While we won’t have full details until after the official debut at the Geneva Motor Show later, we now know that Lexus will be offering a LS 500h, a V-6 hybrid version of its luxury flagship. It’s a big move for the company, as all the previous versions of the legendarily refined sedan, including the previous LS 600h hybrid, have featured V-8 engines.
One interesting bit of trivia about the original LS 400 is that the 4.0-liter 1UZ-FE V-8 was so reliable it was actually certified by the FAA for use in small aircraft. It’s a distinction few other manufactures can point to, and while the originals are getting pretty long in the tooth — having hit the market almost 30 years ago — a large percentage of them are still on the road. Automotive journalist Matt Farah, who does a popular series of videos for his Smoking Tire YouTube channel, actually owns a model which has nearly a million miles on the clock, and the car has been said to have nothing but routine maintenance performed since it was new.
Needless to say, when Lexus decided to throw its hat into the end of the market previously controlled almost exclusively by the Germans, the engineers didn’t play around.
Of course, a proper eight-pot mill will still be available, but the LS 500h will use a combination of a 3.5-liter V-6 mated to an electric unit. Together, the system will produce 354 horsepower, which will likely provide spirited performance — especially off the line. No data is available yet, but we’d expect the big sedan will hit 60 mph somewhere in the mid-five second range, which should prove more than adequate for buyers looking for the womb-like comfort of the LS line.
We’ll have more information on LS 500h — along with the rest of the redesigned LS models — toward the beginning of March. But if you’re thinking about moving up to the pinnacle of Toyota luxury, it might not hurt to let the folks at your local AutoNation Lexus dealer know.