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Lexus Debuts LS 600h L

by Mike Meredith

Toyota's premium brand launches a hybrid version of its flagship sedan.


Lexus presented the 2008 LS 600h L on April 12 during the Press Preview at the 2006 New York Auto Show, describing the car as an important chapter in the evolution and elevation of the Lexus flagship model.
The 2008 LS 600h L will be the first luxury hybrid sedan to feature a full-hybrid V8 powertrain, combining an all-new 5.0-liter gasoline engine with large, high-output electric motors and a newly designed large-capacity battery pack. The new hybrid powertrain will be named Lexus Hybrid Drive and the name will be used for all Lexus hybrid models.

Power is delivered through a new full-time all-wheel-drive system and a new dual-stage electronically controlled continuously variable transmission for seamless acceleration. The Lexus Hybrid Drive will deliver a new level of balance between environmental efficiency and performance, with a peak power rating of more than 430 horsepower.

Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager Bob Carter said the LS 600h L delivers power and performance equivalent to a modern 12-cylinder engine in conjunction with best-in-class V8 fuel efficiency. The LS 600h L is expected to deliver combined fuel economy ratings equal to—or even better than—V6 all-wheel-drive luxury sedans.

The LS 600h L is expected to set a new standard for quietness in the luxury sedan class because of the noise, vibration and harshness improvements that result from the hybrid drivetrain.

The hybrid model will also include a new Advanced Pre-Collision System (APCS) designed to detect pedestrians in the vehicle path, as well as inanimate objects. Lexus' next-generation Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System (VDIM) is standard on all LS models, and air suspension and Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) is standard on the LS 600h L and optional on other LS trims.

The all-new LS, including the LS 600h L, is the latest Lexus vehicle with styling based on the L-finesse design direction that seeks to add more style and performance to the Lexus lineup. The L-finesse design philosophy is based on creating a balance of contrasting elements, and the LS strives to achieve this balance while incorporating elements such as a pulled-back hood, a low stance and elegantly sculpted body lines.

The LS 600h L will be offered exclusively as a long-wheelbase model in the U.S., with that wheelbase delivering nearly 5 inches of additional legroom for rear-seat passengers.

High-tech amenities for the 2008 Lexus LS 600h L include voice-activated hard disk drive Navigation with Bluetooth technology and XM Radio real-time traffic, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a 9-inch drop-down screen, and a specially developed 19-speaker 45-watt Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound audio system. The LS 600h L is the world's first vehicle to be equipped with LED headlights for nighttime and low-beam use.

The LS 600h L will be on sale in the U.S. about six months after the new LS 460, which goes on sale in October 2006.

Lexus LS 600h with dual stage CVT
 

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Toyota has always used a planetary gear type CVT instead of the belt type - this can handle much more horsepower than the belt type.
 

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What's the deal with "Dual Stage"? How is that different than normal?
 

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Corin said:
What's the deal with "Dual Stage"? How is that different than normal?
Not sure, but the upcoming Altima CVT will have three modes. The Normal and Sport modes we've always had, and an Economy mode. I would expect the Altima's CVT to have the manual option in the V6 version, but then I've always thought it defeated the purpose of a CVT to have a manual shift.

Proud of my unique Ds SE Murano.
 

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Duel CVT may mean two CVT's in series. In that way each CVT can have relatively low ratio, which is easy to do. Combaining two in series gives high overall ratioo. Just speculation.
 

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I'm guessing they mean dual-stage input.

Since the Lexus LS 600h is a hybrid, it has two forms of motive power- a V-8 engine and an electric motor. I am betting each stage represents the dual power inputs - IC engine and the electric motor.

-njjoe
 

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njjoe

you could be right. Still in my opinion "dual stage" means "two stages". In this case it would mean two CVT is series. But who know what marketing gurus created! Anything is possible.

It seems however, that CVT's are becoming popular.
 

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WrenchGremlin-

Nice technology. The Torotrak IVT is pretty slick. I am sure we'll see that in a car in the not too distant future.

-njjoe
 

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After a bit of surfing I was able to determine "dual-stage" most likely refers to the effects of the Ravigneaux gearset that is incorporated into the Lexus CVT transmission. This particular gear set provides two output ratios from a single input.

