VIDEO: Lexus LC 500h Multi Stage Hybrid explained

We’re still trying to wrap our heads around the Lexus LC 500h‘s new, incredibly complicated Multi Stage Hybrid system – which mates a traditional hybrid continuously variable transmission (CVT) to a four-speed automatic – and we’re sure you guys are too. To enable laypeople to better understand the newfangled drivetrain, Lexus UK has released a new video that explains its finer workings.

In it, senior technical trainer Stefan Ramaekers explained that the system’s main aim was to provide a sportier, more direct “shifting” feel that regular CVTs have yet to be able to simulate convincingly. We’re used to seeing CVTs having seven or more virtual ratios, but the one on the LC 500h only spits out three in the drivetrain’s stepped-ratio M mode.

This is where the four-speed automatic comes into play – it uses the first three ratios to multiply the CVT’s three virtual ones, resulting in nine ratios. The auto’s fourth gear become the final overdrive ratio, giving the driver a total of ten ratios for the driver to play with.

Managing those gear changes is an advanced Power Control Unit (PCU) that can conduct shifts in less than 100 milliseconds, without any shift shock or delay. So there you go – it’s not anything like the old four-speeder in your uncle’s Vios now, is it?

All this is mated to the LC 500h’s 3.5 litre V6, producing 294 hp and 348 Nm of torque. Coupled to a pair of electric motors, the hybrid sports coupé punches out a total of 354 hp – Lexus says it is enough for a targeted 0-100 km/h sprint time of under five seconds.

It was previously reported that according to the car’s chief engineer Koji Sato, the drivetrain setup could also find its way into other hybrid Lexus vehicles in the future, such as the next-generation LS and GS. Even Toyota hybrid models can opt for the transmission should the need arise.

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • Same L0rrrr on Mar 10, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I will get one when it get to malaysia. I am a proud owner of most luxury sushi brand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4
    • 20 Year old Unser on Mar 11, 2016 at 1:47 am

      Yeah, I saw your 20 year old unser rotting outside your cheras flat. It had a L emblem.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • eVaz88 on Mar 11, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I have tried out a few of 7 speed, 8 speed or 9 speed vehicle. Actually i don’t understands the point of having so many gear shifting. Besides, the gear ration will skip and it’s not like u need to press 8 times to get 8th Gear.

    Eg: from 0 to 20 kmh, the gear ratio from GEAR 1 jump to Gear 3.

    So i do agree 4-5 gear is more than enough. it’s not like we are late Paul Walker team to shift unlimited gear? LOL

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

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