2010 Lexus LS 600h L
2010 Lexus LS 600h L. Click image to enlarge

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Day-by-Day Review: 2010 Lexus LS 600h L

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Review and photos by Paul Williams

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2010 Lexus LS

In the world of luxury vehicles, the Lexus LS600h L is a trendsetter. Yes, it’s powered by a V8 engine, but it’s also a hybrid. As you might expect, this car is the technology and quality showcase for the entire Lexus brand, and at a starting price of $119,950, rising to $144,000 for my Premium Executive test car, it will find a home in only the most exclusive driveways.

First of all, some key standard features. The 5.0-litre V8 engine/hybrid powertrain makes 438 net horsepower at 6,400 rpm, and 385 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. This is an all-wheel drive vehicle, with a CVT transmission, an adaptive front and rear air suspension system and the full range of electronic stability and traction controls. It rides on P245/45R19 all-season tires (my test car was fitted with Blizzak winter tires), weighs 2,290 kilograms (5,049 pounds), has a 3,090 millimetre (121.7-inch) wheelbase and an exceedingly low coefficient of drag of 0.27.

2010 Lexus LS 600h L
2010 Lexus LS 600h L
2010 Lexus LS 600h L. Click image to enlarge

Standard equipment highlights include heated wood steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering, 450-watt Mark Levinson Reference Surround audio system with 19 speakers, USB audio input, Bluetooth capability, premium leather heated and cooled front seats, 16-way power driver’s seat, 12-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, power rear window and rear door sunshades, hard-drive-based navigation system with voice recognition, leather-covered instrument panel and doors, LED headlamps and taillamps, auto-levelling headlamp system, push-button start, clearance and backup sensor, power assist doors and several cup holders.

In addition to the above highlights, you can assume this car features just about every other technological and convenience item imaginable (dual-zone climate control, fog lamps, rain sensing wipers, etc.).

But I did say “just about,” and that’s where the Premium Executive Package comes in – the “icing on the cake,” so to speak.

For an extra $24,050, the Premium Executive Package adds a rear-seat DVD player/entertainment system with remote control, two sets of wireless headphones, four-zone independent automatic climate control, infrared body temperature sensor, intelligent cruise control system, pre-collision system, lane keeping assist system, driver monitoring system, obstacle detection system, heated and air conditioned power rear seats, right rear seat retractable ottoman, rear seat Shiatsu massage, and 18-inch aluminum wheels.

So, is the LS 600h L a driver’s car or a passenger’s car? That may depend on where you sit (or lie…).

2010 Lexus LS 600h L
2010 Lexus LS 600h L. Click image to enlarge

From the driver’s point of view, the LS 600h L offers a sublime ride and driving experience with none of the idiosyncrasies that may be encountered in budget hybrid vehicles (grabby brakes, droning CVT transmission, sedate performance). On the road it is exceedingly quiet (silent, in some cases) and smooth, and the only time you can actually hear the powertrain is under hard acceleration, when the engine emits a lusty but civilized V8 exhaust note. Otherwise, the mechanical operation of the LS600h L is virtually undetectable.

While we’re on the subject of acceleration, this car seems to move from one speed to another without any physical sensation imparted to the occupants. Yes, you can see the speedometer needle moving rapidly from left to right, but you can barely feel the g-forces inside the car. I’m not saying this is bad… just odd.

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