The LS 500h’s Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System combines a 3.5-litre V6 Dual VVT-i petrol engine with two electric motors, together delivering a total output of 354 hp/264kW.
The engine makes optimal use of Dual VVT-i (intelligent variable valve-timing), with timing precisely gauged in line with driving conditions, helping secure high torque at all engine speeds.
Measures to reduce friction losses and thus improve engine efficiency include the adoption of narrow, lightweight roller rocker arms and low-friction timing chains, while D-4S direct fuel injection helps create optimum combustion conditions, contributing to good fuel economy.
The new LS 500h is equipped with Lexus’ Multi Stage Hybrid System, a breakthrough technology that transforms hybrid powertrain performance.
The system adds a four-stage shifting device to the Lexus Hybrid Drive combination of a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors. The result is more direct response to driver inputs and an elevation of dynamic performance driving pleasure, while maintaining the characteristic smoothness and efficiency for which Lexus hybrids are renowned.
In a conventional full hybrid vehicle, engine output is boosted by the electric motor via a reduction gear, but with the new Multi Stage Hybrid System the power from the V6 engine and the hybrid battery can be amplified by the four-stage shifting device, allowing much greater drive power to be generated when accelerating from stationary and achieving a 0-100km/h acceleration in 5.4 seconds. High-speed cruising can be enjoyed at lower engine rpm and the LS 500h is able to run at higher speeds – up to 140km/h – with the petrol engine shut off.
The design of the system places the multi-stage shift unit immediately behind the power split device, on an axis aligned with the engine crankshaft. Although the unit has four speeds, the D range has a simulated shift control pattern that delivers the feel of driving with a 10-speed gearbox. As vehicle speed rises, engine speed increases with a linear, direct and continuous acceleration feel, free from the “rubber band” effect witnessed in some continuously variable transmissions. In the 10th gear range, the CVT control allows for high-speed cruising at lower engine revs for quiet, smooth and fuel-efficient performance.
The transmission further benefits from an improved version of the AI shift control found in conventional automatics. This enables intelligent, optimum gear selection to be made in line with driving conditions and driver inputs, for example when going up or downhill. The system also includes DMI (Driver’s Mind Index). This means it can adjust gear shifts to suit the driver’s style and behaviour, without the driver having to select a different drive mode to get the kind of performance they want from the transmission.
Thanks to the Multi Stage Hybrid System’s design, the driver is able to take advantage of an M mode to select and hold gears manually, using paddle shifts mounted behind the steering wheel – a function not previously available on a Lexus hybrid. Thanks to the co-ordinated control of the Power Split Device and the gear shifting mechanism, the gear shift will start instantaneously with the computer receiving the signal from the paddle shift, giving an exceptionally quick response.Text here ...
The LS 500h is fitted with a compact, lightweight, lithium-ion hybrid battery. It is 20 per cent smaller than the nickel-metal hydride unit featured in the current
Lexus LS 600h, yet has a higher power density. It increases the luggage capacity by 25l (versus LS 600h).
Using lithium-ion technology has also reduced the component’s weight, helping reduce the car’s overall mass, thus supporting overall fuel economy, emissions performance and handling balance.
It is the first Lexus hybrid battery to feature a satellite construction design, in which the cell voltage monitoring function has been made separate from the battery ECU. This allows for efficient use of what would otherwise be empty space inside the battery pack to house the wiring harness and battery cooling blower, thus reducing the unit’s overall dimensions. The cooling blower itself has been made more powerful and thinner in size.
The infotainment system has a more inviting graphic user interface and is controlled using the next generation of Lexus’ Remote Touch control system. The intuitive operation is designed to mirror the way a smartphone is used; it can also recognise “handwritten” commands – outline letters traced using a finger on the touchpad.
It is possible that no single automobile has, upon introduction, upended its category as decisively as the first Lexus LS did when it launched the luxury brand 28 years ago. The 1990 LS 400 was the original luxury disruptor, winning critical acclaim and astonishing customers by setting new benchmarks for comfort, powertrain performance and smoothness, quietness, build quality, attention to detail, and dependability.
Now, Lexus is about to repeat history with the introduction of the all-new, fifth-generation LS flagship saloon for 2018, unveiled at the 2017 North American International Auto Show. Inside and out, the new LS reflects a strong, uniquely Japanese identity and approach to luxury. “Not only will the LS symbolize the Lexus brand, it will become the definitive new-generation luxury car embodying Japanese tradition and culture,” said Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the new LS. “As such, this global pinnacle must go far beyond what the world expects from a luxury car.”
Longer and lower than the saloon it replaces, the all-new LS debuts a strikingly bold design with a coupe-like silhouette punctuated by the new Lexus design language. This premium rear-wheel drive platform, an extended version of the one used for the stunning new Lexus LC 500 coupe, will offer a more dynamic experience on the road while further elevating renowned Lexus comfort.
Take a closer look by using our interior and exterior tours