All-New Fifth-Gen 2018 Lexus LS Flagship Debuts In Detroit

It’s been 28 years since the first-generation Lexus LS premiered at the 1989 Detroit Auto Show, making the debut of the all-new 2018 LS luxury saloon all the more symbolic.

The all-new 2018 LS boasts a bold new appearance, with a coupe-like silhouette that still allows for luxury-levels of interior roominess, while adding what the automaker calls “visionary technology.”

In terms of design, the new LS is meant to reflect a “strong, uniquely Japanese identity and approach to luxury,” yet it’s been imagined as more of a global luxury saloon, which will be made available in no fewer than 90 countries.

“Not only will the LS symbolize the Lexus brand, it will become the definitive new-generation luxury car embodying Japanese tradition and culture,” said Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the new LS. “As such, this global pinnacle must go far beyond what the world expects from a luxury car.”

The new LS sits on the company’s premium rear-wheel drive platform, which is an extended version of the one used for the new LC 500 coupe. Furthermore, much like the original LS from 28 years ago, the new model is also meant to anticipate what luxury customers want, rather than simply amplifying what other luxury brands are offering.

“We set previously unheard of targets and resolutely pushed ahead towards these ambitious goals,” added Asahi. “The customers who 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.”

Overall, the new LS is about .6 inches (1.5 cm) lower than the current/old model, while the hood and truck are approximately 1.2 inches (3 cm) and 1.6 inches (4 cm) lower, respectively. This is also the first Lexus sedan with a six-side window design. Buyers will ultimately be able to choose between five new wheel designs as well, including two new 19″ and three 20″ wheel design.

Size-wise, the car measures 206.1 in (5,235 mm) in length, 74.8 in (1,900 mm) in width and 57.1 in (1,450 mm) in height, making it roughly the same size as a long-wheelbase BMW 7-Series. The wheelbase on the LS measures 123 in (3,125 mm), which again is much closer to what you get in a long wheelbase 7 or S-Class, rather than their regular-wheelbase versions.

In terms of performance, the GA-L platform is the stiffest in Lexus history, helping the new LS achieve a superior ride and handling balance compared to its predecessor. When it comes to its ride, there’s also the latest generation Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management technology to consider – a system that implements cooperative control of all vehicle subsystems such as braking, steering, powertrain and suspension. Handling is also boosted by the active stabilizer bars as well as the Lexus Dynamic Handling System with independent front and rear steering. The VDIM is capable of aiding stability when the LS is driving over split-friction surfaces such as dry pavement and ice.

Another performance improvement comes from the lightweight materials used, more specifically the ultra-high tensile sheet and aluminum that cut over 200 lbs (90 kg) from the current LS platform and body.

Powering the 2018 Lexus LS is a new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, developed through the company’s F1 technology, offering V8-level power without sacrificing fuel economy – while also minimizing noise and vibration. Total output sits at 415 HP and 442 lb-ft (600 Nm) of torque, allowing for a projected 0-60 mph (96 km/h) acceleration time of just 4.5 seconds in RWD configuration.

The new LS also debuts the first-ever 10-speed automatic transmission for a premium passenger car (from the LC 500). While it is a torque-converted automatic, Lexus say it can shift about as quick as modern-day dual-clutch transmissions.

Inside, the new LS features new seating designs, which include available 28-way power front seats with heating, cooling and massage functions. Furthermore, the so-called “organically-shaped” dash design has the information display at uniform height in order to support the “seat-in-control” layout. Out back, customers can opt for the wider rear seat luxury package which offers more legroom than any previous-generation LS. Furthermore, the seat behind the front passenger can be reclined up to 48 degrees and raised up to 24 degrees to help the rear-seat passenger exit the vehicle more easily.

Because the new LS is lower than any previous version, Lexus also added an access function to the available air suspension. It’s activated by unlocking the car with the smart key and automatically raises the vehicle and opens the seat bolsters to welcome drivers behind the wheel.

