Lexus – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Fri, 28 Jul 2017 07:05:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Lexus LC 500 to Star in Marvel’s Black Panther http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lexus-lc-500-star-marvels-black-panther/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lexus-lc-500-star-marvels-black-panther/#respond Thu, 20 Jul 2017 18:50:59 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1177528 It was only a matter of time before the photogenic Lexus LC starred in a superhero movie. The Lexus LC 500 will hit the silver screen in Marvel’s Black Panther next year. The film tells the story of T’Challa, who returns home to become king of the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda. Chadwick...

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It was only a matter of time before the photogenic Lexus LC starred in a superhero movie. The Lexus LC 500 will hit the silver screen in Marvel’s Black Panther next year.

The film tells the story of T’Challa, who returns home to become king of the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda. Chadwick Boseman portrays T’Challa in a star-studded lineup that also includes Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Andy Serkis.

“…The LC’s aggressive styling, high performance and agile handling are a perfect fit for the Black Panther’s quick, cat-like reflexes and superhuman feats,” said Lexus general marketing manager Brian Bolain in a statement. “We’re excited to see the duo in action.”

The 2018 Lexus LC 500 packs a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 engine good for 471 hp and 379 lb-ft of torque. In our recent First Drive, we noted that the LC is more grand tourer than sports car, but the sweet-sounding V-8 engine still offers plenty of thrills that make us look forward to seeing what the rumored LC F has to offer.

Marvel’s Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.

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One Week With: 2018 Lexus LC 500 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/one-week-2018-lexus-lc-500/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/one-week-2018-lexus-lc-500/#respond Tue, 04 Jul 2017 08:01:49 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1170923 Let’s start our look at the 2018 Lexus LC 500 with its signature grille, a design that has been the focus of attention for auto pundits since it first appeared on the 2013 GS. “Love the LED taillights, headlight signature and for once, the grille,” says Road Test Editor Eric Weiner. While the spindle grille...

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Let’s start our look at the 2018 Lexus LC 500 with its signature grille, a design that has been the focus of attention for auto pundits since it first appeared on the 2013 GS.

“Love the LED taillights, headlight signature and for once, the grille,” says Road Test Editor Eric Weiner.

While the spindle grille looks like it’s off a ’61 Plymouth on Lexus SUVs and sedans (or like it’s off a ’58 Buick on the new LS), the big, bold, toothy hunk of chrome somehow fits this sport coupe, leading its sinewy, LFA-derived, Coke-bottle shape. The spindle is bent more severely in the middle, of course, because of the LC’s low hood.

The interior is a “handsome design that’s a notch less futuristic than the exterior,” Weiner thinks, though I usually find interior futurism can only go so far before it becomes annoying, especially in a driver’s car – like a piece of mid-century furniture that looks good, but feels uncomfortable.

While it took me a few drives to warm up to the post-modern-style dash, I found the heavily padded passenger’s knee-crash panel cool and distinctive. Lexus applies a heavy, thick bit of lacquer to carbon-fiber interior trim on the passenger side of the dash, virtually obliterating it. This appears to be the only significant application of carbon-fiber in the 4,280-pound coupe, though if our tester had been equipped with the Performance Package (it came with the Convenience Package and the Touring Package), it would have had a carbon-fiber roof panel.

Your Humble Servant found the center-screen touchpad best to be avoided, while Eric found it “a complete disaster, a nightmare to use. Especially frustrating is the split-screen function, where the outer screen always defaults back to the map even after switching to another page. This is true even when the main part of the screen also is showing.”

Weiner also criticized the interior for “one small cupholder” (see “1998 Porsche”), though he loves the fit and finish.

“Big swaths of Alcantara in the door cards work well with the real aluminum door handles and trim. Lots of leather, very little plastic. In black the LC has a subtlety to it, while the tan interior we’ve seen at auto shows really pops, suiting more flamboyant tastes.”

Those semi-futuristic dashboard controls include a driver-adjustable chassis and throttle. Beside the carbon-fiber roof, what our tester did not have because it did not come with the Performance Package was rear-wheel-steering, a variable-ratio steering rack, deployable rear wing, and Michelin Pilot Super-Sports in place of our car’s Bridgestone Turanza run-flats. It probably didn’t need all of that. Even with the run-flats, the LC 500 displayed a nice balance of good ride and handling characteristics.

