A twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 replaces the old V8 in the Lexus LS, but develops a healthy 415hp and 442 lb-ft. It sends it all to the rear wheels, though all-wheel drive may arrive in due course, through a newfangled 10-speed automatic transmission. There is an F-Sport trim with 20-inch alloys, larger brakes, and summer performance tires, as well as aggressive styling, inside and out. Lexus remains ahead of the curve with safety tech that actively steers around pedestrians, along with standard blind spot and lane keep assist systems.
For 2018, Lexus hasn’t just updated the LS; they’ve completely reengineered and redesigned it. Now, the standard and only wheelbase is longer overall than even the long-wheelbase of the old one was – which should mean massive room, and hopefully for Lexus, enough luxury to elevate the brand in stature above its German rivals like the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S Class. Of course there’s more big news for 2018 too, with Lexus finally getting onboard the turbocharging bandwagon, there’s an all-new twin-turbo V6, engineered specifically for the LS – and that means no more V8.
If Lexus’s previous interiors have been luxurious, then the 2018 LS is downright regal. Thanks to active noise cancellation using the speaker system, the cabin is now quieter than ever, as if plenty sound deadening wasn’t enough. Any occupants will be hard pressed to say they can’t find an ideal seating position as the driver and front passenger seats boast 28-way power adjustment, with heating, cooling, and massage functionality. The rear seats also boast heating, cooling, and massage, and can recline up to 48-degrees – indicative of just how much space there is in the cabin.
Infotainment is still controlled by Lexus’s trackpad, though it now boasts a larger surface area and can be operated by Smartphone-like commands such as pinching and swiping.
Ambient lighting and several wood trim options add further luxury, giving the 2018 LS a real shot at outdoing the S Class for interior opulence.
Lexus care little for sporting character in this segment – and I can’t help but agree, these are luxury limos, not sports cars. As such, the ride is as plush as can be, with adaptive damping mated to front and rear multilink suspension, the latter being shared with the Lexus LC500. There are sport modes that firm up the suspension and monitor body movements for enhanced stability control, but comfort mode is where you’ll be happiest.
The LS is now lower than before, aiding handling and minimizing body roll, but optional air suspension can raise the ride height for easy ingress, in addition to adding a magic carpet-like ride to the package. Optional variable ratio steering further minimizes effort on the driver’s part, by making inputs required light and effortless, all speed depending. The LS also offers optional rear wheel steering to help make the length easier to maneuver.
The old LS460’s name was indicative of its 4.6-liter V8. But the new model, the LS500, ushers out high displacement V8s for a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6. With 415 horsepower and 442lb-ft of torque, it improves vastly on the old V8’s figures. It’s mated to rear wheel drive and a new 10-speed automatic gearbox, and Lexus claim it’ll do 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds. The new drivetrain also sees improvements in economy, with the EPA rating highway consumption at 28MPG, up 4MPG from the previous V8-powered model.
The Lexus LS offers a standard raft of features, with high-end audio and Smartphone connectivity. But there’s also innovative new technology like tri-beam LED headlights and a new intuitive pedestrian detection system that monitors pedestrians at the roadside and will brake and even steer out of their way. Of course the standard adaptive cruise control with forward collision avoidance applies, as does lane departure warning, blind spot and lane keep assist. The LS hasn’t yet been crash tested, but expect it to perform brilliantly with innovative new safety tech on its side.
Forget performance, in this segment luxury matters above all else, and Lexus look to have nailed it. Think of this, not as a car with some extra room, but as a lounge-cum-office on wheels, with all the amenities of a 5-star spa at your beck and call.