As for on-board tech, the 2018 LS features a 3D surround Mark Levinson audio package with in-ceiling array speakers, a next-gen remote touch display with supported handwritten input, a 12.3″ sat-nav display, but also an optional 24″ color heads-up display, the largest in the world. Active safety technologies present inside the new LS include the world’s first system with Intuitive Pedestrian Detection and Active Steering within the lane – which means the car can automatically brake and potentially steer around a person while staying in the lane.

The all-new 2018 Lexus LS flagship will go on sale in the US near the end of 2017.



  • donald seymour

    They…I think…they dropped the ball. I think they dropped the ball on this one. I’m actually shocked, because they had a really nice concept. They could had easily replicated the concept.

    • SteersUright

      Exactly right. In this class of car, elegance and conservative classical beauty trump wacky, wild, daring designs. This looks like more of an Infiniti Q50 competitor than anything that would present a challenge to an S-class or 7-series. Interior design is slightly better, but the geriatric crowd that tend towards these very large luxury cars require elegant simplicity. For example, big letters on big screens. Look at the direction S-Class, Panamera, and others have gone with their massive screens right near the driver. The tiny little gauge cluster lcd and other offset screens are outdated already.
      Shame Lexus, I expected much more from your flagship. This all new car is already starting at a disadvantage on numerous fronts.

      • seriously

        Thats the same thing people said about the entire Lexus lineup and last I checked theyre still selling very well; not everyone wants a car that looks the same as did last year or like it could be anything the fact the Tesla Model S sells so well or the Panamera prove you’re statement is mere opinion neither looks traditional in any sense of that word and both are new entrants. The Lexus LS looks like the best of the current Lexus design language. In the class each competitor is just that a full size version of their current design themes from the not conservative XJ, Panamera, and Model S to the boring looking A8 and 7 series to the more detailed lines of the new S class……to me the concept looked like the last model with a big grill nothing more and nothing less…..its 2017 let BMW and Audi do boring flagships…..

        • bd

          The distinction is that the lower priced, FWD-models are selling well.

          The GS and LS are barely selling these days (now the new LS500 will help things on the flagship end, but still not likely going to see anything approaching the sales of the LS460 at its height (much less the LS400).

  • salamOOn

    it is a great car for sure, but i like the look of a current LS more than this new one….. btw nice video.

  • SgtBeavis

    Hello Mr. Zorro, your car has arrived…..

  • MIL1234

    the front look like a photoshoped squeezed picture
    or perfectly symmetrical wrecked
    they are really afraid to look like a German brand,
    maybe not enough front grill 😉

    • mcbeavis

      The asians only copy! Under certain angles there is a porsche, really sad! When will they finally do something by themselves?

  • carsrcool

    Just what is it with these designers who think they need to win the largest “open mouthed” grill award ??? The visual dignity of a luxurious automobile seems to me, as compromised…

    • Six Thousand Times

      What, they’re also throwing in a grill? Lexus sure does give value.

    • john1168

      Mr. Trebeck, I’d like to buy an “e” please 🙂

  • Shota Ishizawa

    bruh… wtf is that interior… this car is a mess, the LS is supposed to be a more classy line competing with the S class, wtf is this

    • Knotmyrealname

      I had to leave my desk after looking at the front end, but came back for another gander (call me a glutton for punishment) and see what the interior was about. Yup, a shocker. Did they clinic this at all? If so, did they really receive an overwhelming response to continue with this design? I can’t imagine it.

    • fabri99

      dunno bruh

    • D3X

      gag…those knobs on the side of the dash cluster.

      • IFDU

        lol shrek ears they look like.

        • Bash

          I swear that is the first thing I thought of too

    • Kevin Tay

      the dashboard is hideous! also, do those stupid lines serve a purpose?

  • SgtBeavis

    Again Toyota is trying too hard. They are sooooo close to greatness with this car but they went a bit to far once again. The Zorro headlamps are just terrible IMO. The Nike Swish looked much nicer. The insert on the spindle grill is just a hair too busy for me. The RC-F is still the best iteration of this grill and Lexus should have just pasted it onto this car.

    The thing that bothers me the most is the c-pillar. the way it merges into the back door just seem awkward. It’s distracting from an otherwise beautiful side profile.