Our local cloverleaf revealed subtle differences between the driver-selected chassis settings of “Comfort,” “Sport” and “Sport+.” Even Sport+ provides a nice ride-handling tradeoff, as if all the good that’s left BMW has seeped into the DNA of Toyota-Lexus’ rare sporting models. Each setting provides a bit more compliance at-speed on ramps, which in the case of those like Exit 69, have quickly repaired piecrust expansion strips able to send a go-kart-suspended car skating. Even with its 21-inch wheels, our Lexus LC 500 felt planted, staying on-course as we hit the bumps that seemed to grow like weeds just past the apex of the southbound on-ramp.

Beginning first with “Comfort” mode, I feel the impending understeer, with “Sport” and “Sport+” tightening it up without feeling crashy over Michigan’s infamous roads. The two sport modes also weigh up the steering.

The sport modes make themselves more obvious in the way they hold the 10-speed’s lower gears if you don’t chose to shift yourself. This becomes most obvious in stop-and-go, 45-mph traffic, especially when starting out in “Eco.” This is one of the few manumatics that has enticed me to use the paddle shifters, which provide crisp, aggressive shifts in “Sport” and “Sport+,” though the paddles are attached to the steering wheel, so choose your gear before you turn in. With 417 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque on tap, the LC’s 5.0-liter V-8 gets nice and throaty the higher it revs, and you’ll want to grab for as many one- or two-gear downshifts as possible.

“Good Lord, does the engine sound glorious,” Weiner adds. “Beefy and purposeful at low rpm and positively unchained and alive at higher rpm. The 10-speed is up to the task, always downshifting into the correct gear as I braked hard – great brakes – into corners. But gears one through seven feel too tall, while eight, nine and 10 are all highway gears with overdrive. I usually just manually shifted with the expensive-feeling magnesium paddles, for the best experience.”

So what exactly is the 2018 Lexus LC 500, and should you buy one? Weiner compares it with the Mercedes-AMG GT, though “not as aggressive, twitchy, or up to its performance task, but it’s very predictable and easy to drive fast.”

AMG GT, might be a bit lofty, though. Perhaps it’s closer to the Mercedes-Benz SL’s segment, or even the BMW 6 Series Coupe that will soon become the 8 Series. That’s not at all a bad thing. Like the Benz and the Bimmer, the LC is a car you can drive fast, comfortably, even if nine out of 10 buyers choose them to look good instead of to feel quick.

2017 Lexus LC 500 Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $92,495/$98,490 (base/as tested)
ENGINE 5.0L DOHC 32-valve V-8/471 hp @ 7,100 rpm, 398 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic
LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
EPA MILEAGE 16/26 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 187.4 x 75.6 x 53.0 in
WHEELBASE 113.0 in
WEIGHT 4,435 lb
0-60 MPH 4.4 sec
TOP SPEED 168 mph

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2018 Lexus LC Coupe Production Ramps Up in Europe http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-lc-coupe-production-ramps-up-in-europe/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-lc-coupe-production-ramps-up-in-europe/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 17:50:44 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1163386 Lexus’ flagship LC coupes destined for Europe have begun assembly in Lexus’ Motomachi plant in Japan, the birthplace of the LFA supercar. The factory has been retooled for production of the luxury automaker’s newest model. Engineers in the final assembly area work in an all-white environment, which Lexus says helps employees focus on their tasks....

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Lexus’ flagship LC coupes destined for Europe have begun assembly in Lexus’ Motomachi plant in Japan, the birthplace of the LFA supercar.

The factory has been retooled for production of the luxury automaker’s newest model. Engineers in the final assembly area work in an all-white environment, which Lexus says helps employees focus on their tasks. Each worker’s job on the assembly line takes 20 minutes to allow enough time for quality control.

Lexus employs heavy use of glass and LED lighting along the assembly line so workers can examine their work with accuracy. This includes an inspection zone for the exhaust silencer with thicker glass to isolate idiosyncracies in sound quality.

Lexus offers the LC coupe with a V-8 engine producing 467 hp or a hybrid drivetrain featuring a 295-hp V-6 coupled with a 59-hp electric motor.

Shifts are delivered through a 10-speed automatic for all-gas models while the hybrid gets two transmissions: a conventional four-speed automatic and a CVT managed through the Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System. All coupes put their power down through the rear wheels.

Lexus says LC coupes will be delivered to European showrooms in August but has not yet announced details on pricing.

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Lexus Exec Says Sedans Must Evolve to Survive in Report http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lexus-exec-sedans-must-evolve-survive/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lexus-exec-sedans-must-evolve-survive/#respond Mon, 01 May 2017 22:00:17 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1157740 Crossovers are selling like hotcakes, and Lexus models are no exception. The RX was the brand’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. last year, and the smaller NX also experienced significant growth. Oddly enough, the rising popularity of crossovers even has one executive worried about the future of sedans. Speaking with Automotive News, Tokuo Fukuichi hints...

