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Published on Fri, Aug 12, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Lexus LS 600h L hybrid electric sedan

In honor of the last season of HBO’s Entourage, LA Car is presenting its series of reviews showcasing the cars and the magic of this award-winning program. First up: The finest cocoon on wheels—The ultra-quiet, ultra-luxurious hybrid-electric Lexus LS 600h L sedan. John Grafman reports. By John Grafman Ari Gold, the partner in the Miller Gold Agency—the fictional mega talent agency in HBO’s Entourage series—is hot-headed, to say the least. The torment of tongue-lashings he bestows on even his favorite employee, Lloyd, are infamous. He blames his aggressive behavior on his Israeli blood, and the flurry of obscenities that flow from his displeasure are enough to make a dockworker blush. His spouse can barely subdue his outbursts. It seems there is only one respite in his manic behavior.

Jeremy Piven as Ari, and Rex Lee as Lloyd (Claudette Barius/HBO)

LEXUS LS 600h L The Lexus LS is able to quell the most stressed agent, CEO, or average Joe. This top-of-the-line model can soften the hard edges that the world throws at us. Nearly every modern convenience is available, but this particular LS offers even a little bit more. This sedan, the LS 600h L, is the icing on the cake, featuring both the hybrid system as well as a stretched cab (hence, the “L” designation). A few seasons back, Ari came out of a restaurant, only to find that the valet confused his car with another patron with the same model. This is one of the prime detractors of the LS, it’s just a little too common, and maybe not distinct enough. Well, we can’t fault a car for being popular. This model may be conservative, but it does have nice touches that give the car its own identity. Pulling up in front of The Ivy or The W this stately car will garner its fair share of attention.


With celebrities in tow, the added four inches in length in the “L” models allow for a deluxe rear-seating environment. Better still, the nearly $11K Executive Seating Package provides a power recliner in the rear seating (right side only) with multi-functions, massager, and leg-rest along with a rear seat wood trimmed table that folds neatly away, a rear seat entertainment system with a power nine-inch flip-screen mounted to the headliner, plus wireless headsets, and rear DVD player. This option group includes four-zone climate controls, air purifier (with smog sensor), and rear infrared temperature sensor, climate control rear seats adjustable for heating and cooling. Of course, this also comes with the obligatory power seating with butterfly headrests and lumbar massage units (via remote control). After a few minutes in the back seat, it becomes vividly evident that being in the passenger seat is the real sweet spot in this car. For some odd reason, the massage unit isn’t in the front seating. As the recliner feature requires added room, this only works on the right rear seat, as the front passenger seat can yield the added space necessary. This is a blend of car and limo that impresses all.

Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold (Claudette Barius/HBO)

As pampered as the passengers are in the rear, the driver still has it pretty good. This car is available with enough technology that it can all but drive itself. Perfect for those needing to read an occasional script while on the road home. Ari Gold won’t have to fumble with a hand held cell phone, thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity. Jeremy Piven might miss the benefit of a prop, but seriously, the Lexus does a swell job on telematics. But we would be remiss not to comment on the inability to accept more than 1,000 contacts at a time. Forget about Ari, even I have a few thousand on my iPhone! What’s a top Hollywood player going to do?


An often-overlooked aspect of making a call while on the fly isn’t just the connectivity of the Bluetooth, but the quietness of the cabin. The LS 600h L is like a giant cocoon. The only noise that one will hear inside the Lexus with the windows up comes either from the audio system (which goes to mute during a call) or the wisecracks and deal making from passengers, which might just be a little harder to silence. The 19-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound audio system is superb and hard to fault on richness and clarity. Oddly, the maximum volume won’t allow me to drown out my singing. I can clearly hear my nails-on-chalkboard voice in a duet with Frank Sinatra. That’s not good. I suppose the product planners decided this is to be a place of meditation and self-reflection, not karaoke.


The navigation system is intuitive, so entering a new address is quick and easy. The very large touch screen also makes it simple to tap the correct settings, even after countless cups of coffee, or pulling an all-nighter with Vincent Chase and the boys. On the whole, the graphics on all the screens could be a bit more interesting, but the easy of use and functionality are appreciated. The hybrid powertrain delivers better fuel economy, but still nothing earth-shattering at 19/23, but the silence while running on electric power only accentuates the luxury appeal. At almost $122K this comes with an exceptional V8 engine with 438 total hybrid system horsepower. Mr. Gold found himself behind bars due to excessive speed, and I can confirm it’s very capable of smooth, relentless power.

The rear seat of the LS 600h L

Any owner will appreciate such niceties like the adaptive ride height variable air suspension, a plethora of safety features with the latest technology, semi-aniline leather trimmed seats, Alcantara headliner, rich wood accents, smart access with push button start, sunroof, intuitive parking assist, and advance parking guide. Ari Gold would expect nothing less. For more information about Lexus products, go to SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: Lexus LS 600h L Price: Base $110,000, as tested $122,869.00 EPA fuel economy ratings (city/highway): 19/23 miles per gallon


Engine type: Hybrid system with gas engine and two motor/generators, 5-liter, V8, aluminum block and cylinder heads, 32 valve, Dual Variable Valve Timing w/ intelligence and Electronically controlled intake Horsepower: 389 @ 6,400 rpm (438 total hybrid system horsepower) Torque: 385 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm Drive configuration: Full-time all-wheel-drive Transmission type: Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) with two-stage planetary gear reduction, and normal, power and snow modes Suspension: Front: Multi-link, double-joint, Air Suspension (AVS) Rear: Multi-link, double-joint, Air Suspension (AVS) Wheels and tires: Front: Standard: 19 x 8.0 J aluminum alloy wheels with high-gloss painted finish, 245/45R19 all season Rear: Standard: 19 x 8.0 J aluminum alloy wheels with high-gloss painted finish, 245/45R19 all season Brakes: Front: Four-piston calipers, ventilated discs, power assisted Rear: Two-piston calipers, ventilated discs, power assisted Antilock Braking System (ABS); Electronically Controlled Brakes (ECB); Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), VSC, TRAC (all systems integrated VDIM System) Overall length: 203.9” Overall width: 73.8” Overall height: 58.3” Curb weight (lb.): 5,360 0-60 mph: 5.5 Top Speed, mph: 130 (limited)


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