When Lexus posted up a news bit about its new LC 500h hybrid flagship coupe, our interest was piqued. By calling the car the “500”h we wondered if the car might be a 5-liter V8 with an added energy recapture system that added the hybrid “h.” Nope. The new flagship will be a 3.6-liter V6 engine with a new hybrid drive system.
We should have known better. Lexus likes to depart from its letter and number nomenclature to give the impression that its hybrids have some added punch. In fact, they usually do. Lexus already offers a 3.5-liter, V6 hybrid engine in its GS 450h. The GS 450h offers both the acceleration and fuel economy of V6 turbo diesel vehicles in its class, but with dramatically better green car specifications.
Lexus did not provide horsepower or any other performance metrics for its new LC 500h but did promise that its next generation Multi-Stage Hybrid System, was, “specifically designed for performance vehicles.” Lexus goes further to say that the LC 500h will offer “exhilarating performance and greater efficiency.”
One unique aspect of the new system is that it will include a 4-speed automatic gearbox mounted at the rear of the hybrid transmission. Lexus says that “adding physical gears more closely aligns engine rpm with the driver’s inputs.” Drivers will be able to control the gears of the hybrid system in “M-Mode.”