Lexus readies hybrid LS with V12 grunt, V6 economy

Published: 03 June 2007

Lexus claims its new LS600h hybrid will return 29.7mpg – despite having 444bhp on tap.

The company has announced new details of its flagship hybrid, which gets a European premiere at September’s Paris motor show. Lexus claims that the petrol/electric hybrid drivetrain offers the performance of a V12, but with V6 fuel economy and emissions. Combined output of the 5.0-litre V8 and electric motors is 444bhp – just 1bhp less than BMW’s V12-powered 760i musters. Yet the Lexus over-compensates with a claimed 29.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 220g/km, compared with 21.2mpg and 325g/km for the BMW. Not only will the Lexus provide a warm glow inside drivers as they produce (fractionally) less global warming gas, but the taxman will smile, too. BMW drivers must pay the full whack of company car tax – 35 percent of list price – while the LS600h qualifies for the 29 percent bracket. Power is transferred to all four wheels by a continuously variable transmission. Expect UK deliveries to begin in June 2007, with a likely starting price north of £80k.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine