2012 Lexus LS Hybrid


2012 Lexus LS Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Lexus LS Hybrid was new.


Performance: 7.7

The 2012 Lexus LS Hybrid uses its electric motors to provide more power and better fuel economy than what its engine could manage alone, but some reviewers say that the LS Hybrid missed its mark. While most are impressed with the LS Hybrid’s powerful engine and its ultra-smooth, quiet ride, some test drivers say this hybrid flagship’s small increase in fuel economy is not worth its high price.

Additionally, reviewers say that shoppers who want athletic handling will find that the LS Hybrid comes up short. Its adjustable air suspension soaks up the smallest road imperfections with ease, but can’t compete with cars like the BMW 7-Series Hybrid or the Porsche Panamera when the road gets twisty.

  • "The steering is light though direct, and the turning circle is impressively tight. Steering feel is quick at low speeds for easy parking-lot maneuvering; it firms up nicely at highway speeds. LS is no sport sedan, however." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Despite its green credentials the resulting efficiency barely moves the needle, delivering 19 city and 23 highway." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Lexus claims that the … LS 600h L will perform at the level of a V12-powered premium luxury sedan while delivering the fuel economy of a V8. In reality, the Lexus trails behind the 12-cylinder competition by a significant margin and offers little fuel economy benefit compared to the regular gas-only LS." -- Edmunds 
  • "Blends luxury, performance and ecologically efficient innovations to make a unique luxury car." -- New Car Test Drive

Acceleration and Power

A 5.0-liter V8 engine and two electric motors both live under the LS Hybrid’s hood, producing a total of 438 horsepower. That gives the LS 600h 58 more horses than the non-hybrid Lexus LS and 143 more than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid, though the BMW 7-Series Hybrid is more powerful at 455 horsepower. Reviewer opinion on the LS Hybrid’s power is mixed. Many say that it accelerates quietly and effortlessly, though a few critics comment that the LS Hybrid does not deliver the winning combination of power and fuel economy that could make it a serious contender among hybrid super luxury cars.

The LS Hybrid also features all-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission. Few reviewers have commented on either system, although some say that they like the smooth acceleration provided by the LS Hybrid’s transmission. Reviewers do note, however, that the LS 600h switches seamlessly between gas and electric power.

According to the EPA, the 2012 LS 600h L gets 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Although those estimates were competitive a few years ago, newer super luxury cars, such as the Mercedes S350 Bluetec and Porsche Panamera Hybrid, deliver better fuel economy.

  • "Hybrid 600h models are heavier than conventional LS models, so they are only slightly quicker 0-60 mph. The gas/electric drivetrain calls little attention to itself." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The LS 600h L has an EPA-estimated combined average of 20 mpg, just 1 mpg ahead of the LS 460 L's 19 mpg combined figure." -- Edmunds 
  • "We aren't completely sold on this powertrain. It doesn't have the power to take on the V-12s, and its mpg rating, while better than its 12-cylinder-powered foils, isn't exactly stellar considering its hybrid credentials." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Deceptively fast. When you floor the gas pedal, the tach needle flicks almost instantly at the bidding of the continuously variable transmission to 6000 or more rpm, a point at which the new 5.0-liter V-8 pumps out about 389 horsepower." -- Car and Driver
  • "The full-hybrid drive system delivers performance on a par with a 6-liter V12 engine, yet with mileage comparable to a V6 powered sedan." -- New Car Test Drive

Handling and Braking

The 2012 Lexus LS Hybrid features an adjustable air suspension that offers Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. However, reviewers say that even when the suspension is in Sport mode, the LS 600h L can’t match the nimble handling of cars like the BMW 7-Series Hybrid. Although it’s not the most agile, the LS Hybrid has an extremely quiet ride and a suspension that soaks up even the slightest road imperfections. If you prioritize a comfortable ride over athletic handling, the LS Hybrid is a very good choice.

  • "The base suspension permits marked body lean, as does the air suspension's Comfort setting. Its Sport mode is slightly sharper overall." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The supple suspension easily absorbs any road imperfections, while the sound insulation isolates all occupants from the world outside." -- Edmunds
  • "At low speeds, steering is light and responsive, and the turning radius is surprisingly short for a car in this class." -- New Car Test Drive

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