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Lexus LS600hL - The Car that has Everything

by Ali Arsham
Thursday, March 20, 2008

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If you like luxury cars, Lexus has to be pretty high on your list.  In the US, Lexus, BMW and Mercedes Benz are the kings of luxury cars.  Their largest sedans are the perfect executive mobiles and are regularly vehicles of choice for heads of state all over the world.  The Germans equip their top of the line sedans with V12 engines not because their V8s don’t make enough power but because a V12 is a status symbol that separates the rich from the filthy rich.  Lexus wanted a piece of that action but decided against using a Toyota V12 but instead went for a V8 gasoline engine coupled to two electric motors.  It is certainly a unique way to address the situation and when we were offered a chance to test the top of the line Lexus sedan, we jumped at the chance.

Interior with Nav System
Lexus calls the LS600hL the Ultimate Lexus and they are not kidding.  There are so many features that are packed in this sedan that will blow your mind.  There leather trimmed instrument panels, door panels and arm rests as well as grain matched wood trim everywhere, Alcantara headliner, 16 way power driver’s seat and climate controlled front seats are just the beginning.

Standard features include a hard disk drive Lexus Navigation system with a backup camera and Bluetooth technology and voice activation, and XM factory-installed satellite radio with real-time traffic displays and dynamic route guidance. For genuine theater-level entertainment, the LS600hL features a standard 19-speaker 450-watt Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound audio system, raising the bar for automotive sound systems. A portion of the HDD is dedicated to storing as many as 2,000 digital songs. An auxiliary jack allows for iPod or MP3 capable digital music players.

Additional features include an Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS), climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, one-touch open/close power trunk, power door closers, headlamp washers, SmartAccess with push-button start and card key, electronic parking brake, Intuitive Park Assist, and laminated side glass.

The Ultimate Lexus
A list of optional conveniences includes an Advanced Parking Guidance System (APGS) to assist with parallel and back-in parking. Once the driver has correctly positioned the car and identified the desired parking spot via the navigation screen, APGS utilizes the rear back-up camera parking sonar sensors and electric power steering system to guide the car into the spot, while the driver controls speed via braking.  This feature is part of a very expensive ($12,000) option package called Premium Package II.  This package includes climate comfort rear seats with a heat/cool knob, rear power seats with memory, rear power headrests, rear seat side airbags, APGS, a heater control panel, four-zone climate control, rear audio controls, additional wood trim, rear air purifier, rear cool box, rear headliner and side air ducts, power rear-door sunshades, and a rear seat entertainment system equipped with a power ceiling-mounted nine-inch screen for DVD viewing.  APGS actually works and will parallel park the car for you.  Of course, it is like using a calculator to add 2+2.  It will do the job but it will take much longer by the time you press the buttons.  And if you really need APGS to park the car, maybe you should not be driving.

The list of standard features is impressive but how does she run?  Like a beauty is the answer.  The 2UR-FSE aluminum V8 uses 32 valve heads and displaces 5.0 liters to provide 389 hp using a high 11.8:1 compression ratio.  The gasoline engine is mated to an electric motor that combined generates 438 hp.  The power is routed through an 8 speed (yes that is correct, 8 speeds) automatic transmission to all four wheels.  The AWD ensures that the Lexus is the ultimate Lexus because you can’t have anyone else topping this car.  All of this technology adds weight and the LS600hL is a heavyweight at 5000 pounds.  But with 438hp and the instant torque of the electric engine, the LS600hL bolts to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds with no drama.  It keeps pulling until it hits its electronic top speed of 130 mph.  This car cruises so quietly and effortlessly that many times the driver looks down to find himself cruising at triple digit speeds. 

Lexus touts the car as an efficient vehicle as well and they are not kidding.  The LS600hL actually gets 20 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.  Those are amazing numbers for such a vehicle.  So you can argue that you are saving money by buying this Lexus.

Spacious Interior
Saving money is what you need to do if you want an LS600hL on your driveway.  The LS600hL starts out at $104,000.  Our car had three options.  The first was a trunk mat for $89 and the second was premium floor mats for $265.  If you are paying this kind of change for a car, I think floor mats should not be an option.  The third option was the aforementioned Premium Package II.  So total price of our car was a cool $117,000.  That is some serious money.  The LS600hL is a superb car with only one flaw, the price tag.  If you are lucky enough to be able to have one in your garage, you will enjoy driving the LS600hL anywhere and will never care how far the journey lasts.  Lexus has once again showed that they can do anything they set their mind to.

ENGINE

Type, Materials

Designation

Valvetrain

Displacement

Bore x Stroke

Compression Ratio

Horsepower

Torque

Fuel System

Fuel Requirement

Tailpipe Emission Certification (mfr. Estimate)

V8, aluminum block and cylinder heads

2UR-FSE

32 valve w/ Dual Variable Valve Timing w/ intelligence and Electronically controlled intake (VVT-iE)

5.0 liter

3.70 in. x 3.52 in. (94.0 mm x 89.5 mm)

11.8:1

389 @ 6,400 rpm

385 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm

D-4S System (direct- and port-injected system) Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i)

Premium 91 octane unleaded

SULEV

ELECTRIC MOTORS

Motor Generator 1 (MG1) - Function

- Type

- Cooling system

Primary generator, engine starter

Permanent magnet motor

Water-cooled

Motor Generator 2 (MG2) - Function

- Type

- Max. voltage

- Max. output

- Cooling system

Drives wheels; regenerative braking

Permanent magnet motor

650 V (DC)

221 hp (165 kW)

Water-cooled

HYBRID BATTERY PACK

Type

Cell Quantity

Cell Type

Nominal Voltage

Power Output

Sealed Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)

240 cells (12 cells x 20 modules)

Nickel-plated metal container

288V (can be boosted to 650 volts with power circuit)

49 hp

CHASSIS AND BODY CONT.

Wheel Size/Type

- Optional

19 x 8.0 J Aluminum alloy wheels with high-gloss painted finish

18 x 7.5 J aluminum alloy wheels (Executive Class Seating Package II only)

Tire Size/Type

245/45R19 all season

- Optional

235/50R18 all season (Executive Class Seat Pkg. II)

PERFORMANCE

0-60 MPF Acceleration (mfr. Estimate)

5.5 seconds

Top Track Speed (electronically limited)

130 mph (210 km/h)

2008 EPA estimated mileage

20 mpg city/22 mpg highway (21 mpg comb.)*

Recommended fuel

Premium unleaded

Coefficient of Drag (Cd)

0.27

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase

121.7 in.

Overall Length

202.8 in.

Overall Width

73.8 in.

Overall Height

58.3 in.

Tread Width - Base: Front/Rear

19-inch tires: 63.4/63.4

Ground Clearance

5.3 in.

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