The fifth-generation LS is longer and lower than the current model, using an extended version of Toyota’s new global architecture for luxury vehicles, dubbed GA-L.
Lexus said the new sedan strikes a difficult balance between greater handling agility and comfort. It does that through an active suspension system that uses braking, steering, powertrain and suspension to adjust to different driving conditions.
Engineers shaved 200 pounds from the current LS platform and body and mated its new turbocharged engine to a quick-shifting 10-speed transmission that powers the sedan to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds, Lexus said. The new engine, rated at 415 hp, allows the LS to deliver power similar to an eight-cylinder engine while improving fuel economy and minimizing noise and vibration.
The current-generation LS is powered by a 4.6-liter V-8 that generates 386 hp.
Despite thin sales in a shrinking segment, Lexus sees the LS as critical to its lineup.
“The LS is the flagship of the Lexus brand,” chief designer Kouichi Suga said. “More than any other model, it embodies the history and image of Lexus and serves as a symbol for everything the brand stands for.”
Although a traditional three-box sedan, the LS has the silhouette of a four-door coupe that Lexus believes holds strong appeal for younger luxury customers, the company said.
It comes with a special rendition of the massive spindle grille with a texture that Lexus says “seemingly changes in different light.”
Inside, Lexus created a sumptuous interior with details such as 28-way power front seats that feature heating, cooling and massage and interior lighting inspired by Japanese lanterns. The choices of wood patterns for the interior trim include Art Wood Organic, Art Wood Herringbone and Gray Sapele Wood with Aluminum.
The LS will go on sale in the U.S. near the end of 2017.