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Crossovers are selling like hotcakes, and Lexus models are no exception. The RX was the brand’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. last year, and the smaller NX also experienced significant growth. Oddly enough, the rising popularity of crossovers even has one executive worried about the future of sedans.

Speaking with Automotive News, Tokuo Fukuichi hints that Lexus needs to polish up its sedan lineup. The global branding chief for Toyota Motor Corporation warns if this doesn’t happen, these vehicles might not last much longer.

“Unless we can really offer a sedan experience you cannot have with an SUV or crossover, I think the sedan may not be able to survive if it does not evolve,” said Fukuichi, who is also in charge of advanced design.

Lexus can bolster its sedan lineup by taking advantage of the body style’s lower center of gravity, Fukuichi notes. Ensuring sedans drive like sports cars could give these vehicles an edge over their higher-riding counterparts. On the other hand, Lexus can also differentiate its sedans by making them more stylish than crossovers, a strategy that involves the use of a fastback roofline à la the Porsche Panamera. We already see some of this coupe-like styling in the new Lexus LS. Either way, the days of the classic sedan may be numbered.

“At a certain point of time, the traditional, square, three-box sedan will go away,” he said.

As for wagons, the future is even more unclear. While Fukuichi said he’d like to see a wagon join Lexus, it couldn’t be “just an ordinary station wagon.” No plans are currently in place to introduce such a vehicle, although someday that could change.

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2018 Lexus NX Shows off New Design in Shanghai http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-nx-gets-refresh-shanghai/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-nx-gets-refresh-shanghai/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 18:00:38 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1152498 The refreshed 2018 Lexus NX made its debut at the 2017 Shanghai auto show with small updates to its design and performance. You may have to squint to notice some of the changes to the exterior sheetmetal, but Lexus has redesigned the entire front fascia of the NX. The automaker reshaped the front bumper and updated...

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The refreshed 2018 Lexus NX made its debut at the 2017 Shanghai auto show with small updates to its design and performance.

You may have to squint to notice some of the changes to the exterior sheetmetal, but Lexus has redesigned the entire front fascia of the NX. The automaker reshaped the front bumper and updated the upper portion of the grille for a more fluid look. New vertical elements make up the inner portion of the grille, and the foglamps have moved to the corner of the front bumpers. In the rear, Lexus broadened the lower bumper and elongated the taillights, while also increasing the size of the exhaust tips and revising the rear underbody spoiler. Drivers can now open and close the rear hatch with the swipe of the foot beneath the bumper.

Inside, the NX receives a newly available 10.3-inch display as well as simpler HVAC controls. The touch pad on the center console is larger than before, and the palm rest has been reshaped to improve comfort.  A larger wireless tray accommodates larger cell phones, and the USB ports in the center console are now capable of faster charging. New metallic satin accents can be found throughout the cabin, including the shift knob, door handles, and other areas.

2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport dashboard

To improve ride and handling, Lexus equipped the NX with a new Adaptive Variable Suspension similar to the system found in the LC 500. With improved shock absorbers, springs, and stabilizer bars, the refreshed NX promises improved turn-in response and cornering. Lexus says it has also enhanced insulation for better NVH performance. Power will come from a familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four on the standard model, which has been renamed from NX 200t to NX 300. Hybrids, which keep the NX 300h designation, use a 2.5-liter inline-four and a pair of electric motors. A more athletic NX F Sport continues on for 2018.

As Lexus makes its suite of safety systems standard on almost every new model here in the U.S., the NX shown in China receives the same treatment. The 2018 NX comes standard with Lexus Safety System +, which includes a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, and automatic high beams.

The 2018 Lexus NX is expected to go on sale this fall.

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2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport Adds Visual Aggression, Handling Pack to Halo Sedan http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-ls-500-f-sport/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-ls-500-f-sport/#respond Tue, 11 Apr 2017 11:00:24 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1149099 Following Geneva’s debut of the hybridized 2018 Lexus LS 500h, this year’s New York auto show brings the all-new LS 500 F Sport. The new performance-oriented trim includes F Sport aesthetic touches and a new handling package for Lexus’ halo sedan. Unfortunately, this isn’t the full-bore LS F we’ve wanted for years. Without the handling...

