New Lexus LS Raises Refinement, Comfort, Technology Benchmarks
by Bennett Oghifo
Lexus has further raised the standard of refinement, Takumi craftsmanship and imaginative technology with the updated LS flagship sedan on sale January 20.
Meticulous engineering improvements, more opulent interiors and broader application of advanced technologies have created an impeccable new high watermark for luxury and drivability.
The wide-ranging upgrades arrive with pricing aligned for LS 500 and hybrid LS 500h F Sport variants from $195,9531 and for Sports Luxury variants from $201,0781 – representing increases of less than one per cent.
Dynamic enhancements dictated by the brand’s Lexus Driving Signature have been complemented by elevated levels of comfort, quietness and overall refinement.
This philosophy applies meticulous tuning and thoughtful component and software updates that drive Lexus models to a new standard of vehicle control, balance and driver confidence.
Supreme smoothness, refinement and effortless power for the 264kW 3.5-litre normally aspirated V6 hybrid powertrain in the LS 500h have benefited from painstaking attention to detail.
Lexus engineers have improved drivability through its multi-stage hybrid system by increasing the level of assistance provided by the high-voltage lithium-ion battery to the electric motor and by expanding its range of operation.
Shift software has been retuned to take advantage of more electric power appearing at a lower rpm, resulting in smoother and more linear acceleration in city driving and the need for less throttle pressure when negotiating twisty or hilly roads.
The expanded role for the hybrid battery also makes for quieter operation.
The 310kW 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine in the LS 500 gains a new lip design on the upper surface of the pistons to reduce noise when the engine is cold.
Dual variable valve timing adopts hydraulic control on the inlet side to reduce weight while maintaining the engine’s strong torque over a broad rev range.
Further weight reductions have been achieved with a new one-piece intake manifold made from aluminium instead of cast iron.
Suspension modifications are designed to produce an even smoother, more comfortable ride while maintaining the model’s dynamic character.
The Adaptive Variable Suspension employs a revised linear solenoid and enlarged flow path inside the control valve, reducing damping force for greater comfort over rough surfaces while also supporting better steering response and vehicle stability.
Further elevating its status as a luxury flagship, Lexus has enhanced imaginative technology in the LS by offering greater convenience and driver-assistance safety features.
A new widescreen 12.3-inch touch-display is now elegantly integrated to provide effortless control of the multimedia system – complementing the stunning audio of the 23-speaker Mark Levinson®2 surround sound system.
Comprehensive safety features now include a digital rear-view mirror for the first time in a Lexus. Its large display presents real-time images from the reversing camera, providing improved vision in all weather and lighting conditions while ensuring the view is not obstructed by headrests or passengers.
Functionality of the advanced Lexus Safety System+ has been enhanced with the addition of intersection turning assist3, first introduced in the new Lexus IS.
This system is designed to provide alerts and, if necessary, automatic braking if it detects an oncoming vehicle when turning right or a pedestrian approaching from the front when turning right or left.
F Sport variants gain additional driver-assist features previously exclusive to Sports Luxury variants – active steering assist, speed reduction on curves with the Lane Tracing Assist system, front cross-traffic alert, and a radar that can detect vehicles approaching diagonally in front of the vehicle.3.
The LS also joins the IS with standard Lexus Connected Services. They include Automatic Collision Notification4 – the ability to generate an automatic emergency call to a 24/7 Lexus Emergency Call Centre and relay the location of the vehicle in the event of a collision that requires intervention, or if an airbag deploys. If the occupants are unable to communicate, the agent will automatically treat the call as an emergency, contact “Triple Zero” (000) to describe the situation, and request that assistance be sent to the location.
Occupants can also request emergency assistance via an SOS button5 on the overhead console. The answering agent will determine the vehicle’s location, assess the situation, and coordinate with “Triple Zero” (000) when required.
If the vehicle is reported stolen, Lexus Connected Services can assist authorities to locate the vehicle via the Stolen Vehicle Tracking service6.
The new Lexus LS can be distinguished by its elegant new grille, front bumper and taillight accents, as well as new high-grade LED headlights featuring advanced BladeScan™2 adaptive high-beam technology for more precise illumination.
Sports Luxury grades feature a “hollow chamber” alloy wheel design that lowers unsprung mass and reduces tyre noise.
Their standard 20-inch wheels are shod with a new run-flat tyre design, where the vertical spring rate of the tyre has been lowered to reduce the impact of road surface irregularities and even further harmonise the renowned ride comfort of the LS.
Inside the LS Sports Luxury cabin, Lexus has applied a new level of precision Japanese craftsmanship to further refine the superlative comfort offered by the leather-accented, power-adjustable front and rear outboard seating.
New multi-layered urethane seat cushioning features a top layer of low-resilience material that adapts to the occupant’s body providing increased softness. A deeper seam between the cushion and side support allows greater flex in the upholstery and excellent vibration absorption.
This application of exquisite Takumi craftsmanship can be seen in the world-first use of a combination of platinum foil and Nishijin-ori textiles as one of several opulent extra-cost options for the interior door trim7.
Platinum foil around the door handles is complemented by a traditional organic woven fabric, creating a delicate shine across the interior surface of the doors.
Another available trim combination combines hand-pleated upholstery and exquisite Kiriko cut-glass ornamentation.
Lexus also offers a new exterior silver-hued paint finish7 across the range, Lustre Shadow, that incorporates aluminium flakes in a smooth mirror-like finish.
Lexus Australia Chief Executive Scott Thompson said the finest design, craft and engineering talent have produced a new LS sedan that once again resets benchmarks as the Japanese luxury lifestyle brand’s flagship sedan.
“Lexus experts have pored over every detail of the new LS, raising its performance and driver engagement, ride comfort, quietness and technologies to new heights,” Mr Thompson said.
“Complemented by our exclusive Encore Platinum Owner benefits program, the new LS delivers immaculate choice for the most demanding Lexus customers.”