NEW YORK – Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s Lexus luxury division unveils what it says is the world’s first hybrid-electric vehicle with a V-8 engine today at the New York auto show here.

Toyota claims the ’08 LS 600h L’s 5L V-8 engine has the power of a V-12, with best-in-class fuel efficiency for a V-8.

Due to go on sale in the U.S. next spring in a long-wheelbase version only, Lexus’ newest hybrid is estimated to be capable of 430 hp, thanks to high-output electric motors and a new large-capacity battery pack.

That compares with about 380 hp produced by the non-hybrid Lexus ’07 LS 460 and the LS 460 L’s 4.6L V-8.

“The LS 600h L was developed to explore the outer reaches of performance, style and safety,” says Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager-Lexus Div.

“It is a vehicle as practical and efficient as it is indulgent: An advanced and far-reaching concept, fully developed and fully realized. It simply is in a class by itself.”

The 5L V-8 is mated to a new dual-stage, electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. All-wheel drive will be standard via a new mechanical system, while Lexus’ Advanced Pre-Collision System is optional.

However, Lexus’ next-generation Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system, already found of the Lexus GS and IS sedans, is standard.

An air-suspension system that has Variable Gear Ratio Steering also is standard, as is a 4-zone air conditioning system with air purification; rear-door power sunshades and rear power headrests; and seating for four, complete with a fixed rear console and foldout table.

As with the new LS 460, amenities are plentiful in the LS 600h L.

They include a right-rear seat that reclines 45 degrees, with foot rest and a vibration massage feature; heated steering wheel; choice of four seat leathers and three wood-grain trims; and a voice-activated hard-disk drive navigation system featuring Bluetooth and XM Satellite Radio’s real-time traffic service.

Other high-end touches include a 19-speaker 450-watt Mark Levinson audio system and rear-seat DVD system with a 9-in. (23-cm) screen.

Dimensionally, the LS 600h L has a wheelbase of 121.7 ins. (309 cm); a length of 202.8 ins. (515 cm); is 73.8 ins. (187 cm) wide and 58.5 ins. (149 cm) tall.

Fuel economy ratings, as well as pricing, will be announced closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date.

Toyota expects the LS 600h L to carry a super ultra-low emission (SULEV) rating, with 67% fewer emissions than the cleanest of its competitors, the auto maker says.

The LS 600h L, along with all LS models, will be built exclusively at Toyota’s Tahara, Japan, plant using an all-new build process, the auto maker says.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com