Sprint times are meaningless in this segment, but in case you're wondering, the twin-turbo V6 LS 500 can do 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 4.6 seconds, while the hybrid takes 5.2 seconds to do the same.
Traditionally, this segment was limited to V8s and V12s, but the world is changing. Lexus is nearly at the forefront and only missing a plug-in hybrid derivative. Instead of using its 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine (a glorious engine), Lexus uses a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine. On the hybrid side, it also uses a V6 engine (not the same engine), sans turbochargers, but working together with two electric motors. Why not use the existing V8 engine? That particular powertrain does a stellar job in performance models as it loves to be revved. In a luxury barge, you want low-down torque for effortless acceleration from a standing start. A top speed of 136 mph applies to all variants.
The twin-turbo delivers all of its torque from 1,600 rpm to 4,800 rpm, while the electric motors in the hybrid ensure you get a decent dose of pulling power from zero rpm. The V8 talents would have been wasted on this car, but the available engines suit the LS perfectly. All gas-only LS models are RWD, but AWD is available across the range. The hybrid comes with AWD by default.
The twin-turbo V6 engine offers impressive specs, delivering 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. That's more than enough for a luxury barge, though this particular engine does have a narrow powerband. Thankfully, it never feels stressed, thanks to a ten-speed automatic transmission. If you've ever wondered why you need more than six ratios, the LS's gearbox is the answer. It can hustle off the line when you want to but can also idle along at the speed limit in top gear.
The hybrid uses a more complex setup that doesn't work as well as we had hoped. Lexus claims this engine delivers 354 hp, but no torque figure is provided. Like other Toyota/Lexus hybrids, the LS 500h uses a CVT transmission, but it also has a four-speed automatic bolted to its back. It sounds like a super-smart engineering solution, but it comes across as unrefined. In cars like these, the gearbox's main job is to provide power to the wheels effortlessly. Gear changes should not be felt or heard. Once you forget the car even has a gearbox, you know it's working perfectly. This is not the case with the hybrid. It looks like a good idea on paper, but it comes across as coarse and ungraceful in reality - two words you never want to see in the road test of a large luxury sedan.
|Lexus LS Trims||Lexus LS Engines||Lexus LS Horsepower||Lexus LS Transmissions||Lexus LS Drivetrains||Lexus LS MPG/MPGE|
|LS 500||3.4L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas||416 hp @ 6000 rpm||10-Speed Automatic||AWD|
|21 MPG |
|LS 500 F SPORT||3.4L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas||416 hp @ 6000 rpm||10-Speed Automatic||AWD|
|21 MPG |
|LS 500h||3.5L V6 Hybrid||354 hp @ 6600 rpm||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||N/A||25 MPG|
According to the EPA, the RWD LS 500h hybrid AWD should do 22/29/25 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. The RWD twin-turbo V6 has gas mileage figures of 18/29/22 mpg, while the AWD model should be capable of 17/27/21 mpg.
The hybrid's figures are undoubtedly more impressive than the twin-turbo, but how much better could they have been if the LS was a plug-in hybrid? In the greater scheme of things, the hybrid's figures just aren't that impressive, and if fuel economy is a significant concern, you'd be much better off looking at a plug-in alternative like the Volvo S90 T8. The 22.2-gallon in the hybrid tank is good for 555 miles between refills. The twin-turbo has a slightly smaller gas tank at 21.7 gallons, so can manage around 477 miles in RWD guise.
|Lexus LS Trims||LS 500||LS 500 F SPORT||LS 500h|
|Lexus LS Tank size||16.9 gal.||16.9 gal.||15.2 gal.|
|Lexus LS Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||17/27||17/27||22/29|