Here’s where things get interesting. The LS 500h is a hybrid, with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine combined with an electric motor driving the rear wheels. The internal combustion engine alone is good for 295 horsepower, and when coupled with the electric motor the car has a combined power output of 358 horsepower. It’s good for a 0 to 100km/h sprint of just 5.4 seconds.
The transmission is also interesting, and Lexus calls it the multi-stage hybrid transmission. From what we found out, it’s a Aisin-built gearbox that technically has 10 gears, but only the first four are fixed ratios. The other six are continuously variable like what you would find in a typical CVT, but when you pull the paddle shifters to engage semi-automatic sequential gear shifting, the ratios lock into ten individual fixed ratios.
In simple english, you could just leave the gear lever in ‘D’ and never notice a thing as the car’s internal logic sorts through the correct engine speed and gear ratio for the you, or engage sequential shifting and treat it like a 10-speed transmission.
It’s quiet and plush, as is befitting of a car wearing the LS badge, but is also blazingly fast if you really want to get going. Though that involves diving deep into the accelerator’s travel range or flipping the car over to sport mode.
That’s a good thing though, as a darty, jumpy luxury limousine wouldn’t be able to deliver a smooth ride that the LS has done for generations.
It’s a very heavy car though, tipping the scales at 2,270kg.
Still, the revised suspension setup has further improved the car’s handling dynamics and it never feels out of its depth at any speed. It’s a plush and smooth passenger experience, and while it won’t outrun a BMW M5 or out-corner one, it’s still a very balanced and well-sorted drive with plenty of power in reserve.
The car has a rated fuel economy of 6.7L/100km, and it’s entirely possible to achieve that under ideal highway conditions, but in real-world conditions we recorded an average of 9.7l/100km over three days. It’s a respectable figure for a car equipped with a 3.5-litre V6, but the LS 500h was never built as a show of fuel efficiency. It’s more of a showcase of Lexus’ excellent hybrid technology in a luxury car.