All-New 2018 Lexus LS Takes On Predecessor In Visual Shootout

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.

PHOTO GALLERY

  • Honda NSX-R

    The new LS is growing on me.

  • rover10

    I dont like the droopy trunk lid especially when looking at the car in front 3/4 view. The new Camry suffers the same feature. I always prefer the trunk surface to be higher than the base of windscreen, which helps the visual proportion, weight, and a sense of forward travel. The rest of the new car is as impressive as always, and makes a real alternative to the German premiums.

    • Robert

      I’ll take a slightly droopy truck lid over the saggy diaper-butt rear design of the S class. I hate Mercedes diaper-butt corporate design.

      • rover10

        For me the ‘S’ Class has a better weight balance than the new LS however, this car new Lexus will not disappoint those who love their brand. One issue I have is how much the new Camry looks like the Lexus! The original plan for Lexus products was to have clear air between it and other Toyota vehicles. The new Camry is in my eyes, an infringement of that edict, and could possibly injure Lexus sales?

  • Rick Alexander

    Definitely prefer the new Lexus, in almost every way over its predecessor. The new car has much more presence, and is far less restrained from a design perspective. The interior looks more cavernous. The car appears bigger to my eye, and definitely has a sportier appearance, in comparison to the much more conservative predecessor. Not a fan of the slab-bottomed new car though. I think the older model had more contours at the bottom IMO. Otherwise, I think this model is a winner. The grill might be a deal breaker for some, as it is much more pronounced now.

  • Newer is Better

    While I prefer the new generation, from the outside it looks like a Infiniti read-ended a Lexus.

  • Evan McMaster

    Lexus keeps making their already ugly cars, even uglier somehow. I don’t know how they always manage to outdo themselves.

  • Nordschleife

    I always thought that the pre-facelifted 2006 LS was a very good looking car. I didn’t care for any of its refreshes. That being said I think the new one is the best looking Lexus LS.

  • Day_Trader

    Is that a second screen to the right of navigation? Or just a “sticker”?

    • LexusGXman

      If I’m right, it’s not a screen or a sticker, but a backlit lighting ornament. You have to admit it looks pretty cool.

      • KidRed

        I’ll admit it looks pretty lame and unnecessary.

  • seriously

    The more I see the new LS the more i really like it; love the clean modern interior the most the exterior wasnt to sure about but it looks really good the more i see it

  • salamOOn

    i like the current one more.
    the new one is pretty heavy looking with crazy front mask…

  • eb110americana

    I always thought the pre-refreshed 4th generation (below), and the 1995-7 car had a very regal, stately, upright appearance about them. The new interior is undoubtedly an improvement, but the exterior pisses all of that away in the search for another sporty “4-door-coupe” profile, which is rather anonymous in today’s market. The GS should have been the sporty one, and the LS should have kept its high-brow upright stance. In my opinion, Lexus loses some of its street-cred as a serious luxury player, by offering a flagship that isn’t distinctly different in appearance from the lowly ES.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/84318da7b432fb11f826f4eadbd864bb194c3ef54b2bfcca2dddc51e16205104.jpg

    • seriously

      That car in the pic looks terrible with those wheels fake port holes and lowering proof money doesnt buy class. Not to mention before someone ruined it frankly looked dated and out of place compared to the newer Luxury sedans. Not to mention how does it look like a Lexus ES and somehow is the sporty 4 door coupe car in the Lexus line up (your opinion)??? everyone has their own opinion but yours sounds a bit half baked maybe cook it a little longer and try again. Not to mention against the current fleet of luxury sedans it looks almost anonymous and downmarket, if it were released today

  • Gerald Michael

    When you’re hellbent on making your cars as ugly as humanely possible, there’s only one direction to go but down. So good job, Lexus, on your latest rolling eyesore.

  • d’Aforde

    The 2018 looks better than the old one, but the front end still looks like the business end of a big mouth bass.

  • Carenthusiast

    I love the front of the new LS – bold and aggressive but not sure if F-segment customers appreciate that. One of the USP’s is a 24″ HUD (world’s largest HUD they say) but it’s a shame that they haven’t shown even a single picture of that….how weird when it’s their USP?? In the cabin, the one next to infotainment screen looks like a secondary screen but they haven’t release any info/pic on that. I wish LS good luck as sales in the last few years have been dominated by German’s in the F-segment.

  • QUESTIONABLE CHOICES INSIDE AND OUT.

  • Zandit75

    The dash is thrown out by the stupid looking rotatable controls mounted on either side. Makes them look like theyare from the 80’s.
    That, plus this thing still uses a CD player!!

    • Craig

      It still has a CD player? GREAT!! Some people still buy CD’s. [And play them in their car] In fact – in the US alone – 140,800,000 were bought in 2015.

      • Zandit75

        The rest of the world has already moved on.

        • Craig

          It would seem to me that you’re out of touch with what’s going on. Vinyl records are making a big comeback and so are cassettes. And CD’s never stopped being popular. Like I already said [which obviously didn’t sink in] in the US alone – 140,800,000 were bought in 2015.

