When it goes on sale in the UK next summer, not only will it be the first car in the sector to feature both petrol and electric power, but it will also have a price tag in the region of £90,000 – a significant jump up from even the top-spec LS460 at £71,000.
Chief executives with a green conscience will be a key target, as it not only offers lavish luxury but also low emissions.
Andy Simpson, Lexus’ national corporate sales and remarketing manager, said: ‘We see a real opportunity in the chauffeur market with the LS600h. It’s about brand building and getting people sitting in the car. We want to become a credible alternative to the German marques.
‘There’s been a lot of interest from companies wanting to reduce their carbon emissions and the green credentials of this car give us a serious opportunity. It is luxury motoring with a conscience.’
The four-wheel drive LS600h, which will be available in standard and long wheelbase form – which gives an extra 120mm of rear legroom – is powered by a 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine with 443bhp.
With an additional electric motor, it offers, according to Lexus, the power of a 6.0-litre V12 engine. The firm estimates that the LS600h will return an average of 30mpg while emitting around 220g/km of CO2 – less than the firm’s IS250 premium upper-medium model.
With chauffeur markets a key audience, Lexus will be pushing the car’s two big selling points – as a hybrid, it is exempt from the London congestion charge and it is available with an ottoman seat option that creates two aircraft-style seats in the back.
Lexus estimates it will sell 250 LS600hs in the UK next year, rising to 350 in 2008 – half of the LS range’s total.