Used 2015 Lexus LS 600h L Review

Edmunds expert review

Lavish, pricey and powerful, the 2015 Lexus LS 600h L is the ultimate expression of Lexus luxury. If it's a fuel-efficient hybrid luxury sedan you want, however, you'll likely be disappointed.




What's new for 2015

The 2015 Lexus LS 600h L's navigation system features new software this year, and there's now a customizable home screen and Slacker Internet radio. Also new for 2015 is Lexus Enform Remote app compatibility, enabling owners to control some functions through their smartphones. Finally, the rearview camera gains dynamic grid lines to assist you when parking this large hybrid sedan.

Vehicle overview

Although it's the premier model of the Lexus LS lineup, the 2015 LS 600h L doesn't quite deliver on its promise of greatness. Indeed, this hybrid luxury sedan is the LS with the most power, the most features and the best fuel economy, but the price premium is astronomical and the efficiency gains are minimal.

To put a finer point on it, the 2015 Lexus LS 600h L beats the standard, rear-drive LS 460 L (which is reviewed separately) by only 1 mpg in the EPA's combined fuel economy ratings. Allowing for fluctuating fuel prices and varied driving habits, it would take you decades, even centuries to recoup the higher up-front cost of buying the hybrid LS sedan. Adding insult to injury, the LS 600h L is also slower than the standard LS 460, as its power gains are offset by the extra weight of its battery pack and other hybrid components.

That's not to say that the LS 600h L isn't a wonderful place to spend time, though. The cabin is opulently appointed and meticulously assembled. The leather is supple, the wood trim warm and the balance of the interior materials are of world-class quality. As you'd expect, the LS 600h L is also very well equipped, and buyers can opt for an Executive Class seating package with reclining rear seats, a right-side rear ottoman and a rear DVD entertainment system. Thusly outfitted, the right rear position is more of a throne than a seat. However, you can get all of these features in the LS 460 as well, and if technology features are really what you're after, you'll find that ultraluxury sedans like the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class surpass Lexus in this regard.

Moreover, if you're looking for serious fuel economy in a large luxury sedan, there are a number of better choices. The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid (a plug-in hybrid), the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 and the diesel-powered Audi A8 L TDI all have far superior mpg ratings. The all-electric Tesla Model S is also quite compelling so long as you're willing to deal with the compromises that come with EV ownership. All of these sedans are quite expensive as well, but if you really want to reduce your fuel consumption, they'll take you further toward that goal than the 2015 Lexus LS 600h L.




Trim levels & features

The 2015 Lexus LS 600h L is a four- or five-passenger full-size hybrid luxury sedan based on the LS 460. Unlike the LS 460, however, it is offered only in one long-wheelbase body style, thus the L at the end of the name, and it comes exclusively with all-wheel drive. Only one very well-appointed trim level is available. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, air suspension with adjustable shock absorber damping, variable-gear-ratio steering, a sunroof, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams and headlamp washers, LED running lights, LED foglights, heated mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a power trunk lid, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview and exterior mirrors, a blind spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alerts and an automatic parallel parking system.

Inside you'll also get four-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, leather upholstery, a 12-way power-adjustable driver seat with four-way lumbar adjustment, a 10-way front passenger seat with two-way lumbar, driver seat memory, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, power-reclining rear seats with massage functions, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with power tilt-and-telescoping adjustments, wood trim, power rear sunshades and a rear-seat refrigerator.

Standard electronics features include a navigation system with a 12.3-inch display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Lexus Safety Connect emergency communications, the Lexus Enform suite of smartphone-integrated apps (now with Enform Remote smartphone control for compatible Apple and Android devices) and the Siri Eyes Free interface (which provides additional voice control functionality for iPhones). The standard 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system comes with a six-disc CD changer, HD and satellite radio, USB/iPod integration and rear-seat audio controls.

Optionally you can add the Executive Class package, which reduces seating capacity to four but adds infrared cabin temperature sensors, additional leather interior trim, a rear-seat DVD/Blu-ray entertainment system and a right rear seat with a power ottoman, additional massage functions and a knee airbag. Also available are two adaptive cruise control systems, one paired with a pre-collision system and one that adds a more advanced forward collision avoidance system with a driver attention monitor along with a lane departure warning and prevention system.



Performance & mpg

The 2015 Lexus LS 600h L uses a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 389 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque mated to two electric motor/generators. One of the motors acts as a primary generator and engine starter, while the other drives the rear wheels and produces power through regenerative braking. Combined, the entire system has an output of 438 hp. All of this power is routed to an all-wheel-drive system via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has manual shift capability with eight preset gear ratios.

In Edmunds testing, the LS 600h L reached 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, a slow time for a luxury sedan with this much power on tap. Fuel economy is barely better than that of the regular LS 460, as the EPA rates the hybrid LS at 20 mpg combined (19 city/23 highway).

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2015 Lexus LS 600h L include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, a blind spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alerts, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, a rearview camera and Lexus' Safety Connect emergency telematics.

The optional adaptive cruise control system includes a pre-collision system that preps various vehicle systems when it detects a possible collision. Sold as a separate option is the more sophisticated Advanced Pre-Collision system, which includes a driver attention monitor and can automatically initiate braking to help avert forward collisions. This option also includes a lane departure warning and prevention system. The Executive Class package also adds a knee airbag for the rear ottoman.

In Edmunds testing, an LS 600h L stopped from 60 mph in 126 feet, which is a long braking distance for an elite luxury sedan but understandable given that this car weighs over 5,400 pounds (more than many SUVs). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the LS the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash test and a "Good" rating for the ability of the driver seat/head restraint to provide whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

Initial propulsion from a stop in the 2015 Lexus LS 600h L is supplied by the electric motors, resulting in eerily silent acceleration. Even when the 5.0-liter V8 engine starts up, it's hard-pressed to grab center stage, as the LS hybrid's meticulously sound-proofed cabin remains blissfully quiet at highway speeds, regardless of the road surface.

The LS 600h L offers four driver-selectable settings for its suspension, varying between Comfort and Sport+. In Comfort mode, the ride is quite soft, while the sportier modes attempt to provide more control when navigating turns. However, this is an exceptionally heavy car, and if you start making big demands, you'll find that the hybrid LS responds with the haste of a cruise ship. The steering, at least, is precise and light on effort, making the car pretty easy to park.

Interior

As the flagship of the Lexus lineup, the LS 600h L offers abundant luxury. The standard semi-aniline leather on the seats is the automaker's best, and the simulated suede headliner looks rich and is soft to the touch. The optional Executive Class package brings even more leather into the cabin, while offering the right rear passenger his own ottoman. Rich, grain-matched wood trim is also plentiful, giving the interior a traditional luxury car feel. Particularly striking is the available black interior treatment with bamboo wood trim.

The Remote Touch electronics interface is a part of the car's technology array. It's a mouselike device that allows the user to navigate among a variety of function icons on a horizontally oriented, 12.3-inch display at the top of the dashboard. However useful Remote Touch is for integrating basic tasks and smartphone applications, it ultimately draws too much attention away from the road. Cursor control with the Remote Touch controller is wobbly and imprecise, making audio and navigation selections difficult when you're on the move. Other companies use different solutions for their technology interface systems, and in particular, we prefer BMW's iDrive. If you're planning to buy an LS 600h L, Remote Touch should be tested out thoroughly at a dealership.

Cargo space is at a premium in the hybrid LS. The separate rear climate control system, onboard refrigerator and hybrid system components drop trunk capacity to a mere 13 cubic feet compared with the standard LS 460's generous 18 cubes.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.