Currently, Lexus has a well-stocked portfolio of excellent automobiles across several key segments. However there’s just something special about the LS, perhaps because of the executive sedan’s roots as the sole vehicle offered when the then-fledgling luxury company launched in 1989. As such, the announcement of the fifth-generation model is a significant one, and the 2018 comes packed with goodies that would make its predecessor quite envious.
Lexus says part of the reason of the original LS’ success was anticipating the wants of luxury customers, rather than going with the status quo of the time — something it wants to recapture through innovative engineering and technology.
“We set previously unheard of targets and resolutely pushed ahead towards these ambitious goals,” said LS chief engineer Asahi. “The customers that are going to want to own a Lexus flagship are already surrounded by luxury on a daily basis, people who have a sharp eye for authenticity to begin with. We wouldn’t turn their heads with a conventional premium product.”
The rear-wheel drive car is built on the new global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L) and is considered to be an extended version of the Lexus LC 500 sport coupe. A longer and lower profile gives the LS a stretched-out, road-hugging look. To preserve passenger headroom, an outer slide-type moonroof mechanism is used.
There are external six side windows, which sit flush with the side pillars, a first for the brand. The spindle grille looks similar yet different, likely because the mesh is made up of thousands of individual, hand-adjusted surfaces. Two unique paint colours are available: Manganese Luster and Sonic Agate, both mixed to help better showcase the bodylines.
Inspiration was drawn from Japanese culture to design the interior. The ambient LED lighting echoes traditional lanterns, as does the armrests that appear to float next to the door panel. Even the wood used is produced differently, utilizing a laser-cut cross-grain pattern to better feature contrasts between light and dark sections.
The LS possesses an engine derived from F1 technology: a twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 generating V8-like 415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Mated to the mill is the same 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, the same unit found in the LC 500. The lower gear ratios are spaced closer together for exhilarating acceleration, and the car can go from 0 to 100 km/h in a projected 4.5 seconds.
Lexus Safety System+ is equipped, integrating the world’s first intuitive pedestrian detection capable of self-braking and steering around a pedestrian if a collision is imminent. Lexus CoDrive is also being introduced, enabling semi-autonomous steering.
The release of the 2018 Lexus LS is expected this fall.