Lexus gives all-new LS radical looks

Toyota’s upscale nameplate hopes to additionally steal attention from punters of the Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera with its fastback-looking flagship saloon.

It looks like a radical makeover in design…

That’s exactly how Lexus wants you to perceive its all-new LS luxury saloon in fifth-generation form. Making its world premiere in Detroit this week, the flagship car was first previewed as the LF-FC in Tokyo over a year ago.

Rather than just taking on conventional four-door limos like the Audi A8, BMW 7-series and Mercedes-Benz S-class, Lexus wants to attract additional attention from fastback-style ones like the Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera.

The new LS features that sassy front grille design found in many of today’s offerings from Lexus. Note the side profile which is probably going to stir some debate among car designers.

Although the car has generous proportions to match the long wheelbase versions of its German rivals, it is 15mm lower in height than ever for a sportier appearance. 

Clearly, Lexus wants to attract the younger generation of car buyers rather than just those nearing retirement age.

Good. Is it built on a new platform?

Yes it is, unlike the fourth-gen model that had two design packages based on the same platform.

The new floorplan is the so-called GA-L (global architecture for luxury vehicles) which first appeared under the LC sports car. However, the wheelbase in the LS has been stretched from the LC’s 2,870mm tally to 3,125mm. 

Lexus hopes that the new LS will be a better and easier car to drive than before thanks to overall weight dropping by some 90kg. 

As well, there are new chassis developments like air suspension, active anti-roll bars, front and rear steering and the so-called VDIM system integrating steering, suspension, brakes and drivetrain – all in the interest of better ride and handling.

A raft of driver-assist tech comes to the LS, too, one of them being pedestrian detection system that can automatically brake and steer the vehicle when necessary.

Speaking of features, the cabin is well-appointed with them. The front seats, for one, has 28-way adjustment and, like the rear seats, can be had with heating, cooling and massaging functions.

Are there any new engines?

The sole drivetrain Lexus has announced so far ahead of sales towards the end of this year is a new downsized 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 developing 415hp and 600Nm of torque. And when mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission sourced from Aisin, the LS500 goes from 0-100kph in 4.5sec.

The previous LS460 came with 380hp 4.6-litre normally aspirated V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission.

A hybrid is set to follow, but it remains to be seen whether it will still be the 5.0-litre V8 (from the LS600h) or the 3.5-litre V6 semi-electric combination, featured in the LC500h.

Hmm, it doesn’t appear that the new LS will be cheaper in Thailand…

That’s probably right because these engines exceed 3,000cc (3.0-litre) and can’t qualify for CO2 scrutiny in Thai excise taxation. As a result, the new LS still faces the 50% maximum rate, meaning that prices will still hover around 10 million baht.

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