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Following Geneva’s debut of the hybridized 2018 Lexus LS 500h, this year’s New York auto show brings the all-new LS 500 F Sport. The new performance-oriented trim includes F Sport aesthetic touches and a new handling package for Lexus’ halo sedan.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the full-bore LS F we’ve wanted for years. Without the handling package, this is simply an aesthetic kit that weaves touches from the hardcore F lineup. Each LS 500 F Sport is outfitted with a more aggressive variant of Lexus’ signature spindle grille, incorporating adjustments to a claimed 7,100 individual surfaces to acquire the desired appearance. The upgraded front fascia complements a set of new rocker panels, trunk moldings, and 20-inch wheels.

Inside, each F Sport packs an “exclusive” front seat, bolstered for a snugness. Like other F Sport models, the driver interacts with a more aggressive steering wheel and configurable gauge cluster that changes appearance based on drive setting.

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport rear three quarter

Those 20-inch wheels hide bigger six-piston brakes in the front and four-pistons in the rear. Spring for the new F Sport handling package for the rear-wheel-drive LS, and the big-body sedan hunkers down with adaptive steering, active rear steering, active stabilizer, and a performance air suspension.

Power remains the same for both the LS 500 and LS 500h F Sport. The non-hybrid model packs the new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, pushing out 415 hp and an impressive 442 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 still arrives in a scant 4.5 seconds, thanks to a new lightning-fast 10-speed automatic transmission sourced from the new LC coupe.

The LS 500h retains the same powertrain as well. The hybridized 3.5-liter V-6 combines with two electric motors for a combined output of 354 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 is a claimed 5.2 seconds for the rear-wheel-drive hybrid.

The new 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport package is available in either rear- or all-wheel-drive trim for both the regular and hybrid variants.

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2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport to Debut in New York http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-ls-500-f-sport-making-debut-2017-new-york-auto-show/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-ls-500-f-sport-making-debut-2017-new-york-auto-show/#respond Tue, 04 Apr 2017 19:00:30 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1146687 Finally, Lexus is giving the F Sport treatment to its flagship sedan. The 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport will debut next week at the 2017 New York auto show. In the teaser photo Lexus released today, the performance-oriented model looks pretty much identical to the regular 2018 LS aside from the F Sport badging. Although...

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Finally, Lexus is giving the F Sport treatment to its flagship sedan. The 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport will debut next week at the 2017 New York auto show.

In the teaser photo Lexus released today, the performance-oriented model looks pretty much identical to the regular 2018 LS aside from the F Sport badging. Although there’s not much to notice in the rear, the model should receive a unique grille and racing-inspired interior like other F Sport vehicles in the Lexus lineup. And, of course, it should also feature performance upgrades including a sport-tuned suspension.

The new 2018 Lexus LS 500 made its debut in January at the 2017 Detroit auto show. It was followed last month by the LS 500h hybrid, which was unveiled last month in Geneva. The LS, which sits on the new GA-L platform, has grown 1.3 inches in its wheelbase and is also lower than its predecessor. Along with a new 10-speed automatic transmission, the lineup benefits from a new twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 engine replacing the old 4.6-liter V-8.The standard model now makes 415 hp, while the hybrid version adds an electric motor to the mix for a total output of 354 hp.

The automaker says it will offer F Sport variants of both the standard and hybrid LS. We’ll learn more when Lexus unveils the full vehicle at the New York auto show on April 12.

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Lexus NX Refresh Teased Ahead of 2017 Shanghai Show Debut http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lexus-nx-refresh-teased-ahead-2017-shanghai-show-debut/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lexus-nx-refresh-teased-ahead-2017-shanghai-show-debut/#respond Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:35:10 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1144513 Last year, Lexus unveiled the refreshed IS sedan at the 2016 Beijing auto show. This year, Toyota’s luxury brand is using the 2017 Shanghai auto show to reveal an updated version of the NX crossover. A new teaser image gives us an idea of what we can expect from the refreshed premium CUV. The biggest change...

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Last year, Lexus unveiled the refreshed IS sedan at the 2016 Beijing auto show. This year, Toyota’s luxury brand is using the 2017 Shanghai auto show to reveal an updated version of the NX crossover. A new teaser image gives us an idea of what we can expect from the refreshed premium CUV.

The biggest change to the front end is a new headlight design. Inside the housings, the LED projectors are now arranged in a triangular cluster like the LC coupe, with the lamps framed by three-dimensional metallic elements. Underneath, the Nike Swoosh LED daytime running lights carry over with subtle changes. The Lexus spindle grille is still large and in charge, but it appears the chrome grille frame is positioned differently.

