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The Top Gear car review:Lexus LS 600h
For:When was the last time you saw one of these on the road?
Against:Expensive, should be more economical
600h L 5.0 Premier 4dr CVT Auto
What we say:
A dinosaur from the masters of hybrid tech. Beautifully built, but feels old hat alongside newer, more economical rivals
What is it?
Five-litre V8, four-wheel-drive, 155mph, huge. Easy target. Hang on, though, it’s a hybrid. With an electric motor. Both black AND white? How to baffle the Daily Mail.
Facelifted for 2013, the LS is now available in just the one spec, which weighs in at nearly £100k.
The LS600h is four-wheel drive, has a CVT gearbox and a Hybrid Synergy Drive electric motor. Despite all the cool stuff, it handles like a dead badger. Approach a corner at anything like an enthusiastic speed and the LS600h understeers itself straight into the arms of its myriad electronic minders and bongs mournfully at the mistreatment.
If you sit anywhere in the thing it’s better than having Disneyland brought right into your most comfortable sofa moment. There are DVDs and seats that ventilate and massage, ‘ottoman’ seating that reclines almost into a flat bed in the rear, multi-zone climate, a self-park function - even the electric drive system allows for silent, perfectly ramped gatherings of speed. It’s surreal, astonishing and bloody brilliant.
Hmm, this is where it gets interesting. It’s a hybrid… with a ruddy great 5.0-litre V8. Horsepower tots up to a grand total of 439bhp and 384lb ft of torque, which, allied to an E-CVT gearbox, means a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds. A hybrid!
On the inside
Not built but hewn. Not made but forged. If all cars were built this well, the car business would cease to exist because no-one would ever need a new car.
It’s not quite as practical because some space is taken up by the Synergy Drive. You’ll never notice it though.
The 600h will manage around 30mpg, emits just 199g/km but is still taxed hard. It also weighs in at insurance group 50 and just isn’t going to be a £55 oil service, even with the best will in the world and using pattern parts from a Vauxhall Vectra. Don’t expect it to be as kind on your wallet as it is to the pandas.