The Lexus LS 600h L sedan was the first vehicle to bring fuel-efficient gasoline-electric hybrid technology to the luxury segment when it went on sale for the 2008 model year.

Since then the full-size sedan has only undergone minor changes, and 2012 will be no different.

The LS 600h L hybrid carries over virtually unchanged for 2012 with the exception of the Nebula Gray Pearl exterior replacing Smoky Granite Mica (identical 2011 model pictured).

The LS 600h L hybrid powertrain system still features a 5.0-liter V-8 matched with two electric motors and a nickel metal hydride battery pack. One motor acts as an engine starter, while the other provides motive force.

The setup generates a peak combined output rating of 438 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel the big sedan from 0-60 mph in just 5.5 seconds.

Better yet, the 50-70 mph acceleration time is just 3.5 seconds, making the 2012 Lexus LS 600h L a superb highway cruiser. All-wheel drive is also standard.

Fuel economy comes in at an EPA-rated 19/23 mpg city/highway, which is very impressive for a car of this size and performance. The allows the LS 600h L to meet the Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle II (SULEV II) certification.

The key is the car’s ability to drive in electric only mode when traveling at low speeds or stop-and-go driving conditions, reducing fuel consumption and noise.

Inside, standard features include a hard-drive based navigation system with a back-up camera, Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition technology, and an integrated XM Radio receiver.

Additional standard features include climate-controlled front seats; a driver’s seat that features a standard slide-away feature, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, power door closers, and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system.

Of course, Lexus’ Enform and Safety Connect features are available by subscription.