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First Test: 2011 Lexus LS 600h L


The stairs leading to the entrance of the Getty Center -- perched above Los Angeles' perpetually gridlocked 405 highway - are long and flat, forcing visitors to slow down and enjoy their rich surroundings. That's what the 2011 Lexus Ls 600h L attempts to do in the automotive world. If you want a stimulating luxury flagship car, try a Bmw 7 Series or Jaguar XJ. The Lexus Ls 600h L wants nothing to do with fast-paced excitement, and that's why it excels.
Lexus wants to play in the full-size luxury sedan class above $100,000, where V-12 powered Mercedes Benz S-Classes and Bmw 7 Series sedans dominate. What distinguishes the Lexus from competitors LEXUS IS its single-minded pursuit of isolating passengers from the outside world. The automaker says the car LEXUS IS one of the quietest automobiles ever built, and we have no reason to doubt that claim. Even in the sporty version of the 2011 Lexus Ls 460 that finished fourth of seven cars in a recent comparison, we noted the car's "serene isolation."

 The automaker tries to take that relaxing isolation a step forward with the hybrid version of the LEXUS LS flagship sedan. Instead of building an LEXUS LS with a V-12 to match the category leaders, Lexus went with a V-8 hybrid. We aren't completely sold on this powertrain. It doesn't have the power to take on the V-12s, and its mpg rating, while better than its 12-cylinder-powered foils, isn't exactly stellar considering its hybrid credentials.

When it comes to the performance numbers game, the L in the LEXUS LS 600h L stands for Lagging, as in lagging behind the competition. The V-12 engines in the Bmw 760Li and Mercedes Benz S600 each produce more than 500 horsepower, while the all-wheel-drive Lexus has "only" 438 total system horsepower. Using a 5.0-liter V-8 engine, a CVT, two electric motors, and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack behind the rear seats, the Lexus Ls 600h L sprinted from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds during our testing, on to a quarter mile time of 14.2 seconds at 101.3 mph. The 2011 LEXUS LS 460 LEXUS IS just two ticks slower to 60 mph, while Bmw claims a 4.7-4.8-second time in the ActiveHybrid 750Li. For comparison, a 2010 Bmw 760Li accelerated from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds and through the quarter mile in 12.4 seconds at 115.3 mph. Braking on the LEXUS LS 600h L from 60-0 mph was 17 feet longer than the Bmw 760Li.

(Source)


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