V12 power with V8 fuel economy in a luxo barge?! At least that’s what Lexus promised when they came out with the hybrid powered LS600h L at the end of last decade. Probably one of the most advanced cars they have ever made, this thing was a rolling example of Toyota quality and ingenuity.
Launched at the 2006 New York Auto Show, it was the first hybrid powered by a V8. The US only got the long wheelbase L version, while the rest of the world got both standard and logn wheelbase versions. Lexus touted its competition as pretty much all the 6 figure V12 powered luxo barges from everyone else. Mostly as a way to outshine them in fuel economy (which wasn’t that good. More on that below).
The engine was nothing but impressive. Powered by Lexus Hybrid Drive attached to the standard 5 liter V8, according to Wikipedia: the V8 engine is mated to two electric motors with nickel-metal hydride battery packs. The first motor has two primary functions, starting the gasoline engine and charging both the second motor and the nickel-metal hydride battery; the second motor is a high-output generator capable of 165 kW (221 hp; 224 PS) alone. The entire system generates an official output of 327 kW (439 hp; 445 PS). This total figure does not combine the V8 engine and the electric motor standalone power figures. The powertrain uses a two-stage L110F continuously variable transmission, featuring a three-mode power switch for control of torque output between hybrid (normal), power, or snow modes; an additional EV mode allows for silent driving under full electric power. Combined power output was 438 horses.
EPA fuel economy economy figures were...ok in my opinion.The standard LS got 16 city/24 highway, 19 combined with annual fuel cost of $2400. The 600h L? Not much better. It gained 4 in the city for for 20, but actually lost 2 mpg on the highway for 22. How? I don’t know if its because of how heavy it was (depending on if it was equipped with the Executive Rear seat package, it weighed either 5,115 pounds or 5,203. A heavy girl), or I don’t know. But it got worse fuel economy. Annual Savings were lower at $2,150. With its 2008 msrp being as heavy as its curb weight at $104,900, and the standard LS 460 L starting at $72,000, that means you would have paid 33 grand extra for hybrid tech for $250 bucks in fuel savings. Think about that.
Other than its questionable value, it was luxurious as hell. You could get full on seating for 4 with a center console full of luxury controls for massages, climate control etc
A rear entertainment system
with controls for not only the entertainment system, but a whole separate remote just for the massage functions on the rear seats
Other than that it was standard Lexus luxury and quality. Advanced safety features, one of the first auto parallel parking systems on the market, adjustable air suspension and one of the most advanced headlights on any car at the time
Which, even now, depending on where you look, can cost upwards of 2 grand for one unit. That’s not including the price to install them. Other than that, these are a steal now, if you can find one. From my research, from its debut year in 2007 to its final year 2016, they sold a total of 2,637 with them never selling more than a thousand on any given year.