Originally Posted by xcel
Toyota could do some damage with the next gen HSD drivetrain in one but I doubt they did much more then bolt a slightly modded HH or RXhs AWD HSD into it?
That's likely exactly what they did (although to your point, the LS *should* get the cutting-edge technology, considering its segment (and the fact that the 'expected' price is - get this - $125,000))
It used to be that the LS was priced at 60% of an S-Class. Then it became 80%. Now it's at parity. They're probably not ready with HSD-II yet, to be honest, and they won't beta it in their flagship (nor should they).
The Lexus strategy WRT hybrids, as I'm sure you know, but I will state for the uninitiated, is not 'substantial' improvement in FE - rather, it's 'good' improvement (relatively speaking), with improved performance. TMC figures if you're wanting 'substantial' improvement, FE-wise, you're going to be looking at Toyota.
While I'd agree that it's not the best thing for us globally, it makes sense from a marketing standpoint. Why does one buy a Lexus, when a Toyota product using many of the same underpinnings (ie; Camry / ES) does just as fine a job getting you from point A-B ? Lexus is in a market segment where conspicuous consumption is expected, not frowned upon. For these buyers, saving a few bucks at the pump (soon to be substantial bucks ?) isn't the main goal. It's image. And the $13-16K delta between the non-HSD equipped RX and the equipped one exemplifies this, IMO. To me, that's a lot of $ for that little HSD (or, LHD) badge on the rear. But, that's just me (and being a former AH owner, I'm hoping I don't come across as hypocritical, nor do I intend to insult Lexus hybrid drivers by their purchase. Their actions, if they make no effort to maximize their investment in hybrid technologies, *will* earn my scorn, because their net effect will be to stigmatize the technology as frivolous and elitist, and that's not what we need as a society right now, w/ regard to our global energy needs).
What will the real-world FE of this car be ? This is going to be a pretty heavy car, so it'll be interesting to see what the published figures are. The higher the delta between the LS460/500 and this car, the more howling you'll hear from their most prized customers. Especially from those who just buy the car for the 'bling' factor without doing the research behind the car first. There's a lot of blissfully ignorant rich people out there
As an aside, I'm disappointed to see that Lexus is still aping others' styling (some see elements of S-Class in this version; I'm noting BMW-like lines with every new Lexus auto coming out these days). At this point, Lexus is poised, believe it or not, to actually take the leadership role in the ultra-luxury segment. Part of that leadership should extend to the styling studio.