2009 Lexus LS 600h Hybrid Review
The Lexus LS 600h is, at the moment, the only luxury V8 hybrid car in the world. While most of its competitors offer a V12 edition of their super-luxury sedan, and a few offer less-powerful hybrids, Lexus counters with a high-performance hybrid -- aV8 seamlessly integrated with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission.
It's pricey, but the Lexus LS 600h offers a rare combination of luxury, power, and environmental cachet. The LS 600h can command a premium of more than $40,000 over the LS 460 L it's based on. But the LS is the fastest edition of Lexus's most luxurious car, and until recently, the only super-luxury hybrid.
The idea, however, is catching on.
Mercedes will sell a hybrid-powered version of its S-Class sedan for the 2010 model year -- though Mercedes' edition is tuned more for efficiency and less for performance. BMW is rumored to be developing a hybrid-powered 7-Series as well, though no release date has been set. Even a start-up is getting into the act -- the powerful Fisker Karma will offer sporty green luxury for a similar price tag beginning in 2010.
But the LSh remains the only car on the market to attempt to combine environmental credibility with horsepower that approximates the output of a V12.
The 2009 edition of the LS 600h is almost identical to the 2008 edition, with only one minor change: the passenger's side front seat now has a memory function.
Be sure to check Lexus deals for possible discounts on the LS.
- "The hybrid 600h is a technological tour-de-force, but in this price range, most European competitors offer the cachet of a 12-cylinder powertrain." -- Consumer Guide
- "The LS 600h L ends up delivering only 2 mpg more than a regular LS 460 L in the EPA's combined fuel economy estimate...What the 2009 Lexus LS 600h L does succeed at, however, is reduced tailpipe emissions (it's SULEV rated), an extraordinarily appointed luxury ride and the exclusivity ensured by its limited production." -- Edmunds
- "A luxury car first and a hybrid second, the LS600hL is a tech-laden, top-of-the-line dream machine with the performance and features to match anything in its rarefied class. The hybrid system doesn't make it an eco-mobile, but it does give it a notably more benign ecological impact than its competitors." -- Automobile Magazine
- "To be honest, the best way to evaluate the LS 600h L is not against other hybrids, but against other high-horsepower luxury sedans. Its closest competition comes from the 12-cylinder Mercedes-Benz S600 and BMW 760Li." -- Popular Mechanics
- "The Lexus LS 600h is more than just a stretched LS460. It's an advanced, intelligent, premium vehicle with numerous environmental benefits. It's fun to drive, but back seat passengers get the royal treatment." -- New Car Test Drive