The new, fifth-generation Lexus LS is one of the most talked-about cars from this year’s Detroit Auto Show, and for a very good reason.
It represents a more dramatic departure from the previous, 4th-generation model, which had a more classic and unexciting design, which nevertheless, withstood the test of time, given that it came out all the way back in 2006, with a slight redesign taking place in late 2009, as well a more substantial one, in 2012.
Some of you might even recall the media frenzy surrounding the launch of the BMW 7-Series F01 from 2008, and how people were comparing some of its profile lines (not to mention its rear end) with the Lexus LS, which deep down might as well have been a compliment for both vehicles.
So then, what about the 2018 model? Can its stronger and unique Japanese identity win people over on a global scale? Remember, Lexus already confirmed that they will be selling their new flagship in 90 different markets around the world.
For starters, gone are what you might consider typical limousine lines. The new LS features a very aggressive front end, muscular fenders, a more cluttered profile (sort of how Infiniti does it – good or bad, you decide), while the rear is also considerably more dynamic-looking than the older model. Of course, after its 2012 redesign, the old LS seemed to carry itself a lot better within the segment. Lexus gave it their new “spindle” grille, a redesigned hood, reshaped fenders and headlights (LED DRLs), new bumpers and taillights.
In terms of size, the 2018 LS is not just larger in overall length than its LWB predecessor, it also has a longer wheelbase, which should definitely be felt inside the cabin that is another aspect of the new LS that Lexus paid attention to.
As with the exterior, the interior styling is significantly more youthful and daring, while keeping the outgoing model’s strong points, such as quality and a ton-load of features. We’re talking new seating designs, 28-way power front seats (with heating/cooling/massage functions), 3D surround Mark Levinson audio system, next-gen remote touch display with supported handwritten input, 12.3″ sat-nav display, optional 24″ color heads-up display, plus a bunch of modern active safety systems like its Intuitive Pedestrian Detection and Active Steering system.
Of course, if you opted for the top-spec Lexus LS back in 2012, you also got to enjoy a 19-speaker Mark Levinson system, a 12.3″ central infotainment display and remote touch – while not as advanced as the all-new systems, they were still excellent to use at the time.
As for performance, well, a comparison between the two isn’t exactly fair. Not only does the new car feature a newer and lighter platform, not to mention stiffer (to aid handling and balance), it also comes with a new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, packing 415 HP and 442 lb-ft (600Nm) of torque – good enough to get you to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.5 seconds, marking the first time a Lexus LS has hit 60 mph in under 5 seconds.
All that remains to be seen now is how well the public is going to respond to the 2018 model, especially with such a strong crop of German luxury saloons out there.