“Not only will the LS symbolise the Lexus brand, it will become the definitive new-generation luxury car embodying Japanese tradition and culture,” said Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the new LS. “As such, this global pinnacle must go far beyond what the world expects from a luxury car.”
Inside and out, the new LS reflects a strong, uniquely Japanese identity and approach to luxury. Yet, the LS was designed to be the brand’s latest global citizen, available in about 90 countries.
Longer and lower than the saloon 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 stunning new Lexus LC500 coupe, will offer a more dynamic experience on the road while further elevating renowned Lexus comfort.
A common thread going through all LS models remains: omotenashi, the concept of Japanese hospitality. Applied to a luxury automobile, it means taking care of the driver and passengers, anticipating their needs, attending to their comfort and helping to protect them from hazards.
More than ever before, luxury saloon drivers demand greater handling agility and performance feel without sacrificing comfort. It’s one of the most difficult balances to achieve in a vehicle, yet the new Lexus global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L) meets the challenge. The new platform debuted in the LC500 coupe and now, with a longer wheelbase, underpins the new LS. To enhance centre of gravity height and weight distribution, the new LS is offered only as a long-wheelbase model, with a wide and low design.
The GA-L platform is the stiffest in Lexus history, setting the stage for enhanced handling, ride smoothness and cabin quietness. The 3124mm wheelbase is 33mm longer than the current LS long-wheelbase model.
For both high power and excellent fuel efficiency, Lexus designed an all-new 3.5-litre V6 engine specifically for the new LS, with twin turbos developed through the company’s F1 technology. This new engine in the LS is indicative of the more dynamic approach being taken by Lexus, offering V8-level power without sacrificing fuel economy, all while minimising noise and vibration.
The new LS engine offers the output one would expect in a flagship saloon: 415bhp of power and 599Nm of torque, sizeable gains over the current LS460’s 4.6-litre V8. The long stroke and optimised stroke-to-bore ratio contribute to high-speed combustion and the efficiency of the twin turbochargers, which assist the rear-drive LS with a projected 0-100km/h time of about 4.5 seconds.
The first-ever 10-speed automatic transmission for a luxury vehicle, having already debuted in the Lexus LC500, is also used in the new LS flagship saloon. It is a torque-converter automatic, yet with shift times that rival those of dual-clutch transmissions. The wide bandwidth afforded by 10 closely spaced ratios is ideal for all forms of driving, helping to provide an optimal gear for all conditions.
Creating a new standard of flagship luxury 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.
Read our 2010 towkays’ comparison of Lexus LS460L, Mercedes-Benz S350L and BMW 740Li.