2018 Lexus LS500h Hybrid – Video
In RWD form, the new LS 500 sees a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds. Perhaps more critical to driving enjoyment, though, is how Lexus tuned the engine and transmission to deliver instant acceleration and a constant buildup of torque toward the engine’s redline. The driver can tailor powertrain response and feel by choosing from Normal, Sport S or Sport S+ modes. Just enough of the exhaust note can be heard to enhance the car’s dynamic nature.
The first-ever 10-speed automatic transmission for a premium passenger car, having debuted in the Lexus LC 500, is now also used in the new LS 500 gas models. It is a torque converter automatic, yet with shift times that rival those of dual-clutch transmissions. The wide bandwidth afforded by 10 closely spaced ratios is ideal for all driving situations. Using aluminum for the clutch drum, clutch hub and planetary carrier reduce rotating mass; coupled with shortened internal oil passages and smaller, faster shift solenoids results in quicker shifts. These improvements, plus a resin plastic transmission oil pan, yield a 10-speed transmission weighing the same as the previous 8-speed gearbox.
The 2018 LS Hybrid takes an entirely different approach than the previous LS Hybrid model. The new Multi Stage Hybrid System, which debuted in the LC 500h Coupe, combines a naturally aspirated Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators and uses a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery. D-4S direct fuel injection and lightweight valvetrain components allow a 6,600-rpm redline, with Dual Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (Dual VVT-i) ensuring ample torque across the engine speed range. Combined system output of the internal combustion engine with the electric traction system is 354 hp, enabling the LS 500h to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds (RWD).
The new system is based on the electronically controlled planetary continuously variable transmission of Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive coupled to an all-new four-speed automatic gear set at the output stage. The two systems work together to expand the overall range of gearing and increase operation of the V6 engine across a wider speed range than previous hybrids.
In M mode, the two gearsets are controlled together to provide the effect of 10 ratios, giving the LS 500h a highly engaging driving feel and allowing the driver to shift through the ratios with paddle shifters.
And with a 22.2-gallon fuel tank and 25/33/28 (city/highway/combined) manufacturer-estimated fuel economy, the LS 500h RWD has a range of over 600 miles, depending on driving conditions and habits.
The 2018 LS 500 offers a choice of nine interior color schemes, plus two for the F SPORT (Black and Circuit Red). In addition, nine choices in interior trim are available, including the exclusive Naguri-style aluminum for the F SPORT.
Nearly all elements are upholstery-wrapped, and a high level of craftsmanship has been applied even to the finer details, resulting in an elegant finish with a sense of depth. For example, the higher-grade seats feature quilting, and the perforation pattern on the F SPORT front seats has the same L-shaped mesh pattern as the car’s front grille.
Inspired by Shimamoku wood patterns, the new forms that combine the artistic combination of natural woodwork and application of Japan’s sophisticated sliced wood and laser-cutting manufacturing technologies are used for the new LS. New patterns, including Art Wood Organic, Art Wood Herringbone and Laser Special Matte feature bolder contrasts between light and dark, giving the wood a more vibrant appearance.
Art Wood Organic was inspired by a “blazing fire”, and took over a year to create. By layering the wood and applying a natural gloss coating to enhance the vibrancy of the grain, the resulting pattern gives the impression of a flickering flame.
Art Wood Herringbone features wood mosaic craftsmanship similar to that used for decorating musical instruments. Natural wood pieces are individually handcrafted by a Takumi craftsperson to create a delicate, Lexus-original mosaic, with an L-motif pattern subtly blended into the herringbone design.
To create the Laser Cut Special wood trim, a cutting and forming technology is utilized to expose beautiful metal lines beneath the natural wood veneer that can be seen and felt.