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All-new Lexus LS 500 earns flagship status

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The 2018 Lexus LS 500 flagship comes without V8 power — for the first time in its history. And yet, it is more powerful than its predecessor, while also delivering superior fuel economy.

Introduced in 1989, this all-new fifth generation of the iconic Lexus remains at once familiar, yet changed. During our time with the LS, we were pleased to note the subtle manner in which it blends into the automotive landscape. But the LS stands out only upon close inspection. The design telegraphs the car’s luxurious nature and power, without ostentation.

Improved in every way imaginable, pricing for the 2018 Lexus LS starts at $75,000. The 2018 Lexus LS 500 model 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, through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 23 mpg overall with rear drive and 21 with all-wheel drive.

A hybrid is also offered with the LS 500h designation. This too, uses a 3.5-liter V6 as its basis-with the engine supplemented by a pair of electric motors/generators and a lithium-ion battery. Total system output is rated at 354 horsepower and estimated fuel economy is 28 mpg overall. Its continuously variable transmission incorporates a four-speed automatic gear set. Set to its manual mode, the unit functions as a 10-speed, offering the driver a more engaging driving experience.

An F-Sport version of the big Lexus will also be offered at launch. The available F-Sport Performance Package adds variable ratio steering, active rear steering and active stabilization to all of the above.

Dynamically, the new 2018 LS is the equal of everything in its class and better than many. Comfort is unrivaled and should you go the performance route with the F-Sport package, you’ll get a reasonably competent driver’s car as well.

Even with all of the efforts made to improve the handsome sedan’s capabilities as a driver’s car, its ultimate mission as a luxurious automobile remains firmly in hand. The car also raises itself when unlocked to make entry easier with the optional air suspension system.)

Cut glass interior trim is paired with hand-folded pleats (similar to the Japanese art form of Origami) to provide an interior treatment unique to the model. No other manufacturer has previously employed either technique. Stunningly beautiful in appearance, this really sets the interior of the 2018 Lexus 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.