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By Cars.com Staff
July 1, 2010
Vehicle Overview The Lexus LS 600h L was the first car to combine a V-8 gasoline engine with an electric motor for improved gas mileage and robust acceleration. The 600h L is a hybrid version of the LS 460 L, and it pretty much sits alone as an ultra-expensive hybrid, starting in the $108,000 range.
New for 2011 The LS 600h L now offers a brake override system and a coil suspension is standard. An air suspension is available on all-wheel-drive models. All other changes are minor.
Exterior The LS 600h L differs little from the LS 460 in its exterior appearance. Aside from the model badge on the trunklid, hybrid badging appears on the trim near the bottom of the rear doors. Exterior features include:
19-inch wheels with multiple design options
LED headlights are used as the low beams
Power folding heated tilt-down side mirrors
Available bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights
Interior The 600h L shares the gas-only L model's interior appointments. Special to the hybrid is a power-flow diagram on the dashboard's central LCD screen. The car's hybrid nature doesn't eliminate any of the model's gee-whiz features, including a self-parking system that relies on the car's backup camera. Interior features include:
Voice-activated navigation system
19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system
Available rear climate control
Available rear-seat DVD entertainment system
Under the Hood The LS is the first vehicle to mate an electric drive system to a V-8 engine, in this case a 5.0-liter. The system as a whole generates more than 430 horsepower, according to Lexus. Mechanical features include:
5.0-liter V-8 makes 389 hp, but when teamed with the electric motor total output rises to 438 hp
Continuously variable automatic transmission with Power and Snow modes
Lexus estimates zero to 60-mph in 5.5 seconds
288-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery
165-kilowatt electric motor
Combined fuel economy of 21 mpg
Safety The LS 600h L includes all the standard safety features of the LS 460 L. The available Advanced Pre-Collision System helps detect obstacles in the car's path, including pedestrians. It uses a forward-looking radar sensor and two cameras to view the road ahead. A third camera on the steering column monitors the driver's face. If the driver's head is turned and there's an obstacle ahead, the system chimes a warning and flashes a light, then applies the brakes gently if there's no response. It also tightens the seat belt retractors and moves the brake pads closer to the discs in preparation for a panic stop or collision. There's a free one-year subscription to the telematics system, Lexus Enform with Safety Connect, that offers automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator, emergency assist and roadside assistance. After the first year, Lexus Enform with Safety Connect becomes a paid subscription service. Safety features include:
Electronically controlled antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution