It’s clear that the trail ahead within the auto business includes electrification. No market section will likely be immune from it, although some will take longer to hop on the electrification practice.
Toyota is the present king of hybrids, with its Prius and Camry fashions. The Japanese automaker’s luxurious division, Lexus, is not any stranger to hybrids as nicely, with hybrid variants of the favored RX crossover SUV and ES sedan.
So it was no shock when Lexus unveiled the LC 500h hybrid on the 2016 Geneva motor present simply months after the V-Eight LC 500 mannequin was proven on the 2016 Detroit auto present.
After spending every week with the 2018 Lexus LC 500h hybrid this spring, it’s clear that there are compromises within the march towards electrification, however hybridization is an ideal match for a grand touring machine.
The LC 500h purchaser suffers no visible trade-off for selecting the hybrid over the V-Eight mannequin. The wild eye-catching concept-car design stays. Lexus does embrace some visible cues that it is a hybrid, although. The badges get a blue hue, chrome adorns the usual wheels, and a discrete hybrid badge identifies the mannequin on every rocker panel. Other than that, it’s the identical drool-worthy LC coupe.
Inside, the one solution to distinguish the hybrid from its V-Eight sibling is to look at the gauge cluster. An EV gentle signifies the powertrain is able to roll. In any other case, it’s the usual LC 500 inside, proper all the way down to the supremely snug road-trip-worthy seats and the horrible infotainment system with a trackpad.
The place the LC 500h hybrid differs from its V-Eight sibling is what’s beneath the hood. It’s powered by a three.5-liter V-6 aided by two electrical motors and hooked to a Four-speed computerized transmission. A 44-kwh lithium-ion battery pack provides energy for the motors. Whole system output is 354 horsepower, down 113 hp from the V-Eight-powered LC 500.
Regardless of that deficit, the LC 500h runs Zero-60 mph in Four.7 seconds–simply Zero.three second slower than the V-Eight mannequin–and has a prime pace of 155 mph versus the V-Eight mannequin’s 168 mph restrict.
Off the road, the V-6 really feels prefer it has extra punch than the V-Eight as a result of immediate torque of the electrical motors, however that feeling fades above 30 mph the place the naturally aspirated 5.Zero-liter builds its energy with extra gusto because the revs climb.
At cruising pace on the freeway the hybrid powertrain isn’t as obsessed with throwing occupants again into their seats throughout aggressive passing maneuvers. The ability is nowhere close to as instantaneous as that of the V-Eight, and the transmission doesn’t really feel as fast to shift because the V-Eight’s 10-speed computerized.
Whereas the acceleration distinction is surprisingly small, the aural pleasure of the 5.Zero-liter V-Eight merely can’t be matched by the hybrid powertrain. The V-Eight has a burly exhaust notice that bellows from the LC 500’s tailpipes, however the LC 500h performs an artificial soundtrack that may be surprisingly loud, and at instances, buzzy.
With an additional 155 kilos to hold over the V-Eight mannequin, the LC 500h suffers a minor dealing with penalty as nicely, nevertheless it’s not as drastic as you’d anticipate.
Just like the V-Eight mannequin, although, the hybrid’s steering is exact, although suggestions is muddy and the automobile doesn’t present a crystal clear image of what the wheels are doing.
Grand tourers are supposed to look good whereas getting you the place you need go quickly and in model. The LC 500h meets these standards as I came upon on a weekend highway journey to a marriage in Iowa from my dwelling in Minnesota.
With Four.7 cubic toes of house, the trunk holds simply sufficient for a weekend away for 2. That’s Zero.7 cubic toes lower than the LC 500 as a result of room wanted for the lithium-ion battery pack. It has rear seats, however consider them as a parcel shelf for no matter baggage you possibly can’t match within the small trunk.
As we march into the longer term, the LC 500h reveals that automakers can construct a extra environment friendly grand tourer with out making vital compromises to design, efficiency, or consolation.