          • Zandit75

            And how many were downloaded that same year? The amount you mentioned equates to less than one CD per every second person in the US in 2014(Just short of 319 million people) I wouldn’t call that huge sales.
            Vinyl Records and Tapes will always have some amount of popularity, but only in a retro theme, and never enough to convince the automotive industry to ramp back up CD player availability in their cars. Everything comes back into fashion, and then fades away again until the next batch of generations think it’s cool again.

          • Tumbi Mtika

            You guys are getting off track…

          • Zandit75

            Puns aside, it’s a relevant point.

          • Craig

            Does that CD slot really upset YOU? Is it in your way? Is there anything else that should be removed from a car because YOU PERSONALLY don’t want it? Or don’t use it? Does the world revolve around YOU?

          • Zandit75

            Of course the world doesn’t revolve around me, I’m not a Lexus/Toyota Fanboi, but Lexus tries to promote itself as the hip new luxury brand, and yet unlike other progressive brands, it is sticking with tech that is being phased out by others. My Hyundai Tucson doesn’t have a CD slot.
            This is their flagship model, and it not doubt has a superb sound system fitted to it, why is it not pioneering new technologies across the board.
            I just expect more from these quasi-luxury brands.

          • Craig

            Did you know that people 75 years old – and OLDER – buy more cars than people between the ages of 18 and 24 and people between the ages of 25 and 34? If it wasn’t for people over 50 – the auto industry would collapse. And older people are far more likely to stick with technologies that they’re used to. The Lexus LS buyers are -on average – 64 year old men. Whereas people who typically buy something like your Tucson would be a lot younger. And more interested – and more familiar with – the latest technological gizmos. Consider the fact that the Civic no longer has a CD player. But the Accord does. It’s all based on the average age of the average buyer.

          • Zandit75

            Fair points, however aren’t Lexus trying to secure a younger group of buyers? If they were really interested in keeping their old clients, they wouldn’t have so over the top with the design of this new car.

          • Craig

            Don’t assume that old people are boring people. As for reaching out to younger buyers – when it comes to the LS that would mean trying to get more buyers between 55 and 60 years old.

          • Ary Wisesa

            Agree. I still and will still buy CD. I’m not very fond of online music shopping. I still enjoy sliding my CD to the CD player and see its tray moves in. Beside, it looks classical and with my old-school hi-fi (which still delivers great sounds) it looks they are built for each other.

          • Craig

            Be careful. You might upset Zandit75.

          • Ary Wisesa

            LOL 😛

  • 31/12/2999

    The new LS is better in every aspect

  • sean tooher

    that side view is all wrong, rear three quarter glass ruins it …. also the bottom window line on rear doors looks like it sunk ….

  • LexusGXman

    At first I was worried, but now I like it. The interior, well that is arguably one of the best 3 in the world. The exterior, while not as “luxurious” or as best put by others, regal, it does look good, but I do agree that it SHOULD be regal and stately, like a S-Class. Be silent, comfortable, and insanely high-tech, which it still is, but it also needs to look the part, still looks great, but not say Rolls Royce great if you catch my drift.

  • Bash

    I actually like it! but god those shrek ears!

  • emjayay

    I’ve been baffled by the spindle grille, or maybe rather that some designer thought it up and had the idea that it was cool and convinced everyone of this. The new version is even worse in several ways. The old one did look like Possibly Expensive Big Anonymousvehicle of Indeterminate Age on the street.

  • Six_Tymes

    This new one is way better inside and out. the distinctive design works well on this, and not over done.

  • Craig

    I like both. But I think the new one will look even better in person. The more daring a design is – the more important that 3rd dimension becomes. The one thing that makes me wonder though is whether it will turn buyers off to no longer have a V8.

  • BlackPegasus

    Those wheels look a bit too busy for my taste.

  • Bob White

    It’s a significant improvement but the “cow catcher” grill is a deal breaker for me.

  • Chuck Jones

    I’ve owned at least one of each generation, but my current LS will be my last. The front of the 2018 is just about the ugliest thing I have ever seen on a car. I will never allow something that ugly in my garage

  • Chuck Jones

    I can’t wait until someone photoshops “Hoover” across the hood above the grill.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    The new LS is one of those cars that you have to look at several times before you make up your mind on it. And right now, it’s not looking half bad.

  • Ary Wisesa

    I saw an S-Class (the latest one) last night from the rear. Oh boy, it already looks dated now. I just can’t wait to see this LS in reality, and the more I see it, the more I like it. It looks very modern, unconventional, and a bit radical. Put it simply: it grows on me.

  • T2X

    The new LS looks form the Outside Awesome! Much better than the Mercedes S Class or an AUDI A8/S8. But… The Interior looks not so good, I don’t like the instruments on the Driver side. Looks like a Bull with two cut off horns…

  • KidRed

    The new one (all new Lexus’s) are gross. That interior is unsettling, I had no idea is was that badly designed.

  • Enter Ranting

    If the grille gets any bigger, the car is gonna drive right through it.

  • getoffme

    The LS does not have to beat the S-Class as it looks better already than a 7 series and the upcoming A8 (we all know what it is going to look like).

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