Lexus Launches new Flagship LS Sedan

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The all-new Lexus LS flagship sedan, launched in Australia today, delivers premium levels of powertrain smoothness, spaciousness, handling, ride comfort, safety, craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The fifth-generation LS is based on a new rear-drive platform and features a bold design with a coupe-like silhouette.

Two powertrains are offered, including the first turbocharged petrol engine offered in the LS and the first 10-speed transmission in the segment. 

The powertrains are 310kW twin-turbo V6 LS 500 and multi-stage hybrid system LS 500h (combining V6 petrol and electric power for a maximum 264kW).

Pricing is identical for LS 500 and LS 500h, beginning at $190,500 for F Sport, with a $5000 premium for Sports Luxury. There are eight premium hand-crafted interior ornamentation options for Sports Luxury models, four of which command a premium of $9,880. 

Lexus also expanded the customer care for which it is renowned, announcing an unconditional 10-year complimentary roadside assistance program to make ownership even easier and more beneficial.

Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson said the new LS 500 draws on the proud history of its predecessors.

“The new Lexus flagship is destined to repeat LS history as a car that redefines and advances automotive luxury expectations and customer satisfaction,” he said.

“With multiple world and Lexus firsts, it breaks new ground in design, technology and performance. More than any other model, the LS embodies the history and image of Lexus and serves as a symbol for everything the brands represents – a luxury lifestyle brand that offers amazing experiences.”

Mr Thompson said Japanese aesthetics, drawing on the skills of master craftsmen and the “omotenashi” or hospitality principle, reflected the human-centred engineering and attention to detail inherent with the Lexus brand.

“This human touch gives the Lexus brand its soul and sets it apart from our competitors,” he said. LS chief engineer Toshio Asahi said the challenge for Lexus with the fifth-generation model was not simply to go beyond the achievements of the past, but to re-imagine what a global flagship sedan should be.

“In doing so, four key pillars underpinned the development of the new LS – brave design, Takumi craftsmanship, exhilarating performance and imaginative technology,” he said.

Foundation for the new design and chassis was the GA-L platform that allowed Lexus to extend the wheelbase, provide a spacious interior, and achieve an ideal front-rear weight balance and the lowest centre of gravity in class for greater agility and comfort.

The latest Lexus Safety System+ includes a pre-collision system, all-speed radar active cruise control, lane keep assist and adaptive high-beam system to control the LED headlamps.

Every Lexus LS is equipped with blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, pop-up bonnet and tyre pressure monitoring system. 

Advanced new front and rear seat designs offer class-leading levels of adjustment and sophisticated new massage functions. 

In-cabin technology includes a 12.3-inch multi-media screen, head-up display with segment-leading size, Mark Levinson 23-speaker audio and auto-closing doors.

Performance benefits include standard Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), air suspension with access mode control and adaptive variable suspension.

LS 500 F Sport is the outright performance model, equipped with the V6 turbo, a world-first six-step VDIM system, four-wheel steering and active stabiliser bars to provide an even higher level of stability control while maintaining ride comfort.

F Sport features include unique exterior and interior treatments, 20-inch alloys with a front-rear tyre size differential, high-performance brakes, variable gear-ratio steering, dynamic rear steering and active stabiliser bars. 

Sports Luxury additional features include four-zone climate control with rear cooler, 22-way power rear seats with passenger-side ottoman and seven massage programs, rear-seat entertainment and noise-dissipating 20-inch alloy wheels.

‘Get a Sports Car to Feel Good’

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orget romance, fine dining or an epic boxset binge – new preliminary research reveals that driving a sports car on a daily basis is among the best ways to boost your sense of wellbeing and emotional fulfilment.

The study measured “buzz moments” – peak thrills that play a vital role in our overall wellness – as volunteers cheered on their favourite football team, watched a gripping Game of Thrones episode, enjoyed a passionate kiss with a loved one or took an intense salsa dancing class. Only the occasional highs of riding a roller coaster ranked higher than the daily buzz of a commute in a sports car.

Working with neuroscientists and designers, Ford brought the research to life with the unique Ford Performance Buzz Car: a customised Ford Focus RS incorporating wearable and artificial intelligence technology to animate the driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior.  

“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day,” said Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine.” 

Study participants who sat behind the wheel of a Ford Focus RS, Focus ST or Mustang experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute; this compared with an average of 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining or sharing a passionate kiss.

For the research, Ford took one Focus RS and worked with Designworks to create the Buzz Car:

From concept, design and installation to software development and programming, the Buzz Car took 1,400 man-hours to create. Each “buzz moment” experienced by the driver – analysed using a real-time “emotional AI” system developed by leading empathic technology firm Sensum – produces a dazzling animation across almost 200,000 LED lights integrated into the car. The Buzz Car also features: High-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC; 110 x 500-lumen daylight-bright light strips; 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDs.

Driver state research

Researchers at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany are already looking into how vehicles can better understand and respond to drivers’ emotions. As part of the EU‑funded ADAS&ME project, Ford experts are investigating how in-car systems may one day be aware of our emotions – as well as levels of stress, distraction and fatigue – providing prompts and warnings, and could even take control of the car in emergency situations.

“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” said Dr Marcel Mathissen, research scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”