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by Tim Beissmann

Following its debut at last September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the 2010 Lexus LS 600hL is now available in Australia offering added technology, revised styling and sharpened pricing.

The Lexus Hybrid Drive system has been upgraded for the 2010 model year to meet Euro V emissions standards.

The 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine and 165kW electric motor combine for a maximum power output of 327kW. This means 0-100km/h comes up in 6.3 seconds, while fuel consumption and CO2 emissions remain tidy at 9.3 litres/100km and 219g/km respectively.

The new “ECO mode” monitors and manages performance of the air conditioning system and throttle response to maximise efficiency, while repackaging of the battery system has increased boot space by 40 litres.

Outside the usual refresher tweaks are evident with updates to the grille, fog lamps, bumpers and the addition of LEDs. The customary “hybrid blue” headlights make an appearance, as does self-healing paint which claims to maintain the vehicle’s finish over its lifetime.

A new full-colour TFT LCD display is the champion of the interior and is joined in the LS 600hL by countless other dials, touch screens and displays that control everything from navigation instructions and coolant temperature to hybrid system status and audio functions.

On that, the new entertainment system does deserve a mention. The standard Mark Levinson unit delivers 7.1-channel surround sound through no less than 19 speakers and features fully-controllable USB connectivity.

The seats top off the interior changes for the new model, with inflator-operated active headrests in the front which project forwards and upwards to reduce the risk of whiplash in rear-impact accidents.

The outboard rear passengers also get new adjustable headrests and added bolsters to improve hip support, while legroom in the four-seat model has grown by 40mm on the passenger side when the front seat is pushed fully forward to aid entry and egress.

Benefiting from the recent tariff reductions, the 2010 Lexus LS 600hL costs $243,900 in four-seat configuration and $250,900 as a five-seater (both down $9000).

Prices are manufacturer’s list prices and do not include dealer delivery or statutory charges.




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