Lexus unveiled the all-new 2008 LS 600h L hybrid luxury sedan yesterday (Wednesday) at the New York International Automobile Show.
Scheduled to hit the US early next year, the all-wheel-drive LS 600h L will be the world's first vehicle to feature a full hybrid V8 power train.
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-litre V8 petrol engine with large, high-output electric motors and a newly designed large-capacity battery pack.
This advanced combination will give the LS 600h L a balance of environmental efficiency and performance, with a peak combined output rating of more than 320 kW.
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% cleaner emissions than the "cleanest" of its competitors.
Owing to the inherent noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) improvements offered by its hybrid power train, 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 cars ever built, if not the quietest.
New V8 engine
The LS 460 and LS 460 L will be powered by an all-new, highly advanced 4.6-litre V8 engine that will produce approximately 283 kW and 502 Nm of torque.
Combined with a world-first eight-speed automatic transmission, these LS sedans will travel from 0-100 km/h in less than 6 seconds - all without sacrificing fuel economy.
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 mm-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 manoeuvring around the obstacle, the system reprogrammes 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 optimises 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.
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 13 cm 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.
There's also 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.
There's also a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with 22 cm 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.
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.
The LS 600h L will go on sale in the US April 2007, six months after the LS 460 and LS 460 L launch in October 2006.