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Lexus LS600h L - Conclusion

By Jeremy Laird


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Above all else, the LS600h L is an extremely complex machine. Attempting to compress its colossal array of features and capabilities into a handful of simple soundbites is therefore inevitably a little facile. And yet two overriding impressions emerge above all others. This is an immensely polished car, yet one that suffers from massive overkill. The first point reflects the fact that Lexus simply doesn't do underdeveloped. Its engineers are renowned for the lengths taken to iron out any traces of harshness or imperfection. The result, from the near-silent hum of the V8 to the slick navigation interface, is a supremely refined and well finished vehicle.

But in the context of its supposedly planet-friendly hybrid architecture, it's also monstrously overwrought. There is little doubt, for instance, that a fairly modest diesel powerplant of perhaps 3.5l in capacity would deliver comparable fuel efficiency to the massively complex petrol-electric system Lexus has chosen, as well as all the performance this car needs in the real world. More to the point, a diesel engine as part of the hybrid system would deliver much better overall fuel consumption. In that sense, the environmentally friendly pretence is almost obscene. Hybrid drivetrain or no hybrid drivetrain, the 600h's priorities lie in comfort and effortless performance, not efficiency.

Making matters worse are the infotainment and communication systems. Despite numerous strengths, the fact that they feature a number of obvious shortcomings compared to not only widely available aftermarket technology and LS variants available in other markets but also systems from competing car makers doesn't exactly sweeten the £80,000 deal the LS demands. In a way, the expertise and effort that Lexus has invested in this car make conventional criticism seem churlish. After all, in so many regards this vehicle is a glorious example of 21st century luxury motoring. But there's no avoiding the final analysis. The LS600h L is also a strangely flawed machine.

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March 26, 2009, 5:47 am

Drove the LS600h at the Lexus Open Road event - was surprised to find the dashboard creaked and buzzed in an 80 grand car. In the end the best thing about the car is that it looks (slightly) less like a barge than the previous model LS.


March 26, 2009, 6:09 am

Unless im mistaken (a fair chance!) this was the car in tonight desperate housewives :p

Aside from the snazzy driver/safety aids the best thing is that flip down screen in the back and all the gubbins that go with it :D

Isaac Sarayiah

March 27, 2009, 1:40 am

why are you doing cars!!! Don't be silly.


March 27, 2009, 5:26 am


That build quality issue surprised me too. I have tried other range variants and whilst ( In a TR context) they were stuffed full of kinds of current 'technologic'. Lexus have kind thrown the baby out with the bath water and largely forgot about the driving experience, for a 'bloated plutocrat' kinda ride comfort

@ Issac Sarayiah

Why not? - the site is Trusted Reviews - no mention of just 'living room' consumer desirables. I applaud the range extension. Providing of course, it /they stay true to the spirit of the site and not a version of Top Gear et al...

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