    Overall, the interior is very nice but the instrument pod is a bit awkward to look at with those two knobs/horns sticking out. But that may be one case where the photos aren’t doing it justice.

  • MIL1234

    i really wouldn’t mind if they copy the German
    this is too much originality

  • Brabusbus

    The side body lines is very similar to Mazda 6.

    • thruthy

      The greenhouse is a direct copy of Tesla.

    • ErnieB

      Yes! So much Mazda!

  • Mr. Crankypants

    Elegant gone trendy. Waaay too trendy.

  • Mynameis Taylor

    At first glance…. I thought it was a Mazda

  • marioGTI

    That grill makes me sick, the rest of the car looks great, I see mazda 6 hues in the body lines as well.

  • Six Thousand Times

    What a looker. And the tech and the quality should be phenomenal.

    • donald seymour

      Are you being sarcastic? Because I know you and how you usually respond.

      • Six Thousand Times

        No sarcasm. I actually really like this.

        • donald seymour

          Good for you. You can have it all to yourself.

          • supermanuel

            No. I’d have one too. I really like it. I’ll fight you for it SwingtimeInTheRockies…

  • Mynameis Taylor

    I like the INTERIOR. That’s it

  • Tumbi Mtika

    This is…Disappointing.

  • Kaisuke971

    Come on Lexus, when are you gonna step your game up to actually compete with the S-Klasse, the 7 Series and the A8 ?

  • Tumbi Mtika

    It looks like a Q70.

  • Mr. Crankypants

    The new Lincoln Continental is elegant.
    This new LS is garish…a toy for the newly-monied crowd.

    • Six Thousand Times

      Disagree about that dumpy Lincoln. Plus, that’s just a slightly stretched Fusion.

  • DelWebb69Boi

    This will be a big hit at Del Webb!

  • Jboy Ababon III

    A class of its own. ?

    • Kaisuke971

      In a bad way. Below the sort of S/7/A8 without having the brand appeal and exoticism of a Quattroporte/XJ.

  • Matthijs

    It’s more a sharp take on the Genesis or something. I’m not so convinced yet although it looks pretty good. Also interior looks appealing but obviously inspired by Mercedes-Benz..

  • haudit

    The cluttered profile completely ruins the exterior for me. If you’re going to do a three window silhouette on a car, placing a quarterlight on the door becomes utterly superfluous and disrupts the flow of the design – in this price bracket, you’d think they’d have the resources to engineer the door in such a way that it doesn’t require one.


    Am I the only one, who does not see 24″ color heads-up display through my 22″ monitor?…..

  • Knotmyrealname

    Holy crap, the size of that grille. Who in their right minds thinks that is attractive?

  • Galaxium

    I don’t really like that greenhouse. Too many kinks in it.

  • TheHake

    Holy jehusifis…. that grill!!! :-0

  • Tinky-Winky

    I don’t know what drugs the Lexus’ designers take but I really love the results.

  • atomicbri

    Not liking this new LS. The outside is trying to hard in the front. The side profile feels cheapened from the current LS. LS has never had side quarter/valence windows at the rear of the back doors and to me makes it feel more Buick/Chevy than Lexus. The interior is a mess of different ideas all thrown together (what’s with copying Mercedes on that chrome striped look??). Nah I will pass.

  • Patrick

    is that a display on the passenger side dash..some photos show a design lit up?

  • WG

    I would just take the Cadillac CT6.

  • roy

    am i the only one who is actually liking it ? i just think it is some what better looking than the 7 series

    • supermanuel

      Not the only one Roy. Much more appealing than the 7 Series. A bit too much Infiniti/Mazda in the profile for my liking but the rest of it is superb.

      • roy


  • Nordschleife

    I see a little Infiniti M/Q70 in those rear hunches but I think it looks good. I guess I am more of the type that likes divisive design choices that imbue excitement then most of my counterparts. This just doesn’t bother me at all.

