Car Middle East has published a quasi-comparison of the Lexus LS 600hL and the upcoming Mercedes S400 Hybrid, though it reads more like a hybrid primer:
Whereas Mercedes’ mantra has been to make the S-class hybrid as green as possible, Lexus has taken a different approach with the LS600h. Here, performance is the number one priority. Think of a Lexus hybrid like a Mercedes AMG – seriously.
The electric motor is much more meaty in the Lexus than in the Mercedes, here it’s got the equivalent of 221bhp and 221lb ft of torque. Again, thanks to the instant nature of electric motor’s power delivery – it helps deliver a strong surge in acceleration from standstill or on kickdown. Unlike the Mercedes, the LS600h has an EV-mode which forces the V8 engine to stay shut off until battery charge has been depleted, making driving around town an eerily quiet affair.
While these two flagship sedans may be competing in the same market, the article acknowledges that they’re at opposite sides of the spectrum. The central difference between the two is how the hybrid tech is used—Mercedes takes the Prius route of fuel conservation, whereas Lexus uses the electric engine to boost the V8 up into V12 performance. Isn’t that a funny role reversal?
(Another interesting point is that the LS 600hL remains unavailable in the Middle East, as Lexus is still conducting tests to ensure the hybrid will stand up to the region’s extreme weather.)
[Source: Car Middle East]