There’s not much else we can tell from this teaser, but Lexus says to expect both exterior and interior enhancements that “add convenience and functionality.” We should know much more when the refreshed Lexus NX is fully unveiled April 19 at the Shanghai auto show. Stay tuned.

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Lexus Says the UX Concept is Set for Production http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lexus-says-ux-concept-production/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lexus-says-ux-concept-production/#respond Tue, 14 Mar 2017 18:43:28 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1135116 Lexus has confirmed a report that its funky UX compact SUV is headed for production, though the luxury brand is not yet saying which markets will receive the small crossover or when it will arrive. Yoshihiro Sawa, Lexus managing officer, initially spilled the beans at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, telling Australia’s Motoring to “Please...

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Lexus has confirmed a report that its funky UX compact SUV is headed for production, though the luxury brand is not yet saying which markets will receive the small crossover or when it will arrive.

Yoshihiro Sawa, Lexus managing officer, initially spilled the beans at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, telling Australia’s Motoring to “Please expect UX, it’s not so far away.” He also believes the UX appeals to younger buyers who prefer models like the IS and CT.

Lexus UX Concept Detroit Auto Show Doors Open

“The loyal users always [are] changing the car, but at the same time the average age is going up. But this year we tried to seek the buyer average that is younger,” Sawa told the Aussie auto site.

“We try to capture these new younger buyers, so that we change our design ways.”

The funky four-seat crossover made its debut last year at the 2016 Paris auto show to raves — and a few rants — by our staff.

Despite being described as a “horrible monstrosity” with seats that seem like a “futuristic torture device,” the UX has been lapping the international car show circuit to more acclaim than jeers.

Lexus UX Concept Detroit Auto Show

When it arrives, the UX will join the popular NX and RX crossovers in Lexus’ stable. It combines the looks of an off-roader with a coupe-like driving position. It was designed by the automaker’s ED2 design center in France.

Inside, the UX concept features its Kinetic seating setup with web-like, seat cushions and backrests that move kinetically with its occupants’ weight to provide a more comfortable driving experience, we are told.

If you haven’t seen it in person, Lexus tells us that the UX Concept will make definitely make an appearance at the New York auto show next month. It will not be at the company’s main stand, but downstairs in the truck/SUV area at the Javits Convention Center in case you want to take a closer look — if you dare.

Lexus UX Concept Detroit Auto Show Rear

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The 2018 Lexus LS 500h is a Cleaner Big Sedan http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-ls-500h-cleaner-big-sedan/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-ls-500h-cleaner-big-sedan/#respond Tue, 07 Mar 2017 18:00:32 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1125111 Unlike its German rivals, Lexus has never played in the big sedan diesel game, opting instead to use hybrid technology. The 2018 Lexus LS 500h, which made its debut at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show, is the automaker’s second effort at a hybrid large sedan and uses the same powertrain as the 2018 LC 500h...

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Unlike its German rivals, Lexus has never played in the big sedan diesel game, opting instead to use hybrid technology. The 2018 Lexus LS 500h, which made its debut at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show, is the automaker’s second effort at a hybrid large sedan and uses the same powertrain as the 2018 LC 500h sports coupe.

That powertrain consists of 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 295 horsepower (compared with 415 horsepower from the 2018 LS 500’s twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6). Combined with the hybrid motors, the LS 500h’s rating is 354 horsepower. Torque is 258 lb-ft, versus 415 lb-ft for the conventional engine.

Like the LC, the LS has a bespoke Lexus Multi-Stage Hybrid System with a “four-stage shifting device,” essentially a four-speed automatic that the company says feels and acts like the 10-speed automatic in the conventional gas-powered LS 500, plus two electric motors with a 310-volt, lithium-ion battery. The new car’s battery is 20 percent smaller, yet denser, than the battery in the outgoing Lexus LS 600h L.

Lexus isn’t talking fuel efficiency numbers or whether the big sedan will run for any amount of time on pure electric power, though it cites an in-house 0-60 mph sprint of 5.4 seconds versus 4.5 seconds for the rear-wheel-drive LS 500 and 4.8 seconds for the all-wheel-drive LS 500. The hybrid will be available with RWD or AWD.

Of course, well-heeled green consumers won’t give up any thing by adding an “h” to their Lexus LS500s. Lexus touts its omotenashi interior design, “taking care of the driver and passengers,” featuring hand-pleated door trim “inspired by origami and glass ornamentation using Japanese kiriko techniques,” including myriad wood trims using “sliced wood and laser-cutting techniques.”

The LS 500h goes on sale along with the rest of the LS line late this year.

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