When Lexus launched the fifth-generation LS at the end of 2017, the Japanese luxury maker predicted its once-brand-defining sedan would sell 12,000 units per year in the U.S., a threshold the model hadn't reached since 2010. The LS managed 9,301 transactions here in 2018, its first full year on sale, falling back to 5,528 units in 2019. Through the first three coronavirus-affected months of this year, Lexus dealers have sold 801 LS sedans, compared to 1,404 units in Q1 2019. There's a mid-cycle refresh supposedly due for release in the fall of 2021, and the June issue of Japanese magazine Mag-X (translated), via Lexus Enthusiast, claims we're due for a couple of big surprises that could jolt the sales figures. The first shock is that Lexus is supposedly bringing back the LS 600h moniker for an LS with a V8 hybrid powertrain.
Lexus debuted the LS 600h L in 2007 for the 2008 model year, retiring the hybrid trim in 2016. Its heart was a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8, and when combined with an electric motor, combined output came to 439 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. The fifth generation introduced the LS 500h that switched to a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, producing a combined 354 hp and 369 lb-ft., taking second place in output to the twin-turbo V6 in the non-hybrid LS 500 with 416 hp and 442 lb-ft.