Inside and out, the new Lexus LS flagship sedan reflects a strong, uniquely Japanese identity and approach to luxury that features innovative technology, as well as powerplant options to thrill.
Longer and lower than the model it replaces, the LS luxury sedan debuts a strikingly sleek and bold design with a coupe-like silhouette that is punctuated by unique Lexus design language. Compared to the previous LS, the new 2018 model is some 0.6 inches lower, while the hood and trunk are approximately 1.2 inches and 1.6 inches lower.
This new LS is the first Lexus sedan with a six-window profile, which provides excellent outward visibility; other firsts for a Lexus sedan are the flush-surface windows that smoothly integrate with the side pillars.
For high power, scintillating performance and excellent fuel efficiency, Lexus designed an all-new 3.5-liter V-6 engine specifically for the 2018 LS. The new LS engine offers the output one would expect in a flagship sedan: 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. In RWD form, the new LS 500 sees a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds.
This high-powered performance and excellent fuel efficiency combine with Lexus’ all-new 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Available in both rear- and all-wheel drive, the new powertrain boasts a top speed of 136 mph.
The 500h’s hybrid powertrain uses a naturally aspirated, 295-horsepower Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired with two electric motor generators that boost output to 354 total horsepower; 0 to 60 comes in 5.1 seconds (in RWD form). With a 22.2-gallon fuel tank and estimated fuel economy of 25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined, the LS 500h RWD has a range of more than 600 miles, depending on driving conditions and habits.
The fifth-generation Lexus 2018 LS flagship sedan is also available in a hybrid 500h, and high-performance F-Sport trim levels.
My LS tester’s ride quality, responsive handling, and the serene, comfortable, well-appointed cabin are notable regardless of any other competitor who may be in the room.
Designers have instilled the new cabin with a quiet opulence that welcomes and envelops riders while treating the driver like a partner.
Fine craftsmanship shows elegant finishes with stunning touches highlighted by laser-cut natural wood, origami-like hand-pleated fabrics, and beautiful “Kiriko”-style cut-glass patterns. Seating choices include available 28-way power adjustable heated and cooled front seats featuring pneumatic shiatsu-style massage; options for heating, recline, and massage also bring rear-seat passengers a delightful concierge-level environment.
Active Noise Control quiets the interior by detecting the sound of the engine intruding into the vehicle; it cancels particular frequencies using anti-phase sound from the audio speakers.
The organically shaped dash design clusters information at a uniform height to support the “seat-in-control” layout that emphasizes the driver’s ability to operate all systems without changing body posture. A next-generation Remote Touch Interface mimics smartphone operation and supports handwritten input.
In addition to its 12.3-inch-wide navigation display, an optional 24-inch color heads-up display – currently the largest in the world – projects important driving information on the windshield for the driver.
Lexus Safety System+ bundles intelligent high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, a front pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, as well as lane keeping assistance and departure alerts. The optional Safety System+ A (Advanced) package adds pedestrian alerts, front lateral side pre-collision assistance, lane trace assistance, front cross-traffic alert, road-sign assistance, and active steering assist.
At $75,000 for a base price, the Lexus LS is a guaranteed winner no matter how refined or how distinct the luxury palate may be.
This auto review was researched and written bySteinProContent Servicesand provided to the Sun-Times for publication