This week’s big unveiling of the all-new 2018 Lexus LS, six years in the making, debuted a new evolution of the company’s styling themes, all riding on a stretched version of the platform that underpins the new LC coupe.
Lexus’s showcasing of the new LS brought an additional surprise, however: a new twin-turbo 310kW, 600Nm V6 petrol engine.
As a suitably powerful and likely more economical replacement for the 4.6-litre V8 available with the outgoing LS, the new turbo six should prove a compelling option for buyers looking at the new Lexus flagship.
But what of the hybrid option that has become a trademark for Toyota’s luxury brand? Available across the bulk of the range, petrol-electric hybrid models have stood out as Lexus’s answer to those looking for a more frugal fuel case.
For now, there’s no sign of, and no word on, a new LS hybrid – and the company is playing its cards close to the chest. Speaking with CarAdvice at this week’s Detroit motor show, both Tokuo Fukuichi, global head of Lexus and Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the new LS, would say only that they would not discuss future product.
Peter McGregor, CEO of Lexus Australia, offered something of a hint, noting that most Lexus lines do offer a hybrid option.
“If you go back and look at the range [of hybrids] we offer, I think it’s probably one of the best in the industry. Especially if you go vehicle-by-vehicle in our range, there is usually a hybrid option,” he said.
“Falling behind? I don’t think so,” McGregor said. “I know that our parent company is keeping track with technological advancements and the investment that goes into R&D, and some of the joint ventures you’ve seen being announced talk about the possibility of what might happen in the future.”
Still, even without confirmation, it seems clear which path a Lexus LS hybrid would take. Sharing its platform with the LC coupe means that, on the face of it, the LC 500h‘s 3.5-litre V6 petrol-electric option ought to be a direct fit.
The new LS’s market launch is some way off, however, with an Australian launch not set to occur until sometime in 2018 – a hybrid option may yet appear before then.