The Lexus LS 600h L sedan was the first vehicle to bring fuel-efficient gasoline-electric hybrid technology to the prestige luxury segment when it went on sale for the 2008 model year. After receiving revised styling and telematics systems for 2010, Lexus’ flagship hybrid sedan carries over virtually unchanged for 2011 with the exception of the discontinuation of the optional Active Stabilizer Suspension System and Truffle Mica exterior.
The Lexus LS 600h L is powered by the ultra-quiet Lexus Hybrid Drive system, which was the world's first to combine a V8 gasoline engine with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) hybrid drivetrain.
The Lexus LS 600h L hybrid powertrain system uniquely combines a 5.0-liter V8 gasoline engine with two powerful electric motors and a large-capacity battery pack. The hybrid powertrain generates a peak combined output rating of 438 horsepower and can effortlessly accelerate the LS 600h L from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. Mid-range acceleration is even more impressive. The system's electric motor is capable of delivering maximum torque on demand and is most beneficial during passing maneuvers. The Lexus LS 600h L can accelerate from 50-70 mph in just 3.5 seconds.
The innovative V8 features an electric motor-driven Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and Electrically controlled intake cam (VVT-iE). The combination of VVT-iE and oil pressure-controlled VVT-i for the exhaust cam provides superior engine-startup operation and high-output performance. A specially developed Hydrocarbon Absorber and Catalyst System is linked to the two-way exhaust to help prevent hydrocarbons contained in the exhaust from being released into the atmosphere during cold start up when the catalysts are not up to temperature. The Lexus LS 600h L also meets the Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle II (SULEV II) certification.
The super-low noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels in the LS 600h L make it one of the quietest automobiles ever built. The LS 600h L is a full hybrid, capable of operating in electric-only mode or with a combination of the gas engine and electric motor. Lexus hybrid technology allows electric-mode-only operation when certain conditions are met at low speeds or stop-and-go driving conditions, reducing fuel consumption and noise.
A compact 288-volt DC Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack is installed behind the rear seat. The battery's power is directed through a boost converter that efficiently raises voltage to a maximum 650V DC. An inverter changes this to AC, providing its elevated power to a 165-kW electric motor that turns at up to 10,240 rpm. The trunk also contains a 12-volt auxiliary battery that powers the audio, navigation, and other systems.
The Lexus LS 600h L powertrain uses two motor generators: MG1 and MG2. Each performs specific functions and can operate as either a motor or a generator, although MG1 is used as a starter motor and provides no motive force. The engine-driven generator, MG1, can charge the battery pack or provide additional power to the drive motor, MG2, as needed.
A regenerative-braking system further boosts efficiency. When the vehicle is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric motors function as generators, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost as heat through the brakes and transforming it into useable electricity to recharge the batteries.
A state-of-the-art, full-time all-wheel drive system adapts to road surface conditions to help provide vehicle control during acceleration, and cornering. The AWD system employs a compact, ultra-quiet transfer case equipped with a TORSEN® limited-slip differential (LSD) that is 30 percent lighter in size and weight than previous TORSEN systems.
The LSD provides rear biased torque distribution of 40:60 during normal straight-line driving, automatically and continually adjusting power distribution according to changing speed and road conditions.
An eight-speed sequential braking mode, activated when the shift lever is in the “S” position, allows eight different stages of response. When up-shifting, engine speed is controlled by the selected range, offering an exhilarating boost in acceleration during each of the eight “shift” stages. When downshifting, brake-force increases to provide powerful deceleration.
The driver can select "Hybrid" (Normal), "Power," or "Snow" modes to change the rate of throttle opening for a given throttle-pedal angle. The Hybrid mode provides the smoothest operation and is ideal for city or suburban driving; Power sharpens accelerator pedal response and Snow mode softens accelerator pedal response, making it easier to accelerate on slippery road surfaces. By pushing an EV switch, power reverts to full electric mode for short-distance, low-speed driving situations such as residential areas or parking garages.
Multi-link front and rear air-suspension systems help maintain superb vehicle posture and driving performance while maintaining the ultra-comfortable ride that is synonymous with all Lexus vehicles.
Electronic Power Steering (EPS) delivers a smooth steering feel and reduces parasitic losses. Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) optimizes the steering gear ratio according to vehicle speed, enhancing responsiveness and driver control.