2018 Lexus LS 500h

The fifth-generation Lexus LS made its debut in 2017 with a 3.5 litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine, representing a downsize from the 4.6 litre naturally aspirated V8 of the LS 460 that it replaced. With the current LS due for a facelift soon, the Japanese flagship has been rumoured to make a return to a V8 powertrain for its top hybrid variant, Japanese language site Mag-X reported.

The current, naturally-aspirated 5.0 litre 2UR-GSE V8 in the LC 500 has been scheduled to make way for a new, twin-turbocharged V8 engine that will power the forthcoming LC F, the older engine set to stay on for another two years before being retired. Should the biturbo V8 make it into the flagship sedan, this could also see the debut of the LS F as a hybrid performance model, Autoblog suggested.

The forthcoming LC F is expected to bring a twin-turbo V8

Alternatively, Lexus could employ a non-turbo version of the new V8 engine in the electrified LS for improved fuel efficiency instead of outright performance. At the other end of the spectrum, a four-cylinder engine is also slated for base versions of the LS facelift, which Mag-X says ‘may be aimed to fill the position of the Lexus GS‘ that will no longer be produced from August this year.

Should the rumours materialise, it will mark the LS flagship’s return to using eight-cylinder engines once again, even for the hybrid which is also currently powered by a six-cylinder unit. This is a 3.5 litre V6 Dual VVT-i, direct-injected V6 which makes 295 hp and 350 Nm on its own, and 354 hp in total system output with two electric motors. This is paired to the Multi-Stage Hybrid Transmission which mimics a 10-speed gearbox by mating a four-speed automatic with a traditional hybrid continuously variable transmission (CVT).

GALLERY: 2018 Lexus LS 500h