Home / Reviews / First Drive / Exclusive: Dial ‘L’ for Luxury: Lexus LS-600h L AWD First Drive


Strap yourself in the driver’s seat and thumb the starter button, and you’ll be greeted with…silence! In case you’ve forgotten or are unaware of the fact, the ‘h’ in the name stands for ‘hybrid’. This silent super luxury saloon uses a pair of high output permanent magnet electric drive motors in addition to the five-litre 90-degree V8. When starting off or driving at slow to moderate speeds the vehicle is powered only by the electric motors. No fuel is used at this stage, as a result of which there are no emissions either — be it aural or gaseous. Hence the silence. Having said that, when you do step on the throttle with intent, the internal combustion engine takes over seamlessly, helping the combined powertrain put out a peak 438 PS and a maximum torque of 520 Nm, the latter being available right from the get go courtesy the electric powertrain. Transmission to all four wheels is via an electronically controlled CVT (continuously variable transmission), which keeps things smooth and shift-shocks to a bare minimum. What is remarkable about the car is the level of refinement that Lexus have been able to engineer into this vehicle. Noise. Vibrations. Harshness…umm, sorry, there isn’t much of any of these in the car for us to comment on. Dial L for Luxury_Lexus LS 600h L AWD Exclusive First Drive (13) To drive, despite its gigantic proportions, the feel you get is that of a moderate-sized saloon car, which makes it quite easy to manoeuvre through crowded Indian roads. The steering is light for the most part, again a boon when negotiating through tight spaces, but weighs up nicely in correspondence to increasing velocities. The LS 600h L uses independent upper and lower multi-link double joint suspension arms with electronically controlled air springs, coil-over monotube shock-absorbers and stabiliser bars for the front suspension. At the rear a similar set-up is used with the coil-over monotube shock-absorbers being replaced by integrated monotube shock-absorbers. (There is also the option of an adaptive variable air suspension in some countries.) The resultant ride quality is nothing short of sublime. Potholes, ruts or bumps, whatever the road may throw your way, the mighty Lexus seems to glide over effortlessly. At the same time, for a car that has such bulk and such great ride quality, the LS 600h L’s handling abilities are noteworthy. There isn’t as much body-roll as you’d expect from a car that seems to be set up on the softer side of life. Instead, the vehicle holds its line with purpose and has you going into the next bend with unexpected confidence. Don’t get us wrong. The Lexus LS 600h L AWD is no scalpel when it comes to cornering but is very very able none the less. Dial L for Luxury_Lexus LS 600h L AWD Exclusive First Drive (2)    More on page 4>


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