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Detroit 2017: All-new 2018 Lexus LS wants to regain benchmark status

All-new 2018 Lexus LS | Photo: Lexus
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Guillaume Rivard
A true flagship among luxury cars

The all-new, fifth-generation 2018 Lexus LS flagship luxury sedan was unveiled in a world premiere at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit yesterday.

Longer and lower than the sedan it replaces, the all-new LS debuts a strikingly bold design with a coupe-like silhouette punctuated by the new Lexus design language. A new driver-centric performance feel comes from building the LS on the company’s all-new global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA–L).

This premium rear-wheel drive platform, an extended version of the one used for the new LC 500 coupe, reportedly offers a more dynamic experience on the road while further elevating renowned Lexus comfort. Note that only one model will be available, riding on a long wheelbase (35mm longer than the outgoing LS 460 L). Additionally, lightweight materials including ultra-high-tensile steel and aluminum helped reduce the car’s weight by more than 200 lbs.

Inside, where the cabin is even quieter now, designers used for inspiration Omotenashi, a Japanese word that refers to the sense of hospitality. Applied to a luxury automobile, it means taking care of the driver and passengers, anticipating their needs, attending to their comfort, and helping protect them from hazards. The available power front and rear seat with Shiatsu massage and a raised ottoman, part of a wider rear-seat luxury package, offers the most legroom of any previous-generation LS. In addition, the seat behind the front passenger in this optional package can be reclined up to 48 degrees or raised up to 24 degrees to help assist the rear-seat passenger in exiting the vehicle.

And because the new Lexus LS is lower than previous versions, engineers for the first time equipped the available air suspension with an access function. Activated by unlocking the car with the smart key, access mode automatically raises the vehicle and opens the seat bolsters to welcome drivers behind the wheel.

As for the powertrain, Lexus developed an all-new 3.5L V6 engine specifically for the 2018 LS with all-new twin turbos using the company’s F1 technology. It generates 415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, sizeable gains over the current LS model’s V8 (+55 in the case of the former). Three drive modes are offered including Normal, Sport, and Sport+, while the new 10-speed automatic transmission can be had with paddle shifters.

Guillaume Rivard
Guillaume Rivard
Automotive expert