Lexus has confirmed that the electrified Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival will make use of its Multi Stage Hybrid System, which mates a 295bhp 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and four-speed automatic gearbox to two electric motors that drive a CVT transmission. The CVT has been engineered to replicate a six-speed gearbox, meaning the car drives like it has a 10-speed.
The two-part system, which was introduced in the LC 500h, is said to have gearchange times that are comparable to a dual-clutch gearbox, but the Lexus system is lighter and more compact. The LC 500h gets a total of 354bhp, and that same figure is expected of the LS model.
Technical illustrations show the system's layout in the car, with the powerplant located at the front and the battery pack at the back. The motors drive one front wheel each, and it can run in full electric mode at speeds of up to 87mph. The petrol engine remains focused on powering the rear. The car's 0-62mph sprint time is placed at 5.4 seconds.
Pictures released before the car’s physical debut show that no styling changes will be made to signify the hybrid's different powertrain. That said, the LS 500h is slightly longer than the regular car, with a wheelbase stretched to 3125mm compared to the LS's 3090mm. Multi-link suspension will be standard, with air suspension featuring on high-end models.
Compared with the outgoing LS, the new model is about 15mm lower, and its bonnet and boot are 30 and 41mm lower respectively, with Lexus’s designers striving for a ‘four-door coupé’ bodystyle.
Interestingly, while the regular LS will only be available with all-wheel drive, the LS 500h will be offered with both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Among the new car's safety features is a function which not only applies the car's brakes if a pedestrian is detected, but which can also steer around obstacles.
Inside, the LS comes with heated, cooled and massaging front and rear seats, and an optional rear seat arrangement can be specified which includes an extending leg rest.