Lexus to offer hybrid version of LS luxury sedan

January 16, 2017

When Lexus took the wraps off of its revamped flagship last week at the Detroit auto show, it did so without mentioning anything about a hybrid version—something that the brand has become associated with.

It turns out that the brand's radio silence was hiding something. Close scrutiny of one of the interior photos the brand released reveals an EV Mode switch. That's the same switch used on several Toyota and Lexus models. On other hybrids, the EV Mode switch keeps the vehicle in fully electric operation, meaning the gasoline engine that forms half of its powertrain is shut off entirely. This allows drivers to tap into electric-only driving when they see fit.

MORE: Read our preview of the 2018 Lexus LS

In Detroit last week, the only LS the brand showed off was the LS 500, which uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 to crank out a prodigious 415 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. That model will serve as the successor to the outgoing, V-8-powered LS 460. 

2018 Lexus LS, 2017 Detroit auto show

2018 Lexus LS, 2017 Detroit auto show

Lexus officials made no mention of a replacement for the LS 600h hybrid it offered until recently. 

DON'T MISS: Our roundup of the important new car debuts in Detroit

Just what could we expect from another LS hybrid? A safe bet is to take a look at the powertrain in the LC 500h coupe that's set to be sold in Europe. That model features a 354 hp, non-turbo version of the 3.5-liter V-6. It may be down on power to the LS 500's V-6, but the LC 500h is dripping with technology—it combines both a continuously variable transmission with a conventional automatic to supply power to the rear wheels. 

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