As the hybrid market continues to heat up, even luxury automakers are jumping onto the green bandwagon. As it would seem, the upper class is just as interested in fuel efficiency as the other 93 percent of the United States. The past couple years have seen several luxury hybrid autos debut to the American public. Given the fact that Toyota was the first to commit to hybrid technology, it's no wonder that its Lexus brand seems to be leading the way in this burgeoning luxury hybrid market.
Not counting specialty automakers who produce cars a couple of units at a time, the 2009 Lexus LS 600h L is the most expensive hybrid on the market. With a price tag of $106,710, the vehicle surpasses the rest of the next-generation green machines by a sum of more that $30,000 (enough left over to buy you a Toyota Prius and still have $8,000 left in gas money).
Lexus LS 600h L - The Highest Priced Hybrid
So what does all that money get you? Well, the LS 600h retains the prestige and comfort of Lexus inside and out. Classified as a full-size sedan, the LS 600h has room aplenty and a bevy of high-tech features. Standard features such as 19-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed seats, heated steering wheel, LED projector headlights, parking assist camera, keyless ignition and power door closers all help to justify the high price.
If you've got more money to burn, you can upgrade to a premium package. Additional accoutrements available include cooled rear seats (that recline as well), automatic parallel parking, 4-zone climate control, massaging right rear chair and infrared temperature sensors.
Lexus LS 600h L Hybrid Technology
Okay, all those luxury features sound nice, but this is a hybrid we're talking about - what about the fuel efficiency? For all those additional dollars, one might think you'd be feeding the LS 600h's engine with a thimble. Surprisingly, though, the most expensive hybrid on the market only musters an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
The reason for these measly figures is partly due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicle. A large gasoline engine doesn't help, either. And though the 5.0-liter V8 engine boasts 389 horsepower, the two heavy electric motors serve to greatly reduce the overall performance of the vehicle (don't expect to go from stop light to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds).
For comparison purposes, the non-hybrid Lexus LS 460 has EPA ratings of 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. That's only 2 mpg worse than the hybrid when you look at combined fuel efficiency (and BETTER if you spend most of your time on the highway). Given that the base LS 460 starts at $63,675, that's a heck of a lot of city driving before the LS 600h L becomes cost-effective. Still, if you're hell-bent on reducing your carbon footprint and you've got money to burn, then the Lexus LS 600h L may be worth looking into.
List of Most Expensive Luxury Hybrids on the Market
Of the 24 hybrid production vehicles currently on the market, only five breach the $50,000 mark. These bank-depleting hybrids are as follows:
- 2009 Lexus LS 600h L: $106,710
- 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid: $72,865
- 2009 Lexus GS 450h: $57,225
- 2009 GMC Yukon Hybrid: $51,870
- 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid: $51,405
Upcoming Luxury Hybrid Competition
While the Lexus LS 600h L easily holds the title of most expensive hybrid on the market today, that could soon change. A number of automakers have announced their intention to release luxury hybrids in the next couple of years. Some that will likely carry a steep price tag include the BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid, Porsche Cayenne Hybrid and Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHybrid.