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by Tony West and Jamar Lee
Lexus is a leader in a growing in luxury hybrid market offering hybrid that couple fuel efficiency with unique swagger. The 2013 Lexus LS600h L is the answer to whether one lux car can have it all-ie luxury, functionality, style, efficiency, and powertrain. Lexus almost proved it. The LS600h L is a huge sedan with luxury and tech times 5 and fuel-….The Lexus LS600h L has 4 of the 5. In fact, the LS600h L comes so close to accomplishing everything that contradicts itself. Even with a few minor ironies, there’s a lot to enjoy with the 135k LS600h L from premium Executive perks to hulk-like powertrain.
Unmatched Premium Swag Inside- Out
The 2013 Lexus LS600h L a sexy elongated ES that looks like a BMW 750 from the rear. The wheelbase is over 10 feet long and 6 feet wide. The front façade features the familiar Lexus spindle grille and LED lighting with washers. And the LS600h-L comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels and blue hybrid badges. The LS600h L is made of high- strength alloy and ultra high-strength sheet metal. To me, paint options like Satin Cashmere Mica, Fire Agate Pearl, and Obsidian are stylish but I wish some of the LFA colors were available on this whip.
Inside the LS600h L is very impressive. Glad to see that Lexus devoted a lot of the 135k sticker price to tricking out the interior, making it fit for a CEO. The interior is replete with semi-Aniline leather, an Alcantra headliner, and carpeted floor mats. There is an abundance of space in the LS. And there’s even more space with the Executive Class Seating Package. We tested the fully-loaded LS600h-L which, with the Executive package, has front and rear seat ottomans, rear reclining seats, a rear lumbar massager, and a Blu-ray player.
Executive Lux Hybrid Riding 1st Class
The LS600h L has an Exec luxury feel like a premium fleet car. It makes sense that the whip’s best attributes are in the rear. With Executive Class Seating, there are two seats in the rear. With the Executive Package the right passenger seat has a reclining function, a massager, and a leg rest. The left passenger seat has a leg rest. While both rear passengers can access the rear console controls for the seat, climate, and entertainment, the right passenger has a wood trimmed table. Remotes for the Blu-ray player and massager are nicely stowed away in the rear console with the wireless headphones.
The Blu-ray player is dope for the rear. For some reason the radio cancels out when the Blu-ray player is turned on. The Executive Class Seating package is an additional $7,000. Without it, the LS600h L is still $126,410. I prefer not to drive a 468 horsepower whip with an Executive in the back trying to work. I’m lying I actually wanted to be chauffeured around.
In the front, the LS600h L has heated and ventilated seats, heated leather steering wheel, moon roof, push button start, controls for the rear sunshades, and a wood trimmed chrome plated shifter. A leather trimmed instrument panel has a 5.8-inch TFT multi -info screen that displays a ton of useful info for the driver like speed, temperature, fuel range, tachometer, and my favorite- the energy monitor. With two illustrations, the energy monitor displays exactly how power is stored and when it’s used. At cruising speeds the battery is used to power the wheels, and when braking the battery is restored. When revving, the energy monitor shows the gasoline engine being used. The contradiction lies in the fact that the LS600h L is a 5,202 lbs hybrid with a 22.2 gallon tank and a combined EPA of only 20 mpg’s. Gas is depleted at the same rate as some SUVs.
The amazing infotainment system is another perk for the LS600h L. Lexus employs its famous Remote Touch Controller for the 12.3-inch screen to control climate, audio, and phone. The 12.3-inch screen is dope because it’s large enough to display media on 2/3 of the screen and navigation or hybrid information on the right 1/3. Infotainment in the LS600h L is abundant. Nearby gas stations with pricing as well as weather, stocks, and traffic is available. App Suite includes Pandora, iheartradio, Bing, Open Table, Facebook Places, and Movetickets.com. The infotainment also includes Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, HDD Navigation, Lexus Insider, and voice command. The LS600h L also has the swanky Climate Concierge that regulates the cabin temperature for each passenger and an air purifier. I really dig the 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system. Standard is the Lexus Premium Audio System with 10 speakers.
Powertrain of a HyperCar
For 135k I expected the LS600h L to drive itself while massaging my back and whispering in my ear how sexy I am. It does two out of three- if I’m an Executive in the rear. Standard is a 5 liter V8 with 438 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque along with 2 electric motors. The primary motor starts the engine and the second drives the wheels and stores power during regenerative braking. The 32-valve V8 engine has Dual Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence and direct injection.
The all-wheel-drive LS600h L has electronically –controlled continuously variable sequential shift. All these specs felt great in this premium whip, until I realized I was driving a hybrid. While regenerative braking and Smart Stop technology enhance efficiency (thus EPA), the huge engine with 2 heavy electric motors seem to negate the hybrid perks. Especially considering the 4-cylinder ES hybrid aka the MPG God has a combined EPA of 40 mpgs. Spending 135k on a hybrid shouldn’t mean spending twice as much on gas. The LS600h L handled like a BMW on the road, commanding attention, hugging the road, riding in various road conditions steady and smooth with precise cornering and braking.
Drive Mode Select is standard with 5 available drive modes: ECO, Normal, Comfort, Sport, and Sport S+. Variable Gear Ratio steering with aluminum adaptive air suspension auto adjusts damping force. Limited Slip Differential enhances the LS600h L’s handling. I didn’t use the Sport S+ often because the LS rides sporty in ECO mode. Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System includes Electric Power Steering, Vehicle Stability Control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and more.
Tech Savvy Safety Features
Safety features include the backup camera and infrared cameras that enhances the Pedestrian Detection System, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Monitor, and the Pre Collision Safety System with Collision Avoidance Assist.
The Advanced Pre Collision will stop the vehicles in an imminent collision. Blind Sport Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is also available.The L600h is a phenomenal luxury hybrid from Lexus. With the Executive Seating Package it’s fit for a prince or Prince. Without Exec seating, the LS hybrid is still an ultra-lux sedan, though not as efficient it’s hybrid sibling the ES300h. Lexus’ 2013 ES hybrid blew my mind in every way imaginable.