Following the world premiere of the all-new Lexus LS at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the saloon is debuting in its most eco-friendly version at Geneva. The hybrid LS 500h is built on the same Lexus Global Architecture―Luxury (GA-L) platform, which provides a lower centre of gravity and better weight distribution compared to the previous generation.
But let’s get straight to the point. Conceived as the new global pinnacle of the Lexus brand, the saloon features the carmaker’s latest Multi Stage Hybrid System, which combines a 3.5-litre V6 Dual VVT-i petrol engine with two electric motors for a system output of 354hp.
The new system, Lexus promises, will deliver a more direct response to driver inputs, thanks to the so-called four-stage shifting device. It allows “much greater drive power” to be generated when accelerating from stationary, thus achieving a 0 to 62mph acceleration in 5.4 seconds. What’s more, high-speed cruising happens at lower engine rpm and the vehicle is possible to run at speeds of up to 87mph with the petrol engine shut off.
The transmission of the vehicle has been retuned and benefits from an improved version of the AI shift control, also used in the conventional automatic transmissions, providing linear, direct, and continuous acceleration. There’s also a device Lexus calls Driver's Mind Index, which adjusts gear shifts to suit the driver's style and behaviour.
The electric energy of the hybrid is supplied from a compact, lightweight battery pack, which is 20 percent smaller than the nickel-metal hydride unit featured in the current Lexus LS 600h. Yet, it has a higher power density.
Other notable features of the 2018 LS 500h are the Lexus Dynamic Handling package, which improves the performance thanks to finely tuned co-ordination of braking, steering and stability systems. Also, the Lexus Safety System+ pack is on board, featuring advanced safety and assist system, like the intuitive pedestrian detection function with active steering, a world first according to Lexus.
Gallery: New Lexus LS 500h Multi Stage Hybrid
WORLD PREMIERE OF THE ALL-NEW LEXUS LS 500H
The Geneva Motor Show hosts the world debut of the new Lexus LS 500h, the full hybrid version of Lexus’ new flagship sedan.
The model, revealed soon after the premiere appearance of the twin-turbo petrol V6-powered LS 500 at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, is a further manifestation of how Lexus has reimagined the luxury sedan, presenting brave design, exhilarating performance and a sophisticated appeal to capture the imagination of forward-thinking, younger customers.
The car’s design successfully brings together the virtues of a long-wheelbase four-door sedan with a low, coupe-like profile, positioning the LS perfectly across the two growing sedan and coupe segments.
The cabin has benefited from an equally new approach, focusing on “progressive comfort,” interpreting Japanese aesthetics and craftsmanship traditions in the context of an advanced, luxurious and innovative vehicle interior such as the original door trim ornamentation. Notably the LS 500 was honoured at NAIAS with the EyesOn Design Award for excellence in interior design.
Conceived as the new global pinnacle of the Lexus brand, the LS goes beyond what the world expects from a luxury car. Chief Engineer Toshio Asahi explained: “Developing such a flagship model required a massive paradigm shift. Rather than being bound by the conventions that had defined luxury cars in the past, we aimed to create a car with innovative, emotional and sensual appeal that would draw customers’ eyes away from other luxury cars and provide entirely new values.”
The LS 500h is equipped with the new Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System, a technology that transforms the performance and driver appeal of hybrid, providing improved responsiveness and more rewarding, linear acceleration, particularly when moving off from stationary. At the same time, the inherent fuel and emissions efficiency of Lexus Hybrid Drive has been further improved.
The powertrain features a 3.5-litre V6 Dual VVT-i V6 petrol engine and two electric motors, together delivering maximum system power of 354hp/264kW. While the LS 500 will be available in Europe exclusively as all-wheel drive model, the LS 500h will be introduced in both rear and all-wheel drive versions.
The LS 500h is built on the new Lexus Global Architecture – Luxury platform, which ensures a low centre of gravity and optimum weight distribution, contributing to the car’s essential stability and handling agility, which in turn deliver increased driver rewards. The fundamental high rigidity of the chassis allows the new multilink suspension to be tuned to achieve a great handling performance and the supreme comfort for which the LS is renowned. In Europe, Adaptive Variable Suspension, with air suspension are a standard feature of higher specification models.
The car’s dynamic performance benefits also from the co-ordination of braking, steering and stability systems through Lexus Dynamic Handling.
Advanced technologies are further used to deliver impressive safety performance. The LS 500h’s Lexus Safety System+ package additionally includes a new advanced safety system, which features the world’s first intuitive pedestrian detection function with active steering among other innovative technologies.
Omotenashi, expressing the unique sense of Japanese hospitality, defines the LS 500h’s whisper-quiet and luxurious interior. Supreme comfort is provided by front and rear seats with multiple power adjustment, heating, cooling and massage functions. There is also an optional rear seat arrangement that includes an extending leg ottoman and the most generous leg room of any LS generation. Notably the new LS 500h is longer even than the current long wheelbase LS. The wheelbase increased from 3,090 mm to 3,125 mm.
Lexus Takumi craftsmanship also contributes to the special quality of the LS 500h’s cabin, in luxurious new trims, materials and detailing, including a new pleating treatment and Kiriko glasswork on the inner door panels.