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Lexus has unveiled the LS600h L, "a performance hybrid version of its new flagship sedan" at the 2006 New York International Auto Show. Scheduled to arrive in Spring 2007, it will be the world's first vehicle of any class or category to feature a full hybrid V8 powertrain.
The LS 600h will combine an all-new five-litre V8 gas engine with combined massive, high-output electric motors and a newly designed large-capacity battery pack. It will deliver a peak, combined output of more than 430 horsepower. As a SULEV-rated (Super Low Emissions) vehicle, LS600h is estimated to produce just 20 per cent of the smog-forming emissions of a conventional five-litre V8. Power is delivered to the wheels via a 2-stange ECVT transmission. It also has the first LED front headlights of any production vehicle.
To distribute this immense power, a new full-time all-wheel-drive system is utilized for superior handling control. The LS 600h L also employs a newly developed dual-stage electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission. This combination results in impressive power and seamless acceleration.
The LS hybrid is expected to carry a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) rating. A SULEV rating means the LS 600h L has nearly 70-percent cleaner emissions than the "cleanest" of its competitors.
"It is fair to say that there is nothing on the road, or on the drawing board, that comes close to delivering such a formerly contradictory combination of jaw-dropping engine performance, fuel efficiency and clean emissions," Carter said.
Owing to the inherent noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) improvements offered by its hybrid powertrain, the LS 600h L is designed to set a new standard for silent running in the prestige-luxury sedan class. The depth and density of cabin quietness in the LS 600h L required extensive re-engineering of accessory motors and switches.
With "quiet-ride" ranking as one of the top five reasons for purchase of prestige-luxury vehicles, especially among current LS owners, the LS 600h L is well-situated in its class and poised to please the exacting luxury-car buyer. Its NVH levels are about half that found in conventional cars, making the hybrid LS one of the quietest automobiles ever built, if not the quietest.
Coinciding with the launch of the hybrid model is a newly developed, Advanced Pre-Collision System (APCS) that is like nothing ever before offered by Lexus. One element of APCS is a new system designed to help detect pedestrians in the vehicle?s path.
Two small cameras mounted at the front of the car, in conjunction with millimeter-wave radar, are sensitive enough to detect not just large metal obstructions such as cars but also smaller nonmetallic objects, such as humans.
A third camera, mounted on the steering column, monitors the orientation of the driver?s face. If the camera sees that the driver is not looking directly ahead for a few seconds or more, and if an obstacle is detected ahead, then it alerts the driver first with a warning chime and a flashing light. As the car gets closer to the obstacle, the system can begin to gently apply the brakes on its own. To assist the driver in maneuvering around the obstacle, the system reprograms the steering ratio, amplifying the intensity and quickness of the steering response.While all of this is happening, the system automatically cinches up the passenger restraints and prepares the brake system to respond with full force when activated by the driver in anticipation of a possible impact.
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