When Lexus announced there would be an all-new, fifth-generation LS sedan for 2018, there was a collective deep-breath taken by every fan of the flagship Japanese luxury sedan. After all, it is considered by many to be the ‘bar’ all are measured by in the class and definitely a top competitor in what can be the most discerning of segments.
The new LS reflects a strong, uniquely Japanese identity and approach to luxury that provides a combination of innovative technology and uncompromising craftsmanship. Without a V8 option for the first time in its existence, the LS uses that innovative tech to offer more power than its predecessor, while also delivering superior fuel economy.
Delivering a lower and much longer profile than the previous model, the all-new LS has a sleek sophistication that is balanced with a bold exterior styling that is more coupe-like than a sedan.
For me, the LS’ design easily propels the car’s luxurious nature and power without overt pretention. The spindle grille treatment is clearly the focal point upfront and that’s a great place to start taking in the visual gems of the LS.
The Lexus LS lineup will be anchored by a 416-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 capable of delivering 442 lb.-ft. of torque to either the rear wheels or all four. The powerplant is mated to a high-tech 10-speed automatic transmission.
Amazingly, the climb in horsepower in 2018 eclipses last year’s 386 hp and 367 lb.-ft. for the outgoing 4.6-L V8. Fuel economy is rated at 23 mpg overall with rear drive and 21 with all-wheel drive.
A hybrid LS 500h uses a 3.5-L V6 as its base, while a pair of electric motors/generators and a lithium-ion battery supplement power. Total system output is rated at 354 hp and estimated fuel economy is 28 mpg overall.
Lexus offers a wheel specifically designed to improve the quietness of the car when it is in motion – and it works great. The LS’ mission is to pamper occupants and it exceeds expectations at every turn. From the cut glass interior trim that is paired with hand-folded pleats to provide an interior treatment unique to the model, to the distinctly refined craftsmanship evident at every connection, junction and seam within the cabin, this is a beautiful interior that sets the LS apart.
Upholstery can be had in a choice of nine colors, with a choice of three different wood trims. The top audio system is a 23-speaker Mark Levinson design with absolutely phenomenal sound quality. Meanwhile, the climate control system covers all four seating positions individually.
A host of electronic driver’s aids graces each iteration of the 2018 Lexus LS. These include a pre-collision system, semi-autonomous steering, smart cruise control, lane trace assist, road sign assist, smart headlights, and lane departure alert with steering assist. The navigation system gets cloud-based updates, so long-term accuracy is better assured.
The new LS will support up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices. The car’s mobile app permits remote door locking and unlocking; remote engine start/stop; remote climate control activation and setting; a vehicle finder and guest driver monitoring.
With pricing for the 2018 Lexus LS starting at $75,000, it is an elite-level sedan, but not one that is out of touch from those willing to pay for excellence.