Prior to the start of the 2017 NAIAS (North American International Auto Show), Lexus has previewed to the world with a teaser image of the all-new LS flagship Sedan. With the NAIAS now live, the 2018 Lexus LS Sedan has been unveiled at the NAIAS host city, Detroit.
Longer and lower than its predecessor, the new LS debuts a strikingly bold design with a coupe-like silhouette punctuated by the new Lexus design language. Just as the original LS launched the Lexus brand, the 2018 LS continues the brand’s more dynamic direction. Each generation of LS sedans leading up to this iteration advanced luxury, craftsmanship, performance and safety in their own way, with the most recent also introducing a far more emotional #design and engaging on-road performance.
Lexus designers took full advantage of the new platform, with its lower profile and length on par with that of a prestige long-wheelbase sedan, to give the new LS a stretched, ground-hugging appearance. Compared to the current LS, the new model is about 6-inches lower, while the hood and trunk are approximately 1.2-in and 1.6-in lower, respectively. The new LS is the first Lexus sedan with a six-side window design. Also a first for a Lexus sedan, the flush-surface windows smoothly integrate with the side pillar.
To preserve headroom with the lower profile, the new LS features an outer slide-type moonroof. The unique rendition of the spindle grille mesh, with a texture that seemingly changes in different light, is the result of both intense CAD development and hand-adjusting thousands of individual surfaces.
The new Lexus LS upholds yet another brand tradition, that of innovative paint finishes and techniques. There are two new hues for the 2018 LS; Manganese Luster and Sonic Agate, a passionate red hue.
The LS debuts five wheel designs, including two new 19- and three 20-inch wheel designs. The 20-inch premium wheels employ a brilliant appearance created using an electroplating technique known as sputtering.
Inside, Lexus’ flagship sedan is not simply a matter of adding more features. Inspired by the omotenashi principle, Lexus sought to instill the new LS cabin with luxury that welcomes and envelops the occupants while treating the driver like a partner. New seating designs, including available 28-way power front seats that feature heating, cooling and massage, exemplify this approach. The organically shaped dash design clusters information displays at uniform height to support the “seat-in-control” layout that emphasizes the driver’s ability to operate all systems without the need to change posture.
While making the new LS even more of a driver’s car, Lexus also lavished attention to the rear seat, developing a design that creates seamless, enveloping continuity between the trim and seatbacks for passenger egress.
Options for heating, cooling and massage make the rear seat a most welcoming environment. 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, and can be raised up to 24 degrees to help assist the rear-seat passenger in exiting the vehicle.
Because the new LS is lower than previous versions, Lexus 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.
Lighting and attention to detail express a unique aesthetic in the LS. A new approach to creating trim elements again turned to Japanese culture, combining traditional Japanese aesthetic with advanced manufacturing techniques. This is reflected in signature touches, such as beautiful interior ambient lighting inspired by Japanese lanterns and armrests that appear to float next to the door panel.
Inspired by Shimamoku wood patterns, the new forms that combine the artistic combination of natural woodwork and application of Japan’s sophisticated sliced wood and laser cutting manufacturing technologies can be seen in the new LS. New patterns include Art Wood/Organic, Art Wood/Herringbone and Laser Cut Special. Compared to the straight-grain Shimamoku pattern, the new LS cross-grain is a larger pattern featuring bolder contrasts between light and dark, giving the wood a more vibrant appearance.
For infotainment and entertainment, the new LS comes with the standard premium audio system or the optional 3D surround Mark Levinson audio package with in-ceiling array speakers. The package features a more inviting graphic user interface. Its next-generation remote touch is designed to mimic smartphone operation, also supporting handwritten input. In addition to its 12.3-inch wide navigation display, the LS can incorporate an optional large color heads-up display (HUD) that projects a variety of information onto the driver’s forward view.
In the powertrain department, an all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine is specifically incorporated for the 2018 LS, with new twin turbos developed through the company’s F1 technology. The new LS engine offers the output one would expect in a flagship sedan: 415 horsepower and 699 Nm (442 lb-ft) of torque.
The first-ever 10-speed automatic transmission is available for the 2018 LS, having already debuted in the Lexus LC 500. It is a torque-converter automatic, yet with shift times that rival those of dual-clutch transmissions. Torque converter lock-up activates in all ranges except when starting off to provide a direct feel, while also supporting fuel efficiency. Shifting via paddles is available, yet many will prefer the advanced electronic control system, which anticipates the driver’s input.
The new LS takes on the new Lexus global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L). The new platform debuted in the LC 500 coupe and now, with a longer wheelbase, underpins the new LS. To enhance center of gravity height and weight distribution, the new LS is offered only as a long wheel base model, with a wide and low design. In creating the new LS, engineers used lightweight materials including ultra-high tensile steel sheet and aluminum to carve over 90 kg (200 pounds) from the current LS platform and body.
Helping to provide the uncanny ride and handling balance in the new LS is the latest generation of a chassis control technology known as Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM). Handling is further enhanced by active stabilizer bars and the Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) System with independent front and rear steering. Additionally, special braces in the engine compartment, stiff aluminum front and rear suspension towers and other features help bolster the strength of key chassis structures.
For suspensions, the 2018 LS adopts the multilink suspension with double ball joints on the upper and lower control arms. To reduce unsprung weight and therefore aid agility and comfort, aluminum is used extensively in the suspension.
Advanced Safety Features are predominantly emphasized on the new LS including a high degree of passive safety for occupant protection. driver assistive technologies, the Lexus Safety System +, the world’s first intuitive pedestrian detection with active steering, and the Lexus CoDrive.