2008 Lexus LS600h cars

The 2008 LS 600h L hybrid luxury sedan elevated the LS to a new level, with the world’s first V8/all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain; a new 5.0-liter V8 gasoline engine was coupled to two electric motors and a battery pack for a combined output of 438 horsepower and zero to 60 mph acceleration in just 5.5 seconds. The electric motor could deliver maximum torque on demand, ideal for passing; the LS 600h L could run from 50-70 mph in 3.5 seconds.

ls600h L

The V8 had variable valve timing, driven by an electric motor (on the intake side), along with a hydraulically controlled two-way exhaust system. A newly developed Hydrocarbon Adsorber and Catalyst (HCAC) system prevented hydrocarbons contained in the exhaust from being released into the atmosphere during cold startup (before the catalysts reached their operating temperature). As a result, the Lexus carried a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) rating.

The LS 600h L’s performance comes without the severe gas-mileage penalties of similar luxury cars — with 20 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, providing a combined rating of 21 mpg (better than many V6 all-wheel-drive mid-sized luxury sedans.)

Noise and vibration is surprisingly low, thanks to extra sound insulating materials around the cylinder head covers, lower damper pulley tensions, and tweaking of the engine mounts through repeated testing; noise and vibration are roughly half those found in other luxury cars, making it one of the quietest automobiles ever built.

The LS 600h L could run in electric-only mode, using its 288-volt DC Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack behind the rear seat; a separate 12V battery in the trunk was used for various accessories. The drive batter ran through a boost converter to get to 650V DC, which was converted by an inverter to AC to power the 165 kW electric motor. This was capable of rotating at 10,240 rpm.

Each of the two motors, dubbed MG1 and MG2, could operate as either a motor or a generator; MG1 was used as a starter, with no motive force, but could still charge the battery pack. When the vehicle is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric motors function as generators.

The AWD system used a new transfer case with a Torsen® limited-slip differential (LSD), 30% lighter in size and weight than previous Torsen systems. It has a rear-biased torque distribution of 40:60 under normal straight-line driving, but adjusts power distribution between the front and rear wheels according to changing speed and road conditions. The micron-polished finish of the gears in the transfer case cuts noise, as does placement of the LSD inside the transfer case — which also eliminates the usual “hump.”

A dual-stage continuously variable transmission includes eight-speed sequential braking, activated when the shift lever is in the "S" mode. When up-shifting, engine speed is controlled by the selected range; when downshifting, brake-force increases allowing for an equally exciting deceleration. Power is controlled by a three-mode hybrid switch with "hybrid" (normal), "power," or "snow" options.

The LS 600h L power steering and air conditioning are electrically powered, and demand on the air conditioner is reduced through ultraviolet and infrared ray-reducing tinted glass on all windows.

Lexus LS600h Cornering

A new multi-link front suspension is exclusive to the LS 600h L; it overcomes under-steering and drifting situations common when driving an AWD vehicle at high speeds. An optional active stabilizer help maintain control and ride comfort during high-speed lane changes or driving on winding roads.

External cylinder-restriction air springs smoothly absorb shock, achieving ride comfort without roll sensation or vibration due to road conditions. A standard air suspension control system helps maintain superb vehicle posture and stable driving performance with minimal pitching and rolling.

The LS 600h L has large front- and rear-ventilated disc brakes and standard 19-inch, seven-spoke aluminum alloy wheels with all-season tires. These special wheels receive extensive buffing, and their shape is meticulously analyzed to create a form with shade depths that shift when the vehicle is in motion.

The LS 600h L is controlled by Electronic Power Steering (EPS), which delivers a smooth steering feel that supports the multilink suspension and large-diameter tires. The EPS motor creates a steering impression that responds to the driver's touch and provides a responsive feel when cornering.

Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) is integrated into the steering-gear housing to optimize the steering gear ratio according to vehicle speed, enhancing responsiveness and driver control. VGRS also partners with the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, making minor adjustments to the front-wheel angle to help provide improved stability in challenging road conditions.

Stylish projector-type headlamps with blue crystal rings, which also include the world's first night-time LED low beams, provide excellent visibility and contribute to the LS 600h L styling theme. Blue accents on the front headlamps, taillamps, badging, engine cover and the SmartAccess key fobs and Smart Card key are unique to the
LS 600h L.

Passenger space and luxury comfort were the primary focus of the interior cabin design. Genuine semi-analine leather is featured throughout the cabin, its rich appearance softened and structured with additional stitching to create a relaxed atmosphere. The leather-trim extends beyond the seats and onto the instrument panel, upper front doors and door armrests. The center console adds to passenger comfort and convenience through perfect angle placement for ease of use from either the driver or front passenger seat and is placed at the same height as the door armrests for a comfortable balance. Additional luxury touches unique to the LS 600h L includes a wood-trimmed and chrome-plated shift knob and wood-trimmed assist grip.

