Illustration of LS 500h Multi Stage Hybrid System
Electrically-assisted version of flagship will share its powertrain with the LC 500h and get more than 350bhp; it can run in EV mode to 87mph
Lexus has confirmed that the electrified Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival will make use of its Multi Stage Hybrid System, which mates a 295bhp 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and four-speed automatic gearbox to two electric motors that drive a CVT transmission. The CVT has been engineered to replicate a six-speed gearbox, meaning the car drives like it has a 10-speed.
The two-part system, which was introduced in the LC 500h, is said to have gearchange times that are comparable to a dual-clutch gearbox, but the Lexus system is lighter and more compact. The LC 500h gets a total of 354bhp, and that same figure is expected of the LS model.
Technical illustrations show the system’s layout in the car, with the powerplant located at the front and the batery pack at the back. The motors drive one front wheel each, and it can run in full electric mode at speeds of up to 87mph. The petrol engine remains focused on powering the rear.
Pictures released before the car’s physical debut shows that no styling changes will be made to signify the hybrid’s different powertrain. The flagship will therefore – like the regular LS – measure 5235mm long, s1450mm high and 1900mm wide.
Compared with the outgoing LS, the new model is about 15mm lower, and its bonnet and boot are 30 and 41mm lower respectively, with Lexus’s designers striving for a ‘four-door coupé’ bodystyle.
Sales of the new LS range will start at the end of this year, with pricing set to be released nearer to that time. The outgoing LS costs from £71,995, but a small price increase is expected for this replacement.
Alongside the LC 500h will be the 2017 RC F GT3 racing car (shown in gallery), which will make its European debut at Geneva. The model will compete in Japan’s Super GT series and the US’s IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship from the start of the 2017 season.