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Words by Afzal Rawuther
The LS 500h broke cover at the Detroit Auto Show last year and goes up against the German trio of the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class internationally. Designed with typical Lexus flair, the LS 500h is way more radical than its German competitors. The hourglass shaped grille makes its way to the car and frames the Lexus logo with the blue hue that serves as a reminder of its hybrid credentials. The Lexus gets sharp creases, cuts and rather unusual(for a luxury car) design elements and stands apart from its competitors. The lightning shaped headlamps have become a brand highlight now.
The interior is now much more elegant and understated than most Lexus cars. The dash has a nice flowing design to it and the effect is accentuated with materials of the highest quality being used inside. Most buttons are done away with and the Lexus owners can now get most things done through the multiple touchscreens in the cabin. The front seats get 28-way adjustability and have heating, cooling and massage functions. Taking the pampering a notch higher are the raer seats which now have a 48-degree backrest incline angle and an ottoman for the centre armrest. Lexus is clearly concentracting on the rear seat luxury aspect of the car considering it might be going up against the Maybach S500.Also available will be an active noise suppression technology that promises to make the ride quieter than ever before. The Lexus will have a 23 speaker, 2400W Mark Levinson sound system and a four-zone climate concierge in its long list of features.
Available only in 500h form, rather than the standard LS 500, the LS 500h is set to receive the 3.5litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors good for a combined output of 350bhp. An e-CVT transmission takes care of transmission duties. It is expected that the LS 500h will only be sold in rear-wheel drive form in India, although internationally an all-wheel drive variant is also available. Lexus claims that the car will be more efficient and will offer much more driving engagement than ever before.
The LS 500h will be imported to India and that means that it will be taxed heavily. We estimate the Lexus LS 500h to be priced above Rs. 1.5 crore(ex-showroom) and that would mean that it would go up against the Maybach S500.