Lexus' High-End Hybrid: the LS 600h L

Calling it the "exclamation point" of the the brand, Lexus has unveiled their latest hybrid flagship: the LS 600h L. It's the hybrid version of the recently-introduced LS 460 (and big brother to the GS 450h), and is going to pack a punch: it combines a new 5.0-liter gasoline direct-injection V8 engine with large, high-output electric motors and a newly-designed battery pack to deliver a whopping 430 horsepower. The 600h is expected to earn a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) rating; by comparison, the LS 460 (the conventional counterpart) will have a smaller engine (4.6 liter V8), less horsepower (380) and a lower emissions rating (ULEV II), yet will have lower fuel efficiency (mpg in the low 20s). Ergo, Lexus is positioning the 600h as delivering the power and performance of a larger 12-cylinder engine with best-in-class V8 fuel efficiency. While the "power hybrid" approach hasn't paid off for Honda's Accord hybrid so far, we suspect Lexus is targeting a wholly different market with the 600h; we'll have to wait until April 2007 to see what dividends it pays. via ::Green Car Congress

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