The arrival of the all-new LS also heralded the arrival of Lexus’ first-ever twin-turbo V6 and ten-speed automatic, with the flagship (for now) LS 500 making the transition from a naturally-aspirated V8 to turbocharged six-cylinder power.
Built on a dramatically extended and widened version of the GA-L modular platform that debuted beneath the Lexus LC 500 sports coupe, the 2018 Lexus LS 500 is the biggest four-door to be offered by the Toyota-owned luxury automaker.
The new LS is longer and lower than the car it replaces, with a wheelbase that is a huge 158mm longer than the existing normal-wheelbase model. Even compared to the long-wheelbase LS presently on sale, the new LS (which will only be offered in a singular bodystyle) is a sizable 33mm longer with an overall length of 5235mm.
Weight drops by 90kg compared to the outgoing LS, largely thanks to the increased use of high-strength steels and aluminium alloy. Meanwhile, performance is up thanks to the totally new 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 that powers the LS 500, which generates a stout 310kW of power and 600Nm of torque.
Those numbers are a significant increase against the current LS 460’s 285kW/493Nm figures, and though specific stats have yet to be announced Lexus claims average fuel consumption is reduced compared to the V8.
The ten-speed automatic transmission the turbo V6 is hooked up to also takes some responsibility for the 2018 LS 500’s more restrained thirst, yet crisp shifts that are claimed to rival those of a sportier dual-clutch transmission. With a 0-96km/h time of just 4.5 seconds, it appears the big Lex has strong legs under its big bod.
Air suspension and a more torsionally rigid bodyshell also help the new LS deliver on Lexus’ claim that its new flagship sedan will be the best-handling, most comfortable and quietest LS to date.
The 2018 Lexus LS is expected to go on sale locally around this time next year, with pricing and features to be confirmed closer to launch.