Fleet News

Lexus LS600h L

Lexus
BIK List Price
£89,955
Lexus LS BIK list price
BIK Percentage
33%
Lexus LS BIK Percent
CO2
219g/km
Lexus LS CO2
Combined MPG
30.4
Lexus LS MPG

Review

Discuss: is a hybrid engine best used to make a large inefficient engine more efficient, or should it be used to make a smaller, already efficient engine very efficient?

Within the Toyota Lexus group, the approach has been two-fold: Toyota is using hybrids in its Prius and Auris cars to make models that would already be pretty efficient extremely frugal.

Lexus, meanwhile, is putting hybrids into its massive SUVs and executive carriers that, as petrols, would be gas guzzlers but as hybrids are relatively economical.

Note the words ‘as petrols’. Stick a powerful diesel into an LS600h rival and you can expect efficiency in the mid-30s and CO2 around 200g/km. The LS600h? 30.4mpg and 218g/km.

The other issue with the LS600h is its running costs. The car has always been excluded from the Fleet News Awards at an early stage because its running costs are so much higher than its rivals.

OK, so this is partly down to the high P11D price explained by Lexus’s preoccupation with offering exceptional levels of specification on the £89,955 LWB model (no options available).

But can any fleet justify 113.87ppm over four years/80,000 miles when the (lower equipped) A8 4.2 LWB diesel (204g/km, 36.2mpg) offers 86.81ppm? And if image rather than out-and-out grunt is your preference, what about the BMW 730d LWB (180g/km, 40.9mpg) at 76.02ppm over four years/80,000 miles?

To be fair, when the LS hybrid was conceived, there was probably a stronger presence among businesses and chauffeur fleets of 12-cylinder petrol luxury saloons (the versions that the V8 + electric motor Lexus is targeting), than there is now in these more austere times, where six-cylinder diesels have increased their stranglehold on the luxury sector.

Set aside concerns over running costs and the perception of the LS600h as hybrid’s answer to the eco-friendly luxo-barge, and the car is very capable.

It’s a Lexus so you can be sure of maintenance-free motoring – something not always taken into consideration by the SMR figures. Neither are the lower tyre and brake costs thanks to the hybrid technology and eco-tweaks. Each should contribute to a lower running cost total than the official figures suggest.

The LS600h is roomy with class-leading levels of comfort. The interior focus is on a wood and leather combination for the trim while the controls still hark from an era where knobs and switches rule over the iDrive and MMI interfaces of the BMWs and Audis, although the touchscreen sat-nav helps to bring the car into the modern age.

The engine is generally refined and the car is surprisingly agile when required, although the ability to toast the twisty bits will not be the clincher on buyers’ lists.

We didn’t have the relaxation pack on our test car – a £9,500 extra (treated by Lexus as a separate model) – which, if specified, gives rear seat occupants Maybach levels of comfort and space on one side of the rear compartment at a fraction of the price.

Fuel costs
LS looks good compared to petrol rivals, but can't match diesel luxury saloons for fuel costs.
CO2 emissions
The LS is edging ever closer to the maximum 35% BIK tax bracket, while the latest diesel luxury saloons are still comfortably below.
Running costs
Models registered from 2011 no longer qualify for the discount on the London Congestion Charge that used to be available to any alternative fuel vehicle. A discount in BIK tax that used to be available for hybrid cars was also eliminated in April 2011, and add to that the depreciation that comes with a £90,000 price tag, and it doesn't look good on the balance sheet.
Residual values
Retains about 20% of its value after four years/80,000 miles, a factor that is exacerbated by its high list price. However rival £90k cars would be no better, and at least the Lexus has features as standard that you'd often have to pay extra for on other cars.
Driver appeal
Usually more appealing for the rear-seat passengers than the driver, the LS provides a supreme experience for anyone being driven around, but is also enjoyable for those behind the wheel.
FN Verdict
A car with a long list of talent, cost factors are the biggest obstacles for the LS, with some advantages eroded further by congestion charge and tax changes. It seems 2011 is the year that the LS600h stopped making sense for fleets.
Top Speed
155mph
Lexus LS Top Speed
VED band
N/A
Lexus LS Ved
Fuel Type
Hybrid
Lexus LS Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : £25,025
4 Year 80k : £18,750
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : 134.59
4 Year 80k : 116.05

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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