It’s highly unlikely that anyone who can spend just a shade under a million for a vehicle would really be that mindful of just how much that ride consumes, but here it is anyway, a hybrid luxury sedan that gobbles up less fuel and goes gentler on your wallet.
Okay, so maybe that’s not quite the way to look at it. How about a “doing your part for the environment while ensconced in the lap of luxury” bit then?
Well, how about both, since the Lexus LS 600 h L manages the above in equal measure, and in inimitable style at that. The flagship hybrid luxury sedan is Lexus Malaysia’s latest introduction into the market, and making it a double do for the higher-end hybrid movement is the introduction of the RX 450 h SUV as well. Which of course earns Toyota the bragging rights as the first player to have three hybrids in the country, two of them luxury units.
Full story and gallery of launch photos after the jump.
Admittedly, the market for a hybrid such as the LS 600 h L is rather minute, but Lexus Malaysia says it’s all about giving customers a wider choice in the upper-end, and it’s certainly as big a hitter as you can get.
The car is powered by Lexus’ Hybrid Drive full hybrid system, which combines a 2UR-FSE 5.0 litre V8 block, permanent all-wheel drive and a high output electric motor. The engine is a development of the 4.6 litre pot found in the LS 460L, with stroke increased from 83.0mm to 89.5mm, and output figures are 389 hp at 6,400 rpm and 520 Nm at 4,000 rpm. As for the 650V electric motor, this one delivers 165 kW of power and 300 Nm of torque.
The battery pack in the LS 600 h L is a compact two-piece sealed NiMH unit with a total of 240 cells, delivering a total of 288V. It’s placed next to the rear air conditioning unit, located behind the rear seats. Naturally, this allows the car to run in electric vehicle (EV) mode, with the car able to run on battery and electric motor up to a 40 kph speed for a short distance.
Together, the hybrid powertrain generates a combined output rating of 438 bhp, but is able to return a very respectable 10.75 km per litre in combined cycle fuel consumption. Lexus says that in city traffic or slow speed driving, the car’s fuel consumption is over 30% lower than the LS 460 L.
Replacing the eight-speed automatic transmission here is the L110F electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT). Fitting into the existing LS transmission tunnel, the tranny consists of two water-cooled motor generators, tagged MG1 and MG2, in this case a power split device and a motor-speed reduction device together with the transfer for the all-wheel drive system – MG1 fulfils the role of the starter motor and generator, while MG2 is the traction motor and acts as a generator for regenerative braking.
The permanent all-wheel drive system uses a Torsen Limited Slip Differential, developed exclusively for the car, offering a 40:60 split between the front and rear axles in normal driving and shifting the torque split automatically (during acceleration or braking), within the range of 30:70 to 50:50, under less than ideal road conditions. Speaking of which, the car has three switchable driving modes – Normal, Power and Snow – to pick from.
Of course, there’s more to the LS 600 h L, and it’s pretty much chock a block as you can get in terms of features and kit. Unique to it are blue accents on the LED headlamps, badging, door lower moulding, smart key fob and blue-tinted tail lamps.
Electronically controlled Adaptive Variable Air Suspension (AVS) comes as standard fitment, with three suspension damping control modes – Normal, Comfort and Sport – available, along with a ‘Height High’ mode that allows the car a 15mm higher ride height. The car comes with seven-spoke 19-inch aluminium alloy wheels wearing 245/45 series tyres.
Safety-wise, there’s the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, which integrates and manages VSC, traction Control, ABS, EBD and brake assist, among other things, and the car comes with 11 airbags. Parking assistance too, through the Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) system, which assists rear and parellel parking.
There’s plenty in the interior – three semi-aniline leather colours, together with two classic colours of all-black with medium brown walnut woodtrim and Mellow White with matt Ashburl woodtrim, as well as aluminium chrome trim accents, a centrally-mounted 8-inch Electronic Multi Vision (EMV) touchpanel, a TFT colour LCD combination meter, climate control and a Mark Levinson 7.1 Reference Surround System with 19 speakers and a 15-channel, 450 watt amplifier. Passengers at the back get a Rear Seat Entertainment System (made up of a separate DVD player and a center console mounted 9-inch LCD Screen), as well as rear left powered Ottoman seat, complete with Rear Seat Relaxation system.
A total of 11 exterior colours – with the final clear coating enhanced with a two-component paint with has anti-scratch nanotechnology polymer – are available for the LS 600h L, which is priced at RM998,500, on the road without insurance.
If the LS is a bit too big – or rich – for your tastes, then there’s always the RM520,200 (again, on the road, without insurance) RX 450 h to consider. The hybrid SUV features styling cues to clearly distinguish it from its petrol-only RX 350 sibling. The front bumper has a dark silver grille, with a wider and slimmer multi-bar design and a slim louvre in the bumper below the grille.
Additionally, there’s a different engine cover, chrome fog lamp surrounds, blue accents for the tail lamps, blue tinted emblems and ‘450h’ logo as well as ‘Hybrid’ logos on the plated side mouldings at the base of the rear doors. The SUV also gets exclusive 19-inch five-spoke split design alloy wheels – with 235/55 series tyres – in a darker shade.
The RX 450h’s Lexus Hybrid Drive system is made up of a purpose-developed Atkinson Cycle 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine, a 123 kW electric front drive motor, a 50 kW rear motor, a electronically controlled continuously variable transmission, a three-block, 10-module-each 288V hybrid battery (located below the rear seats) and compact new Power Control Unit (PCU).
The 2GR-FXE pot in this one shares the basic architecture as the RX 350’s engine, but features – besides the Atkinson Cycle operation – a water-cooled exhaust gas recirculation (and attendant pressure sensor), a hybrid-specific intake manifold with large sound resonators, intake-only VVT-i and an accessory belt to only drive the water pump. Output is 245 hp at 6,000 rpm and 317 Nm at 4,800 rpm, and the combined hybrid system output is rated at 295 hp, while offering an impressive 15.9 km per litre combined cycle fuel efficiency.
The powertrain consists of a front-axle system with an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT) and an electric-drive rear axle. Similar to the LS 600 h L, the E-CVT transmission has two sets of planetary gears, one motor-speed reduction device and the other a power split device, which divides driving power between the petrol engine and electric motors, or combining both. The front motor’s maximum output is 123 kW and 335 Nm.
There’s no propeller shaft in the electric all-wheel drive system, which is called E-Four – the rear axle has its own drive source, in this case a motor-generator (with a built-in differential), offering 50 kW and 139 Nm of torque. Oh, and like the LS, the RX 450 h is able to run on electric mode, again up to a 40 kph speed, as long as there’s enough juice in the batteries to do so.
Among the many items on the kit list are semi-aniline leather front seats with a Power Cushion Extender which extends the edge of the front seat cushion by an extra 21mm, LED headlamps, a Lexus 12-speaker Premium Audio System, 10 airbags, a Side Parking Assist Monitor and nine exterior colour choices.
[zenphotopress number=999 album=1726]