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Lexus hybridized its 2018 LS 500 sedan at the Geneva auto show, adding an “h” to the name. The company says the car’s lightweight, lithium-ion battery is 20 percent smaller than the outgoing LS 600h but with a higher power density.

The LS 500h features the new Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System featuring a 3.5-liter V6 and two electric motors, for a total system output of 354 hp. The sprint to 60 mph takes just 5.4 seconds with everything working together, including the “four-stage shifting device” (not sure why it’s not called a transmission). This contraption is added to the hybrid drive system, giving the “D” range “… a simulated shift control pattern that delivers the feel of driving with a 10-speed gearbox.

“In a conventional full hybrid vehicle, engine output is boosted by the electric motor via a reduction gear, but with the new Multi Stage Hybrid System, the power from the V6 engine and the hybrid battery can be amplified by the four-stage shifting device, allowing much greater drive power to be generated when accelerating from stationary.”

Yep, that’s a transmission all right. 

2018 Lexus LS luxury sedan debuts at the NAIAS

Drivers can also use steering-wheel mounted paddles to shift, with a quick response, without changing drive modes. The computer reads acceleration, deceleration and lateral gs to anticipate what the driver wants to do.

The LS 500 and 500h are built on the company’s GA-L platform, which is also shared with the LC coupe. At 123 inches, it’s longer than the current LS 600h L.

Inside, the LS features natural woodwork with a few separate color/trim options, in the style of omotenashi, “the Japanese concept of hospitality.” The door trims were inspired by origami, while hardened glass accents add to the luxury look.

We don’t have pricing yet, but the 2017 LS started at $73,000; the 2016 LS 600h started at $120K. Lexus didn’t say anything about fuel mileage numbers, either. The 2016 LS hybrid returned 19 city and 23 highway, but it had a 5.0-liter V8 making power, so this should be quite a bit more efficient.