  • I like the car design overall, yet the C pillar reminds me of the new Chevy Malibu a bit too much…
    The interior is pretty nice in my opinion, very Japanese, except for the instruments panel that is better suited for a sports car, not such a luxurious limousine…
    And finally, are those lock knobs on the rear doors? Didn’t the Japanese abandone those ages ago?


    wow, that’s a nice Buick Lacrosse [not]

  • Mr. Crankypants

    Truly inspired…

    -by a kabuki drag show

  • Mr. Crankypants

    Someone notify TMZ…

    Godzilla had a baby

  • dumblikeyou2

    1. Easily mistaken for a Hyundai or KIA.
    2. Kudos to Hyundai and KIA.

  • Beautiful car, just wished they brought the concept to production.

  • BlackPegasus
  • BOB

    Interior is just phenomenal.

  • Stigasawuswrecks

    It looks like they tried too hard. That instrument panel looks terrible. And the interior is a mess.

  • Gerald Michael

    Swing and a miss. And a miss. And a miss. Outside it’s very reminiscent of the Infiniti Q70, but with that ghastly Lexus nose for an extra cartoonish look. As for the interior, there might be a knob or two that aren’t painful to look at. And what are those knobs above the instruments supposed to be, Frankenstein neck bolts? Lexus designers should save the sake for after work.

  • Ermal Morina

    The interior looks a bit to much S class,but not quite there.
    And, I don’t see this being a better car than the 7 series or the A8,let alone the S class.But hey,for sure it ain’t bad…

  • Subi-Rubicon1

    I get where they’re going with the design, except that it doesn’t come across as luxury. It seems as though Lexus should have gone further with the design a la IS, uniquely Lexus not a regurgitated version of other Lexus products.

  • enthusia

    i really like it! as far as the competition goes, i really think BMW didn’t even try at all, with this LS and the upcoming A8, the 7 series already looks a generation behind.
    too early to tell if this is as good as the S class, but it seems to be a cut above the current A8 and the bmw, thats for sure.

  • Enter Ranting

    An overall nice shape, let down by clumsy details: the idiotic grille and ponderous headlights.

  • SamBamm

    Dear Lexus; You are supposed to remove the cow horns BEFORE you mount the skin to the dash.

    • fabri99


  • disqus_83g6mJmr6l

    nice profile.horrible headlamps.gorgeous dashboard & interior.why can’t it has the LC500 beauty?

  • O123

    I like it, but I wish they had just used the lc500 headlights instead if these zoro ones.

  • fabri99

    The grille is that wide because its trying to take in all the good taste it lacks.

  • An Existing Person

    Kind of a disappointment. The exterior looks like some Genesis/Infiniti/Buick type of style with Lexus touches. The interior is similar to the current LS and other Lexus models, with some Mercedes inspiration as well. The one thing i’m most nterested about is that new Twin-Turbo engine.

  • Honda NSX-R

    That grill is too much, otherwise it’s a good car. The interior is amazing, but not the grill.

  • Rich Money

    my brain cannot make sense of this car. at all. goodbye.

  • MMNYC18

  • Matt

    Guess im in the minority here but i really like it for the most part. Its busy in places and the design is not the understated luxury like mercedes, jag, bmw or audi but it works for me. Id still choose an s class over this but id choose this over the new 7 series

  • klowik

    Finally, a Lexus LS can outclass the BMW 7series & Merc S-class in the look and it doesn’t look a fridge on 4 wheels.

  • Kash

    So I’m a little partial to Lexus being a former owner, but this looks a lot cooler than the Germans and it looks like it’s gonna have great visibility with its low shoulder line. Plus I love the interior since it carries over a lot of the same bits from the LC.

  • Wombater

    Even the renders look better than this!! And those air con vents… not what anyone would expect in a flagship – it’s just awful. Even Hyundai’s i30 has better looking air-vents.

    Just a total disappointment after the LC and RX. I really hope the UX doesn’t go down this new style language.

  • Big Black Duck

    idk…considering its their flagship..they should have been more restrained on the exterior design…and focused more on the interior so it can compete with cars like the Lucid…

  • ediotsavant

    I would have preferred Lexus had chosen a different styling direction than this one. Too many luxury cars designed to cheat the wind. Lexus should have given it a more substantial looking design reminiscent of luxury cars of decades ago. One that is blunt, in your face, don’t give a damn.

