) that is like nothing ever before offered by Lexus. One element of APCS is a new system designed to help detect pedestrians in the vehicle’s path.
Two small cameras mounted at the front of the car, in conjunction with millimeter-wave radar, are sensitive enough to detect not just large metal obstructions such as cars but also smaller nonmetallic objects, such as humans.
A third camera, mounted on the steering column, monitors the orientation of the driver’s face. If the camera sees that the driver is not looking directly ahead for a few seconds or more, and if an obstacle is detected ahead, then it alerts the driver first with a warning chime and a flashing light. As the car gets closer to the obstacle, the system can begin to gently apply the brakes on its own. To assist the driver in maneuvering around the obstacle, the system reprograms the steering ratio, amplifying the intensity and quickness of the steering response.While all of this is happening, the system automatically cinches up the passenger restraints and prepares the brake system to respond with full force when activated by the driver in anticipation of a possible impact.
These unique active safety systems team with Lexus’ proprietary next-generation Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, standard on all new LS models, which integrates variable gear-ratio electronic steering, electronic vehicle stability control and electronic brake assist.
An air suspension system equipped with Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) will be standard on the LS 600h L and an option on the LS 460 L. VGRS optimizes the steering gear ratio according to vehicle speed to help enhance responsiveness and driver control. VGRS also partners with VDIM, making minor adjustments to front-wheel angle for improved control in challenging road conditions.
Together these technologies make up an intelligently designed, logically conceived vehicle that helps to provide a level of confidence and control never before experienced.
The styling on the new LS begins with a daring design language that shatters the myth that luxury sedans must be sedate and understated. A result of the recent design direction Lexus deems L-finesse, the new LS vehicles are the crowning touch to a fully restyled car lineup, which already includes the GS, IS and ES sedans.
The L-finesse design philosophy has its roots in creating a balance of contrasting elements. The new LS encompasses this direction with its bold look, style and personality—both vivid and forceful while at the same time warm, inviting and contemporary. With a pulled-back hood, characteristic of the new Lexus look, low-to-the- ground stance and elegantly sculpted and streamlined body contours, the LS emphasizes simplicity and style in a stunning, modern package.
Offered exclusively as a long-wheelbase model in North America, the new LS 600h L will not only offer the highest level of performance, safety and technological advancements, it will also provide the highest level of comfort, convenience and roominess of the three distinctly different LS models.
The long-wheelbase model of the hybrid and the LS 460 L brings with it nearly five inches of additional legroom for rear passengers and can be outfitted with a long list of luxury conveniences that includes four-zone front and rear A/C with air purification, rear-door power sunshades and rear power headrests, a spectacular four-person seating configuration with a fixed rear console and fold-out table, and a right rear-seat 45-degree recliner with footrest and multifunction massage.
Technology amenities on the long-wheelbase models will include voice-activated hard disk drive (HDD) Navigation with Bluetooth® technology and XM real-time traffic system, a first in the prestige luxury segment, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with 9-inch drop-down screen, and the specially developed 19-speaker 450-watt Mark Levinson® Reference Surround Sound audio system, which creates a new standard for automotive sound systems. In addition, the LS 600h L will be the world’s first vehicle to be equipped with LED headlights for nighttime and low-beam use.
The LS will also be the first Lexus to offer XM satellite radio as a factory-installed option. The all-new LS sedans will all offer an advanced parallel-park-assist function. The driver simply pushes a button and the park-assist system parks the car with just a little brake work by the driver.
Like all LS-series vehicles, the LS 600h L’s intelligent and evocative design carries through to the beautifully appointed cabin. Extra luxury and comfort touches include a heated steering wheel and seats wrapped in one of four tones of semi-aniline leathers matched to one of three coordinating wood-grain trims.
While the list of comfort, convenience and luxury features on the new LS-series vehicles is remarkable, another truly defining aspect of these cars is their superb craftsmanship. In order to build a vehicle that would redefine “world’s best,” Lexus started by improving a production process widely recognized as the industry’s finest.
The new LS 600h L as well as the LS 460 and LS 460 L are the product of an all-new build process developed specifically for the LS line at Lexus’ award-winning Tahara, Japan plant. With this extraordinary investment in engineering expertise comes a sedan that achieves extraordinary new levels of fit, finish, accuracy and refinement. The all-new LS sedans showcase the Lexus belief that every element and phase of production is vital and that building cars is more than just a business—it is an art form.
The LS 600h L will go on-sale in April 2007, six months after the LS 460 and LS 460 L launch in October 2006.
Credit: Lexus USA