Lexus safety features

Cutting-edge active and passive safety technologies combine in the LS 600h L to create one integrated system. Active safety features include the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) stability system, which assimilates and manages the Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB) system, EPS, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and engine torque via the electronically controlled throttle. Monitoring a variety of sensors, the system anticipates the onset of a vehicle skid or slide while cornering, and then helps correct the situation with a combination of braking, throttle and steering control in a way that is essentially transparent to the driver. The VDIM system gathers data from more sources, processed earlier and faster than in previous designs, which helps make the LS 600h L's system even more seamless and effective. VSC can also be turned off by the driver via the Trac Off button. In addition to the active safety features, the LS 600h L is standard-equipped with eight standard airbags, with a maximum of 11 airbags available through option packages.

Lexus engineers have also developed an Advanced Pre-Collision System (APCS). It is the world's first system designed to help detect pedestrians in the vehicle's path. APCS, with two small cameras mounted at the front of the car that work in conjunction with millimeter-wave radar, is sensitive enough to detect certain nonmetallic objects.

As part of APCS the LS also offers the world's first Driver Monitor System. A third camera, mounted on the steering column, monitors the orientation of the driver's face. If the camera detects that it appears the driver is not looking directly ahead for a few seconds or more, and if an obstacle is detected ahead, then it alerts the driver first with a warning chime and a flashing light. As the car gets closer to the obstacle, APCS can begin to gently apply the brakes on its own. To assist the driver in maneuvering around the obstacle, the system reprograms the steering ratio, amplifying the intensity and quickness of the steering response.

While all of this is happening, the system automatically retracts the front seatbelts and prepares the brake system to respond with full force when activated by the driver in anticipation of a possible impact.

Comfort and convenience

The LS600h L delivers nearly five inches more legroom than the LS 460. It also provides the highest level of comfort and convenience features among all LS models. Standard features include a hard disk drive (HDD) Lexus Navigation system with a backup camera and Bluetooth® technology and voice activation, and XM factory-installed satellite radio with real-time traffic displays and dynamic route guidance. For genuine theater-level entertainment, the LS 600h L features a standard 19-speaker 450-watt Mark Levinson® Reference Surround Sound audio system, raising the bar for automotive sound systems. A portion of the HDD is dedicated to storing as many as 2,000 (128-bit) digital songs. An auxiliary jack located in the front center console allows for iPod or MP3 capable digital music players.

Additional standard features include an Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS), climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, one-touch open/close power trunk, power door closers, headlamp washers, SmartAccess with push-button start and card key, electronic parking brake, Intuitive Park Assist, and laminated side glass.

A list of optional conveniences includes an Advanced Parking Guidance System (APGS) to assist with parallel and back-in parking. Once the driver has correctly positioned the car and identified the desired parking spot via the navigation screen, APGS utilizes the rear back-up camera parking sonar sensors and electric power steering system to guide the car into the spot, while the driver controls speed via braking.

Special option packages offer unique features for the ultimate touch of luxury. The Premium Package includes climate comfort rear seats with a heat/cool knob, rear power seats with memory, rear power headrests, rear seat side airbags, Lexus Link and APGS. The left-side rear power seat has a built-in 28-degree angle and reclines up to 38 degrees and the rear seat moves front to back approximately three inches.

The Premium Package II includes all features in the Premium Package and a heater control panel, four-zone climate control, rear audio controls, additional wood trim, rear air purifier, rear cool box, rear headliner and side air ducts, power rear-door sunshades, and a rear seat entertainment system equipped with a power ceiling-mounted nine-inch screen for DVD viewing.

The Executive Class Seating Package II includes all features in the Premium Package II and features a power right rear seat that reclines up to 45 degrees with an upper-back recliner featuring a 17-degree angle adjustment. A multi-function massage feature includes an enhanced massage mode for the right-rear seat recliner that can be used separately or in conjunction with the seat heater and cooler. The package also includes a rear-seat wood-trimmed table and the rear-seat entertainment system features wireless headphones.

The rear climate control is upgraded with three infrared sensors located in the headliner that measure lap, upper body and seat on each side and then adjusts airflow accordingly.

Each limited Launch Edition LS 600h L was painted in Truffle Mica with an Alabaster and Black leather interior; they had a leather-trimmed upper and lower black monotone instrument panel, 19-inch split five-spoke aluminum wheels with a shiny chrome finish, etched chrome-finish interior badges with the vehicle's serial number, logo floormats, and the Premium Package.


All new Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48-months/unlimited miles. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72 months/70,000 miles. Corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72 months, regardless of mileage. The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles. 

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Lexus LS600h and L specifications

  2008 LS 600h L 2007 LS 460 L 2007 LS 460 2006 LS 430
Wheelbase 121.7 121.7 116.9 115.2
Length 202.8 202.8 198.0 197.4
Width (inches) 73.8 73.8 72.0
Height 58.5 (air suspension) 58.1 (coil suspension)
57.7 (LWB+air suspension)
Engine 5.0-liter V8 / hybrid 4.6-liter V8 4.3-liter V8
Transmission 2-stage ECVT 8-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
Horsepower > 430 ~ 380 278
Torque N.A. ~ 367 lb.-ft. 312 lb.-ft.
Driven Wheels AWD RWD RWD

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