  • U8INIT

    Trust me this car wont be denied in person…

  • Mr E Fella


  • Astonman

    Still hemming and hawing about the outside but I like the inside a lot. Very very modern. It’s different and fresh.

  • Ary Wisesa

    Wow, so many people are drawn to comment on this Lexus. It surely successful to create stir in the automotive world. The design (as usual in current Lexus fashion) creates “love it or hate it” situation, and that’s maybe the goal of Lexus.

    Anyway, I like this new LS, even though some lines are too busy (especially head light), but I think it’s because I’m not getting used to it yet. Now I wait for the review on what this flagship can do.

  • Jesse A. C. Majors

    I’m underwhelmed

  • TheBelltower

    I don’t think I’ve used the term “spazzy” in fifteen years. But this thing looks spazzy and all over the place. Toyota is hunting for a design language. They are overcompensating just a smidge.

  • Bash

    and they had to make those door handles like that? they couldn’t do something more sleek, something like the Jag F-type!!

  • So, for those who prefer to hold handlebars whilst moving, Lexus have given us some above the steering wheel. I mean, really?! I would love to be in the meeting where that idea was proposed. “So chaps, we’ve got these two rotary knobs left over, where shall we put them? Ooh I know, put them high up to obscure the view. Brilliant, lets do this”…..

  • Craig

    Very courageous – on so many different levels. Maybe too courageous. The dashboard looks a modern version of late 50’s or early ’60’s Imperial! Now whether or not that’s a good thing – I don’t know.

  • Craig

    It’s more impressive in the following video.

    • Ary Wisesa

      Actually it looks much better in video than still picture. I bet it must look even better in metal. Can’t wait to see the real one. Sometime pics and video don’t do this sedan justice .

    • Tumbi Mtika

      You have given me hope yet sir.

  • KidRed

    uh, no.

  • As I stated before, generally speaking I do like this design, and probably will look even better in the metal, on the streets – usually photos don’t capture well the real presence of large cars (sometimes it’s the opposite…); a car this large is quite impressive in real life, I remember the difference of the Panamera or Jaguar XJ in pictures and seeing the real thing.
    About the Predator-type grille, Lexus is polishing it more with every new interpretation from the hideous GX to a better job in the LX & RC (save some exceptions). Over time people will grow used to them; some years ago I was one of the first haters of the humongous new “singleframe” grille on the Audi A8 (2005?) – how did they dare?!! i.m.o. it looked like a truck front!… oh boy, how a few years and some refinement from the people at Ingolstadt can make a difference, these days that grille sets Audis apart, has influenced many car designs (including Lexus, Infiniti, Hyundai, Mazda, GMC among others) and, more importantly, made me love my A5.

  • oldthudman

    I think Lexus designers need to go back to “grille school”………………..

  • john1168

    The interior is fantastic but that front end is too crazy. That grillE is just out of control…

  • Bo Hanan

    -“they will sell every one of them…”

  • Raf

    Need to see it in person but honestly I like it. I feel as thought if it was a liftback it would look a bit nicer.

  • Kevin Tay

    nice grille a.k.a dust collector

  • Rich Money

    is it me or is there a bit of M45 in there?

  • Ben

    This car is what you would get if Honda told its Civic product team to make the Civic hatchback bigger and turn it into a “luxury” car. From a pure design view, the exterior is extremely awkward and does not connote luxury in any way. The headlights are gimmicky beyond good taste and the grille is loud. Lexus itself has shown that it can make the spindle grille look good (see the new LC), so why didn’t it do better here? The interior is just plain awful — what are those parallel lines everywhere? Pure ornamentation without any functional purpose. It’s a very immature interior design — it looks like a high school kid drew this in study room. I don’t get it — every day, Carscoops is filled with gorgeous renderings of automobiles, some beautiful LS renderings included. Lexus would have been better off just taking almost any one of those designs rather than this clumsy effort. In short, there is no excuse for an ugly car anymore. This is a huge disappointment and will be a huge sales disaster for Lexus.

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