2017 Geneva Motor Show: Lexus to unveil new hybrid flagship

2018 Lexus LS

Lexus has announced it will launch a hybrid version of its all-new LS 500 at the next month’s Geneva Motor Show.

The LS 500h is the latest addition to the luxury carmaker’s flagship sedan range, which was revealed at the Detroit Motor Show in January with all new underpinnings and a fresh twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine.

The hybrid powertrain is expected to be the Multi-Stage Hybrid System in the LC 500h coupe, which shares the LS 500’s all-new GA-L platform.

As well as greater efficiency, the new hybrid technology will be able to extract greater performance from the 264kW 3.5-litre atmo V6 petrol/electric powertrain, according to Lexus chief engineer Koji Sato.

“In the past, people only associated hybrid with 'eco'. We wanted to broaden that perception and create a true high-performance powertrain.”

2018-Lexus -LS-500-rear -seatsThe Multi Stage Hybrid System amplifies engine and electric motor output thanks to a new multi-stage shift device, which changes the output in four stages.

In a conventional hybrid the engine output is amplified by the electric motor via a reduction gear, but the multi-stage system can increase power via the automatic transmission meaning greater power on take-off.

The 2018 Lexus LS 500 range is due in Australia early next year.

LS chief engineer Toshio Asahi said while it will compete against traditional upper-luxury German sedans, its design and technology were inspired by a relatively new kid on the block.

“All the main competitors in this segment were considered – obviously BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and Audi A8 – but in addition to that, we also benchmarked the Tesla (Model S),” Mr Asahi told Wheels.

“We also benchmarked the Tesla’s autonomous technology as well as the Mercedes E-Class’ system.”

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