Lexus could be planning a hybrid version of its flagship LS sedan that takes a very different approach from the current model, perhaps wearing the LS450h badge.
While the current LS hybrid uses an electric motor to boost a V8 gasoline engine to an even higher level, the future of the LS hybrid could be offering V8 power with a hybrid V6 drivetrain admits Ketan Renade, product planner for the large luxury sedan.
“If we did a future hybrid Lexus LS, it would go V6 hybrid,” says Renade, commenting that despite the Toyota luxury division’s past efforts to promote hybrid technology as a performance gain, consumers see it only as away to get more miles per gallon.
This shift in hybrid thinking at Lexus can first be seen in the new ES300h (read our review here), which uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and electric motor to deliver 200 hp – down from the 268 hp in the gasoline V6 model.
A hybrid V6 LS would likely make use of the current powertrain found in the GS450h, which delivers 338 hp and a 29 mpg city, 34 mpg highway rating, as well as a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds. An LS450h would, therefore, deliver slightly lower numbers, though it could still deliver a 30 mpg combined rating. In particular, this combination could help the LS gain traction in Europe where Lexus only sells hybrid models, offering a compelling alternative to fuel-efficient diesel-powered large luxury sedans.