Lexus Australia have launched their flagship LS 600hL hybrid sedan which will hit showroom floors from November 19.
The new long-wheel base sedan features a sophisticated all-wheel-drive V8 hybrid system, the first application of LED low-beam headlights and the world's first anti-submarining in-seat airbag.
The hybrid system is Lexus' most powerful ever, combining their highest output petrol and electric motors to produce a combined 327kW of power.
The quad-cam V8 engine alone produces 290kW of power at 6400rpm and 520Nm, however the 650-volt electric motor adds 165kW and an instantaneous 300Nm at zero rpm.
The new LS 600hL does away with the quarter mile in just 14.3-seconds. With 9.3-litre/100km fuel economy, it provides the exhilaration of a V8 without the fuel bill to match.
The unique powertrain also features dual variable valve timing with electric inlet camshaft actuation (VVT-iE) which improves performance and fuel efficiency coupled with lower emissions and vibration.
For the lead-foot drivers also concerned with their carbon footprint, the LS 600hL is rated as a SULEV (super-low emission vehicle) in the United States, with carbon dioxide emission levels at a relatively low 219g/km.
The LS 600hL also features an Intelligent Park Assist System (IPA) - a first for any Australian vehicle. The system combines a rear parking camera and ultrasonic sensors to identify a parking space and calculate the appropriate steering angle to manoeuvre into the spot. Confused? Top Gear explain.
The level of technology is staggering. A world first anti-submarining seat airbag deploys just under the occupant's knees to reduce forward movement in an accident.
Breakthrough light-emitting diode (LED) low-beam headlamps offer daylight-quality illumination in a split second, which are integrated into Lexus' new-generation Intelligent Adaptive Front Lighting System (I-AFS), which helps illuminate bends, road junctions and parking spaces.
An advanced quad-zone climate control system features a world first thermal body temperature sensing network which constantly monitors and assesses the body temperature of rear occupants and adjusts individual climate settings for each person through any number of the vehicles 20 air conditioning outlets.
A Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound System tailored specifically for the LS 600hL's interior offers playback of a variety of media including CD, CD-R/RW, DVD, DVD Audio and DTS 5.1, as well as MP3 and MWA music files, over 19 individual speakers.
The LS 600hL will enter the market with a price tag of $240,000 for the fully specified four seat model, and $233,000 for the five-seat model. Although this still represents a price difference of over $85,000 less than its nearest similarly specified competitor.
"LS 600hL is Lexus' first long-wheelbase vehicle and as such opens up a whole new clientèle range to us. The premium market will appreciate LS 600hL for its mix of innovation and luxury."
So just what does it take to become part of this exclusive clientèle? Well mention of the BRW Rich List in the press release should be an indication. With minimum wealth required to join the rich list soaring from $130 million to $180 million, it is perhaps slightly out of reach from your average John Citizen.
Lexus Australia chief executive John Roca has said that demand in the upper luxury market for 'green' vehicles had been growing and hybrid technology was in a prime position to meet this demand.
"The LS 600hL luxury hybrid is the perfect vehicle for these customers. The LS 600hL arrives at a time when Super Affluents are looking for a vehicle that complements their values and desires. It reinforces their status while appealing to their sense of social responsibility."
Keeping the environmentally conscious rich and famous safe during their commute may sound like a daunting task, however the LS 600hL features a raft of safety considerations including a Pre-Collision safety System (PCS) designed to recognise potentially dangerous situations in advance and prepare the vehicle accordingly.
Pre-Collision Brake Assist provides maximum brake pressure the moment the driver activates the brakes in an emergency whilst Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) stiffens the dampers and helps control nose dive when pre-collision braking is engaged, and increases the responsiveness of the vehicle to steering inputs for evasive action.
Active safety includes Lexus' VDiM system which controls functions such as the electro-hydraulic Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB), ABS anti-lock brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), Electronic Power Steering (EPS) and Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) systems.
Along with all this technology, there are also 11 SRS airbags, which coupled with the aforementioned safety features, combine to achieve class-leading safety in full-frontal, offset, side and rear collisions.
The flagship Lexus will be the most exclusive of the marque's vehicles, accounting for less than one per cent of total Lexus sales in Australia.