What Is It?
The 2018 Lexus LS 500h is the hybrid version of a new generation of flagship luxury sedan. The first fresh LS debuted at the Detroit show earlier this year. Now it’s the turn of this fascinating machine.
The hybrid drivetrain is more complex than usual. Joining a pair of electric motors (one for each front wheel) is a 3.5-liter V6 that drives the rear wheels. But the combustion engine has a 4-speed automatic gearbox, while the electric motors are linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) programmed to simulate six ratios. The idea behind it is that it will feel like a car with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
There’s a similar setup in the all-new 2018 LC 500h luxury coupe and it’s called a “Multi Stage Hybrid System.” In this car, total output is 354 horsepower and the LS 500h can reach 87 mph solely in all-electric mode. The battery is a lithium-ion unit, which is smaller and better at storing energy than the now old-type nickel metal hydride batteries of earlier hybrids. Lexus hasn’t given any fuel consumption figures so far.
The rest of the car is full-on luxury in a tasteful way and it’s bigger than the outgoing long-wheelbase version.
To be announced. The previous-generation LS 600h L started at around $121,000.
When Can You Get It?
Nothing official yet, but the 2018 Lexus LS 500h will probably arrive in the U.S. toward the end of 2017.
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
Where the hybrid version of the outgoing generation is considered too expensive and not sufficiently fuel efficient, this new model has the potential to be a much more interesting and engaging car.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 BMW 740e xDrive — Plug-in hybrid version of a truly excellent luxury car with a dash of sportiness.
2017 Mercedes-Benz S550e — Plug-in hybrid version of Mercedes-Benz’s technological masterpiece.
2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid — With 462 hp, it’s more powerful than the LS 500h, and will probably be much more expensive as well when it goes on sale later in 2017. But buyers of luxury cars don’t usually need to worry about such things.