Lexus has revealed the world's first hybrid luxury saloon at the New York motor show.
The LS600h features four-wheel drive and a hybrid V8 powerplant producing 430bhp. Lexus is claiming that the combination of 5.0-litre V8 and two high-output electric motors can match 12-cylinder units for grunt and refinement. It also believes the LS600h will be up to 70 per cent cleaner on emissions than its class rivals.
Lexus is using the 600h to introduce a new four-wheel drive system, coupled with electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission. Other new features include a newly-developed system which uses small cameras at the front of the car and radar to detect pedestrians in the vehicle path. Another camera on the steering column detects if the driver is not looking directly ahead and if it thinks a collision is likely it will warn the driver, then apply the brakes itself.
The LS600's launch coincides with the first public appearance of the fourth-generation LS460 models. Long-wheelbase versions of both models offer five inches more legroom for rear passengers but as yet, there are no plans to bring the 600h L to Europe. The models which are designated for sales here should arrive in June 2007.