Got $105,000 in loose change and a malleable idea of green? Then Lexus has just the vehicle for you. Also, want to hang out?
Primped and primed just in time for the holiday season, the LS 600h L is the most expensive Lexus ever built. Expect only a few valet parked at the Malibu Green Drinks. Only 2,000 are planned to be sold in North America.
The 600h is meant to target buyers of luxury sedan flagships from Mercedes, BMW and Audi. But perhaps sensing that a different approach is in order in an era where hypocrisy gets noticed, the Japanese automaker is approaching the arena with its own geeky swagger.
The big brains at Lexus have evidently stumbled upon a fundamental truth of the American car market: instead of trying simply just make cars run more efficiently, it’s more lucrative to make cars run fast more efficiently.
Coming into its second year on the market, the 450h is the second of Lexus’s now three vehicles to feature the Lexus Hybrid Drive (in reality just a relabeled second-generation Toyota Synergy Drive). Along with the RX 400h sport utility and brand-new LS 600h flagship sedan, Lexus is attempting to corner the market on performance hybrids, just as Toyota has with efficiency hybrids.
Its 3.5-liter V-6 engine puts out 292 horsepower, while the electric motor-generator ups its power is equivalent to a 4.5-liter V-8. The generator produces some 197 horsepower, but because the peaks don’t match up, 292 and 197 add up to 339. Don’t ask me how.
A James Bond Monkie wet dream of a car. Yes, Lexus knows how to put together a luxury car. We found that out first hand, last year. So, when they revealed the 2010 HS 250h, the world’s first dedicated luxury hybrid vehicle we where guessing it would be nice. But this thing is really beyond nice. It’s got everything. Camera’s, joysticks, ipod connectors, dedicated power plugs, plush seats (which might not be leather, cross your fingers), beautiful displays and beyond 40 miles per gallon range.
During the big introduction show, they wouldn’t give the official miles per gallon, but they claim it will be better than the micro size Smart Car. Which is pretty amazing for a full size luxury sedan. It also will be the first Lexus to utilize carbon-neutral Ecological Plastic materials in a new futuristic cockpit and interior design. Last year when we where given the Lexus LS 600h and GS 450 for a week to drive around, are only real complaint was all the leather. If they stripped the leather out and had eco-faux leather, the cars would have been amazing.