Could offer a V6 hybrid engine.
Just a couple of days after reports surfaced that Lexus trademarked the "LS500h" nameplate for Europe, a scan of a Japanese magazine shows a covered-up prototype of the Lexus flagship in the wild. The magazine calls it the LC500h, which is also another nameplate trademarked by the Japanese brand for markets like Canada, U.S. and Australia late last year.
The car revealed is clearly the current generation Lexus LS limo, although the front and rear ends appear to be covered up, which suggests that it's undergoing a facelift for next year. If so, expect an aggressive spindle grille flanked by sleeker LED headlamps with "L-shaped" DRL's and a sporty lower fascia. While the side remains relatively unchanged, the rear end could get a sleek pair of LED lamps.
Changes to the inside could be limited, given that the interior had already underwent a major revision in the MY2013 LS. Expect upgrades such as a new Lexus Enform infotainment software, semi-autonomous driving features, more interior customization options, and an updated instrument panel.
The current model is offered in two variants: the LS 460 and LS600h. The former is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine producing 380 hp and 498 Nm of torque with an 8-speed automatic gearbox, while the latter packs a 5.0-liter V8 hybrid producing 438 hp and 520 Nm of torque with a CVT unit.
Given that Lexus trademarked the LS500h nameplate, expect another less-powerful hybrid variant that features a V6 hybrid engine (either the 3.5-liter V6 from the Lexus GS450h or a newly developed engine), which will slot between the LS460 and LS600h.
The 2017 Lexus LS (facelift) is expected to be unveiled next year, although a proper timeframe of launch hasn't been reported yet.
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