Our Cars: Lexus LS600hL – week 5
Is economy really the point of the big hybrid
By Shahzad Sheikh
30th April-7th May 2012
Ever since we’ve had the big Lexus flagship, we’ve been talking a lot about economy. And despite the fact that the computer seems to have had a hiccup and is claiming we’ve done over 1000km since refuelling, we know we haven’t quite cracked the 700km+ projected range for a tank full shown on fill up, although Imthishan got real close with 682. But is this really the point?
I mean this car costs AED472,000 ($128,250). If I was really interested in economy, I’d buy a Yaris. Because when we ran that long term (read here), we figured we could put down a deposit of 10k and run the car for about AED1000 a month for the first two years to pay back the finance, and then around AED350 thereafter.
So for the price of an LS600hL, I could run the little Toyota Yaris for about 106 years! Assuming I started living healthy, began exercising and was blessed with an incredible run of good luck whereby the car never got damaged and/or written off, or just mechanically died. In fact I wonder what a pristine 100-year old Yaris would be worth, so there’s an added bonus in the value
Anyway, I digress. The point is that whilst it’s fascinating to ponder how a big luxury barge can be saving us fuel, I don’t think that’s what the hybrid system in this car is meant to be about.
It’s about power. The regular LS460 has a 4.6-litre V8 churning out 357bhp, giving a top speed of 210kph (limited). The LS600h employs a 5.0-litre V8 with two powerful electric motors mated to a large-capacity battery pack in the trunk, combining to produce 439bhp and a top speed of 250kph (limited) although the 0-100kph acceleration is fractionally slower at 6.3seconds versus 6.1 (probably due to the weight of the batteries).
You could also mention that hybrid emissions are far lower, and that it’s even more quiet than the regular car, coasting serenely along – particularly in reverse gear, because the 8-speed CVT has no reverse gear for the petrol engine, it simple engages a motor to back it up.
So whilst weight might negate the overall performance, the fact is that the increased torque, and ‘silent attack mode’ are two major benefits of the system.
Frankly speaking though we should be thinking of hybrid cars as some sort of ‘special needs’ cars. Instead just regard them as regular cars but with added technology. It’s really not such a new concept, just think of the hybrid part of the engine to be like a Turbo system or supercharger. It’s there as a ‘performance enhancer’ whether than be for fuel consumption, emissions, refinement or indeed performance.
Frankly a lot more cars will start to come with hybrids soon, so we might as well start to accept them as part of our motoring routines – no bad thing really, as we’re finding out.