Hybrid Inefficiency: Lexus LS 600h L

My favorite automotive stat of the year so far comes via Barron’s, and is regarding the Lexus LS 600h L.

It seems that the regular LexusLS gets a emre 16 mpg city and 23 mph highway, versus the hybrid’s 20/22. The cost for this insignificant fuel improvement? An extra $34,350 to be precise.

Don’t worry, the fuel savings will make up the difference . . . eventually:

“Yet for all its endearing qualities, it would be laughable to recommend this car on its pitiful fuel-cost benefits alone. If gas cost $4 a gallon, it would take 200 years of driving 15,000 miles annually to offset the difference between the hybrid and conventional all wheel-drive models. But for the luxury-car aficionado willing to part with stacks of green to be at least a pale shade of green, it could fill the bill.”

Yes, just 200 years of driving to pay for itself. That suggests anyone you see driving one these is either a poseur or innumerate.

For those of you who are green — and have nearly a $100k burning a hole in your pocket — you’d be much better off with the Mercedes V6 S400 hybrid. The big Benz is actually cheaper than the standard MB S550. The traditional model comes with a 382-hp V8 S550, gets 14/21 mileage, and has a sticker price of $91,60. For a few grand less ($87,950), the V6 hybrid is rated 19/26. Barron’s testers got 29 miles to the gallon on the highway.

My taste in green autos runs towards the higher MPG of the 918 Spyder: 62 mph in 3.2 seconds, 700 horsepower, and gets 78 MPG.  Now THATS a hybrid . . .

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