These are the first official pictures of the new Lexus LS, a car that promises to take its reputation for luxury, refinement and intelligent use of advanced technologies to new heights.
The new range – which includes the full hybrid LS 600h and marks the return of the V8-powered LS 460 – will reach showrooms before the end of 2012, offering customers more choice and higher quality than ever before.
There will be the added attraction of the first F Sport version of the LS, styled and tuned for customers who want a more involving driving experience.
The new LS is no simple facelift. Designers and engineers have made more than 3,000 changes, including a series of world-firsts, to produce a model that is worthy of its flagship status in every aspect.
The most obvious difference is in the styling. On the outside you will notice the LS gains its own version of Lexus’s trademark spindle-shaped grille as part of a strong new front-end treatment. You may spot the lights have changed, too. The LS 600h is the first car in the world to use LEDs for all its exterior lights, including the headlights and distinctive L-shaped single-tube daytime running lights.
Overall the LS has a more rigid body shell, thanks in part to advanced new welding and panel joining techniques on the production line. The result is a more comfortable ride, with no loss of handling agility.
Extensive new sound insulation measures have been introduced throughout the car, so that it can rightly lay claim to being one of the quietest cars you can buy today. Customers can even specify a new type of alloy wheel with a hollow chamber design that helps cut road noise.
In the cabin there’s a new dashboard design that rationalises controls and instruments in distinct zones, including the market’s-largest 12.3-inch multimedia screen, first seen in the new Lexus GS. More sophisticated climate control, sequenced LED lighting in different tones and brightness levels, more comfortable and supportive seats and an even more sophisticated on-board entertainment system – complete with Blu-Ray player feature in the want-for-nothing specification list.
Lexus was first to the market with its advanced Pre-Crash Safety system and with the new LS it has taken the technology even further with a collision avoidance function that increases the driver’s chances of avoiding an accident. The Lane Keep Assist has been fine-tuned as well, so that it can counter the effects of crosswinds and changing road cambers.
The steering has been adjusted for better response and feedback and the brakes are more powerful, too, with new Brembo front callipers part of the F Sport package. Even the shape, surface and action of the brake pedal have been scrutinised to improve performance and ease of use.
On the rear-wheel drive LS 460 there is a new Torsen limited slip differential, and new paddle-shift controls that pleasingly blip the throttle when the driver makes manual downshifts on the eight-speed auto transmission.
The all-wheel drive full hybrid LS 600h remains the most powerful luxury hybrid on the market, its Lexus Hybrid Drive system further refined to achieve a nine per cent drop in CO2 emissions.
Drivers can adjust vehicle settings to suit their preference through five new drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+. All it takes is a simple control adjustment on the centre console to set the car up for the desired balance of economy, comfort, performance and handling.
In 1983 Lexus executives were challenged to create “the best luxury car in the world”. Six years later the ground-breaking LS400 rewrote the luxury rule book and since its debut, each LS generation has set new benchmarks for refinement and performance. The new LS looks set to sustain this impressive tradition.
Full details of UK technical and equipment specifications and prices will be announced nearer the on-sale date, so remember to visit the Lexus blog or Lexus.co.uk regularly to keep up-to-date with the latest news.