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by Tim Beissmann

The most powerful Lexus F Sport model in history – the Lexus LS600h F Sport – is locked in for our market, with the Japanese luxury car maker confirming the sports-oriented hybrid model will be launched in Australia at the beginning of November.

The introduction of the upgraded 2013 Lexus LS range will mark the first time Lexus Australia has offered its flagship petrol-electric model in standard-wheelbase form.

The new Lexus LS600h F Sport will be joined in showrooms either late this year or early in 2013 by the long-wheelbase LS600hL as well as the non-hybrid LS460 and LS460 F Sport variants.

The new Lexus LS600h F Sport teams a 290kW/520Nm 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine with a 165kW/300Nm electric motor for a maximum hybrid system output of 327kW of power – identical to the outgoing LS hybrids.

Despite the extra power, the all-wheel drive LS600h F Sport is almost half a second slower from 0-100km/h than the rear-wheel drive LS460 F Sport (6.1secs versus 5.7), which is a side effect of the hybrid’s 290kg weight disadvantage and its economy-focused continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The hybrid takes the points in the efficiency battle, however, using 8.6 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle compared with 10.7L/100km for the LS460.

The LS600h F Sport is distinguished by its F Sport mesh grille and badges, front and rear sports bumpers with unique foglights, exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels and its 10mm lower ride height.

Enhancing the F Sport’s dynamic performance is the new sports-tuned air suspension set-up, a larger six-piston Brembo front brake package and the new five-setting Drive Mode Select system, which allows the driver to vary the vehicle’s powertrain and chassis settings.

The LS600h F Sport will also become the first Lexus model available in Australia with an active stabiliser bar, which is designed to improve body control, steering response and precision.

Inside, F Sport versions of the Lexus LS score 16-way electric sports seats, perforated leather steering wheel and gear lever, aluminium sports pedals and scuff plates and the choice of two exclusive colour schemes.

The updated 2013 Lexus LS model range will be on display during the Melbourne Cup carnival in November.

Full pricing and specification details will be revealed in the lead up to the car’s local launch.




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