2018 Lexus LS 500h Hybrid Unveiled
Following the introduction of an all-new LS 500 Sedan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Lexus took the wraps off of its hybrid sibling, the 2018 LS 500h, in Geneva. While sharing all of the design and engineering of the standard LS 500 flagship, this redesigned gas/electric variant serves up a more efficient take on the formula.
Like the LS 500, the new LS 500h will be available in a single 123.0-inch wheelbase and offer the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. However this greener incarnation is fitted with the same new Multi Stage Hybrid in the 2018 LC 500h Coupe. It pairs a 295-horsepower version of the gasoline-fired 3.5-liter Dual VVT-I direct/port-injected Lexus V6 with two compact, lightweight electric motor/generator units, one used to start the engine and control speed and the second providing added drive power as well as being able to capture energy via regenerative braking.
Collectively, this powertrain cranks out 354 horses and works in concert with the Multi Stage Hybrid Transmission that teams a 4-speed automatic gearbox positioned behind the existing CVT to create the functional equivalent of a 10-speed. This setup allows for quicker, more linear and more enthusiastic response as well greater efficiency when cruising. Better yet, a manual-style “M” mode and steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles also afford an added measure of fun which manifests itself in the form of a 5.4 second 0-60 mph sprint time.
Feeding the motors is a new active air-cooled lithium-ion battery pack. Lighter and with greater power density than the nickel-metal hydride pack used in the previous LS 600h, this higher-tech replacement also is 20-percent smaller. Lexus has yet to reveal the capacity of this pack or the electric-only range it gives the new LS 500h. We expect to hear more on both of those fronts as well as the EPA mileage ratings and pricing info prior to the 2018 Lexus LS 500h’s arrival in showrooms here later this year.
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