Built on the all-new GA-L platform, Lexus’s flagship sedan is powered by a choice of an all-new 3.5-litre twin turbo V6 engine or new Multi Stage Hybrid System, in Sports Luxury or F Sport (above) specifications.
Lexus’ Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival is longer, wider and lower than the model it replaces. Its 3125mm wheelbase boasts a 158mm stretch compared to the existing normal-wheelbase model, and 33mm over the long-wheelbase model.
The spacious cabin features appointments and aesthetics inspired by Japanese culture, such as the subtle interior ambient lighting and ‘floating armrests’.
Infotainment hardware includes the latest version of Lexus’ Remote Touch Interface, designed to mimic smartphone operation and support handwritten input, a 12.3-inch wide navigation display and 600mm colour head-up display (HUD) that projects driver information on the windscreen.
The rear seats can be fitted with extendible ottomans to capitalise on the LS’ exceptional legroom, and also incorporate both heating and massage functions. In the Sport Luxury model, the seat behind the front passenger can recline up to 48 degrees and the base tipped forward up to 24 degrees to assist with exiting the vehicle.
Interior comfort is enhanced by new sound suppression with Active Noise Control system that works like noise cancelling headphones to reduce engine noise and other sound.
These speakers also pump out your favourite music via a Mark Levinson premium surround sound system, which will come standard on all Australian-delivered LS vehicles.
Four interior colour schemes will be available in the Sports Luxury models, plus three for the F Sport. There will also be seven interior trim choices, including the exclusive Naguri-style aluminium for the F Sport.
Passenger comfort aside, the 2018 Lexus LS is also very much designed with the driver in mind.
The powerful twin-turbo V6 pumps out 310kW and 600Nm of torque, easily eclipsing the output of the 285kW/493Nm of outgoing car’s 4.6-litre V8.
The LS also shares the Lexus LC 500’s 10-speed automatic transmission, which anticipates the driver's input by monitoring acceleration, braking and lateral-g forces to ensure the car is always in an appropriate gear.
Lexus says it has tuned the powertrain to deliver instant acceleration, with the V6 powertrain able to propel the big luxury sedan from 0 to 100km/h in 5.0 seconds.
Meanwhile, the hybrid powerplant, which debuted in the LC 500h coupe, combines a naturally aspirated version of the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with two electric motor/generators and a lightweight lithium-ion battery.
It allows for more electric assistance at lower vehicle speeds and enables the LS 500h to operate on batteries alone at speeds up to 140km/h. However, while many luxury rivals are rolling out plug-in hybrids across their ranges, Lexus’ flagship hybrid won’t have the ability to top up its battery from a power point.
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. This will particularly be the case in the F Sport models, which will feature an enhanced chassis tune for greater driving dynamics without compromising comfort on the 20-inch alloy wheels.
All versions of the LS are equipped as standard with Lexus Safety System+ featuring active safety features that can help the driver avoid or mitigate a collision, including Pre-Collision System (PCS) (designed to detect vehicles and pedestrians), adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, sway warning function, and adaptive high-beam system, rear-cross traffic alert.
Australian Lexus LS pricing will be revealed closer to its April arrival.
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