The new LS continues Lexus’s development of its model line-up, following on from the recent introduction of the new GS. It displays an even greater refinement and an evolution of the advanced technologies and superior quality that have been integral to each generation of the vehicle since the original model was launched in 1989. The most obvious changes are to the exterior styling, where the new LS adopts the distinctive Lexus spindle front grille design, but the development of the model goes much deeper to include improved driving dynamics, better sound insulation and more sophisticated and effective preventive safety systems. In all more than 3,000 changes have been made to the current LS, including three world-firsts and 15 “Lexus-first” features and technologies. It has not been a case of change for change’s sake either: Lexus has responded to customer feedback throughout every aspect of the car’s development. The aim has been to raise the bar even higher in terms of refinement, comfort, driving performance, technical excellence and, above all, quality.
The LS’s exterior has undergone a comprehensive redesign. Reflecting the direction next-generation Lexus models will take, it adopts the distinctive spindle front grille arrangement that has become a feature of all new models since the introduction of the CT 200h last year. This underpins a stronger Lexus brand identity, coupled with greater road presence. The sharper, distinctive front-end treatment further serves to broadcast the significant advances made in the new LS’s driving dynamics. In a first for Lexus, all lights – headlights, rear lamps and fog lights – are available with LED technology. The new shape vertical fog lights include new L-shaped, seamless light tube daytime running lights.
Lexus’s work to enhance the dynamic performance of the new LS extends right back to the production line and the introduction of advanced technologies that have increased the car’s body rigidity, including the use of laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding techniques. The result is a more comfortable ride, but with no loss of handling agility. It has also developed the LS’s Adaptive Variable Suspension with a new four-wheel interlock control, which suppresses roll, pitch and heave vibration at all four wheels simultaneously. Damping response has been made smoother and more highly controlled to give a flatter, road-hugging ride. Revisions to the steering deliver noticeable improvements in accuracy and turn-in response, and the braking system has been adjusted to give more immediate power and better pedal feel. Even the length of stroke, angle and contact surface of the brake pedal has been tweaked to make braking more responsive and comfortable.
The new LS gains another Lexus first in the form of its Drive Mode Select, offering five switchable driving modes: Eco, Comfort,Normal, Sport S and Sport S+. These provide easy adjustment of vehicle systems to help deliver the driver’s preferred balance of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics. A number of vehicle systems that were previously operated independently have now been consolidated within the Drive Mode Select for ease of use. Changing modes is quick and easy, using a dial selector on the front console.
The new F Sport grade combines more sporting exterior and interior design elements with genuine dynamic enhancements, including lowering of the ride height by 10mm, Brembo 6-piston calliper front brakes and paddle shift controls. The F Sport sounds the part, too, thanks to an intake sound generator on the engine that amplifies the vibration of the intake pulse and introduces it into the cabin.
Building on Lexus’s established, peerless standards, the new LS lays claim to being among the quietest and most comfortable cars in the world. Comprehensive improvements have been made to engine, road and wind noise sound insulation, and, in a Lexus-first, new hollow chamber noise reduction wheels can be fitted, which cut the amount of noise experienced in the cabin. The seats have been further improved and, in a world first, the front and rear seat climate control and the steering wheel rim heater can be automatically co-ordinated and incorporated in the new Lexus Climate Concierge system, which uses an array of up to 13 sensors around the cabin to deliver prompt and precise heating and cooling, across four cabin zones. The interior is lit by the world’s first Advanced Illumination System with new soft white interior lamps and dynamic instrument panel lighting that moves and changes in intensity in line with vehicle start-up and switch-off.
As well as focusing on greater refinement, the interior also presents further advances in Lexus’s human-machine interface technologies. The award-winning Remote Touch Interface gives easy and intuitive control of the car’s infotainment systems, via a 12.3-inch multimedia display – a screen large enough to present two types of information simultaneously. The Lexus Navigation system benefits from powerful HDD capacity and internet connectivity, making it one of the fastest and most accurate systems on the market. All UK versions will be fitted with a 19-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround System, and the rear seat entertainment system has been upgraded to include a Blu-Ray disc player.
The new LS is fitted with a new Advanced Pre-Crash Safety system with collision avoidance assist. It is designed to help the driver avoid an accident, or if the worst happens, mitigate the consequences of a collision, with vehicles or pedestrians. It can operate across a wide range speeds, and in daylight or darkness. The Lane-Keep Assist system has been upgraded so that it can respond to external factors such as changes in road camber changes and crosswinds. A Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) system is also available.
The new Lexus LS 600h will go on sale in the UK later this year, with further details of performance, specification and pricing to be announced.