Flash Drive: 2008 Lexus LS 600h
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The original slogan was “the relentless pursuit of perfection,” and almost 20 years later, it appears Lexus has not forgotten. Conservative styling is what I expected from Lexus for its top-of-the-line LS, but the dual exhausts look fantastic — a reminder that the hybrid-assisted 5.0-liter V8 is no slug. From inside, the sensation of speed is lost. It’s roomy front and back, the seats are comfortable and there are buttons galore. There are so many features and functions in this car that the driver and passenger can literally spend hours trying to figure out what button does what. And once you’re done in the front, just hop in the back and you’ll find more electronic comforts. The LS 600h made me feel like a million bucks. But for over $100,000, it better. — Johnny Pak
The Lexus LS 600h is a luxurious and technological tour de force, surrounding the occupants with top-quality materials and high-tech gadgets. Soft leather covers not only the seats but the top of the dash and door panels as well. But the most lavish feature of the LS 600h is the hybrid drive system, allowing the LS to deliver overall combined fuel economy of 19 mpg — an impressive figure for a vehicle of this size and power. Nits are few, but some drivers will find that the telescoping wheel doesn’t extend far enough once the seat has been adjusted for proper legroom. Unfortunately, the coddling treatment extends to the steering as well, which is light, numb, and devoid of any feedback. The sport setting for the adjustable suspension increases steering effort, but don’t be fooled — it does not transform the LS 600h into a sport sedan. — Mike Meredith
Lexus certainly knows how to build a luxury car. With a car like the LS 600h, it would be hard to decide which would be better: to get behind the wheel or relax in the back. Lounging in the rear is the ultimate in comfort — recline the seat, stretch your legs out, adjust the temp and put your favorite movie on the DVD player. But in the front, you get to press on the accelerator that makes this massive car take off like a horse that’s been kicked in the hind quarters. Handling and braking were surprisingly good for a car of this size, which I happily discovered when an SUV decided it wanted my spot on the road. Controls are relatively clear, but with more than 100 buttons and switches (yes, I counted), the technology seems a bit excessive. One of the most luxurious cars on the road, but it should be with a price starting at $104,000. — Perry Stern
A near-perfect “town car,” the LS does isolation remarkably well. In the vault that is the LS interior, from supremely comfy leather perches, the messy outside world passes by hushed to near silent-film levels. The suspension’s comfort mode creates a ride so soft, the interior is so cosseting, you’ll want to be driven around in your slippers. The hybrid powertrain allows you to glide silently away from corporate headquarters, and provides unmatched in-town efficiency. While snarled in mid-town traffic, it’s all electric baby, and nothing in this class can touch the LS-h for minimized environmental impact. For those who want to drive themselves, you’ll find the isolation also applies to the chassis and steering. Though there is a sport suspension mode for those who wish to hustle this opulent, all-wheel-drive capsule — and V12-levels of thrust are at your beck and call — driving enthusiasts will want to look elsewhere. — Paul Seredynski