The following is from a Road & Track review of the 2007 Lexus GS 450h (another Lexus hybrid with a CVT):
New to the GS 450h is a Ravigneaux gearset which uses its planetary arrays in a manner immediately obvious to automatic transmission experts but a bit mysterious to everyone else. What you should care about is that it offers two speed ranges for the electric power.

The 450h uses a 292 HP V-6 and an electric motor rated at 197 HP for a grand total of 489 HP!! I am assuming the power from the electric motor is applied downstream of the CVT.

Maybe? Maybe not.

-njjoe
 

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Interesting debate...
Dual CVT or not, can someone let me know MO with 1000HP Hybrid.
I'll take em any day...haha~


Nizmo
 

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Njjoe

So there are “two” stages….:)

It is very interesting to see so many concepts around CVT. Add to it 6 and 7 gears “conventional” automatic transmissions and here you have it. Well too many choices and all confusing. In a few years industry is going to sort it out. Only a few will remain standing.

Once you drive CVT (or IVT or whatever marketing, branding gurus are going to name it) there is no way going back to a “conventional” tranny.

Nismo,

1000HP Murano – how would you transfer all this power to the ground? I guess you would need to own a tire factory
:2: :2:
 

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Kris said:
Njjoe
Once you drive CVT (or IVT or whatever marketing, branding gurus are going to name it) there is no way going back to a “conventional” tranny.
No kidding! After a year, I'm still very impressed with the CVT. I will never own a conventional automatic. And I stand by my prediction that I made a year ago that we'll see fewer and fewer "conventional" automatics and more and more CVTs.

I let a co-worker drive my MO the other day because he was curious about how it handles (was impressed that I was flying around corners so fast in an SUV). His first comment, after coming out of the parking lot: "um..... why isn't it shifting?" My response was: "Well, you're going faster and faster, but the RPMs are staying constant... I believe that means it IS shifting!" :)
 

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Kris

I whole heartedly agree - a 1000HP Murano AWD tire muncher would be great.. I just wonder at what speed the transfercase would be programmed to cut off at? 1.5 MPH? :banghead:
 

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The Toyota CVT is nothing like any Nissan design (whether we consider the belt type Xtronic in the MO or the Toroidal CVT used in some JDM Nissans) - the Toyota CVT actually contains a clever arrangement of planetary gears (not unlike a traditional automatic transmission) that have many steppings and mesh ratios to give the equivalent of a CVT transmission.

As suggested above, the Lexus dual mode CVT might involve two such units in tandem to give an even wider range of ratios and greater gear reduction.

The reason why we do not get the Nissan Toroidal CVT in the US is because apparently it doesn't function too well in extreme cold.
 

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Eric L. said:
The reason why we do not get the Nissan Toroidal CVT in the US is because apparently it doesn't function too well in extreme cold.
What about Florida? Arizona? etc. :D
 

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Kris said:


What about Florida? Arizona? etc. :D
If ever they made a Murano "Grip" or "Homer" special edition, it would have the toroidal CVT. :D :D :D
 

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Ye, but Homer would loose the "free" rattles go has gotten with his Murano! So I am not sure if it would be such a good "deal" :D
 

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Yeah, I would hate to give up on my rattles.
After all when you pay $30,000 for a rattle. you kinda grow attached.......

Seriously, unless the new CVTs can dig off the line, I will search for another answer.
While I enjoy the smoothness, I get tired of being whipped at every light by Yet Another Civic.

But, current plans call for me to pilot this car for another 3 years.
It has been a real good car for the past two years. (And 2 out of 3 ain't bad. Certainly right up there with GM........... ;) )

Homer
 

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Homer,

I had the same impression about Murano being sluggish off the line. I always thought FX was much quicker. Then I tested them both – and guess what, they are dead even!

In my opinion Murano is quite quick off the line. We just feel, because of CVT, that we do not accelerate that quickly. Also, the gas pedal has a long travel. I found that when I do press quickly, and quite long (almost fully) I keep up with other cars easily, even though I do not really feel the acceleration.

I give to you, however, that a Murano with Normal tranny would most likely accelerate quicker 0 – 30mph.

I guess the state of technology is such that we cannot have both world, at least not in Murano.
 
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