WSJ Reviews the Lexus LS 600hL

Lexus LS 600hL

The Wall Street Journal’s review of the Lexus LS 600hL isn’t so much a condemnation of the car, but rather the hybrid technology that spawned it:

The biggest con running in the auto industry right now is the notion that hybrids represent some sort of quantum leap in green transportation. Not only is this patently untrue — hybrid technology is actually decades old — but it shamelessly plays to the hypocrisy of our society.

Cost-benefit analysis clearly doesn’t figure into the [LS 600hL’s] allure. We did the math: The hybrid version will save its owner enough on gas to break even after only 2.1 million miles. Keeping with Toyota’s brand strategy for its Lexus division hybrids, the LS 600h L deploys its technology as a badge of exclusivity rather than environmentalism, with the sort of “Why? Because we can!” bravado that’s endemic among luxury-car brands.

I can understand criticism of the trunk space, and the so-so gas mileage is certainly a point for debate, but using the LS 600hL as a conduit for criticism of an entire industry is something else entirely.

Another thing, why is it that the LS 600hL has to compare against the LS 460, rather than against its competitors? Does every Mercedes S600 review focus on the $60,000 (!!!) price difference between it and the S550? I almost think that Lexus would have gotten a more positive response if they had released a V12 LS, rather than using a V8/hybrid combo that puts out comparable numbers.



  1. Yes, to use LS 600hs to bash all of hybrids demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the different mission profiles of each hybrid vehicle, and a straw man argument.

  2. I agree on you last statement; LS460 and LS600 are based on the same V8 engine and performance and the LS600 offers only 15% more power that can’t be covert into a benefit through its high weight. Knowing this it is no wonder that also the other tests I have read they compare LS- with each other and not with competition. Competition offer more difference like the S550 and S600 with a V8 and V12-Biturbo with 120hp and 50% more torque.
    Furthermore the LS600 can’t hold up with the V12 or V8 of the competition, again through its high weight. In Germany they compared the LS600h, with BMW750i, S500 (called S550 in the US):
    And because of the smaller engines and lower weight it was an easy win for the germans in driveability, comfort, and fuel consumption. When they compared it with the V8-diesels engined BMW, Audi and MB, the LS600h it looks better:
    But then the price is too high, and the fuwl consumption still too high, especially when you keep in mind that diesel is around 20-30% cheaper per gallon here in Europe.
    Again I think that Lexus set a milestone with this car, unfortunatly as first-comer it is hard & brave at the same time to do this between benchmarks branches that have 300 years of experience! and Lexus will learn that new features are secondairy and that only a V12 will generates real a premium beanchmark status, so lets hope for a V12 hybrid or a V8-Diesel Hybrid, that really makes chance to compete and set a new standard. smile

  3. Excellent points, Roland.  If Lexus can build a V12 hybrid or something that is not a gas guzzler, that would be pretty cool.

  4. I’m sure Lexus must have considered a V12 hybrid, I wonder if it was dropped due to technical complexity.

    It’s been reported that the LF-A will have a V8 hybrid option as well, but after the reaction to the LS 600hL, I wonder if Lexus should reconsider.

  5. y not consider it?i mean cmon, who cares if it gets 24mpg?i dont see them complaining about the S65 AMG’s mileage.why?its a precious little Gerrrrrrman car.pfft.mercedes has hybrids that they are too ashamed of to call hybrids so they call it “blue-tec”.BMW has no hybrids but they never hate on makes me sick to see stupid people hate on Lexus because it came out 20 years ago and it spanks mercedes and bmw hard.