The full hybrid version of the new Lexus flagship sedan has been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
The LS 500h is equipped with the new Lexus Multi-Stage Hybrid System, combining a 3.5-litre dual VVT-i (intelligent variable valve timing) V6 petrol engine with two electric motors, together delivering a total output of 264kW.
“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 an innovative, emotional and sensual appeal that would draw customers’ eyes away from other luxury cars and provide entirely new values,” said Chief Engineer, Toshio Asahi.
Also read: Car Review: 2017 Lexus IS
Lithium-ion hybrid battery
The LS 500h is fitted with a compact, lightweight, lithium-ion hybrid battery. It is 20 percent smaller than the nickel-metal hydride unit featured in the current Lexus LS 600h, yet has a higher power density.
Performance and technology
The LS 500h’s V6 petrol engine makes optimal use of dual VVT-i with valve timing precisely gauged in line with driving conditions, helping secure high torque at all engine speeds.
The four-stage shifting device, added to the combination of the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors, results in more direct response to driver inputs and an elevation of dynamic performance and driving pleasure.
The new Multi-Stage Hybrid System, with power from the V6 engine and the hybrid battery, can be amplified by the four-stage shifting device, allowing much greater drive power to be generated when accelerating from stationary.
New safety systems
The Lexus Safety System+ combines information from omnidirectional sensors around the vehicle, including stereo cameras, that monitor all operating situations from parking manoeuvres to collision avoidance. It helps prevent accidents happening, covering the risks presented by common types of accidents such as rear-end collisions, collisions with pedestrians and accidents caused by lane departure.
If a pedestrian is detected on the road ahead and a collision is imminent, this system will automatically apply the car’s brakes.
The new LS 500h is offered only in long-wheelbase form. At 3,125mm, it is 35mm longer than the current long-wheelbase LS 600h L. The new model sits about 15mm lower than the current LS, while the bonnet and boot are 30 and 40mm lower respectively.
The LS is the first Lexus sedan to feature a six-side window design and the first to be fitted with flush-surface windows that integrate smoothly with the side pillars.
New seat designs, including 28-way power front seats with heating, cooling and massage functions, exemplify this approach. There is also an available rear-seat arrangement that includes an extending leg ottoman and the most generous leg room of any LS generation.
The organically shaped dashboard design clusters information displays at a uniform height so the driver can operate all systems without having to change posture. In addition to a 12.3-inch navigation display, the LS will be fitted with a 24-inch colour head-up display – the largest in the world – that projects a variety of key vehicle information and performance data into the driver’s forward line of vision.
The new Lexus LS 500h is expected to arrive in South Africa in the first quarter of 2018.