Lexus LS350

Lux­ury and per­for­mance meet in the Lexus LS, writes alethia tiang

Prestige (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

it started out as the “F1 project” in 1983, and came to fruition in Jan­uary 1989. The Lexus LS, the Ja­panese au­tomaker’s first-ever model, is in its fifth gen­er­a­tion with a bold new de­sign and more to of­fer.

For Lexus, this lux­ury sedan sets the tone in ev­ery way and re­flects the brand’s Ja­panese iden­tity and ap­proach to the finer things in life. As Koichi Suga, its chief de­signer, says, “The Lexus LS is the flag­ship of Lexus that em­bod­ies the his­tory and im­age of the brand, and de­fines what the brand stands for.”

The new gen­er­a­tion comes in three pow­er­trains: LS 350 with a V6 nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine; LS 500 with a twin tur­bocharged V6; and LS 500h hy­brid.

Even for its size, the LS 350 base model is no slouch. Un­der the hood lies a V6 unit that prom­ises 310 horses and 380Nm of torque, prov­ing there’s so much more life in nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gines. Zero to 100km/h is achieved in 6.5s — not quite a speed­ing bul­let but nei­ther is it slug­gish. By com­par­i­son, com­peti­tors like the BMW 730Li com­plete the cen­tury sprint in 6.4s while the Audi A8 and the Mercedes-benz S-class do it in un­der 6s.

The LS still de­liv­ers what it is known for: Near­si­lence. Acous­tics in the cabin en­sure peace and seren­ity for all on-board. Road noise and en­gine rum­ble will not get in the way of that im­por­tant busi­ness call or a much-needed power nap be­tween meet­ings, thanks to an Ac­tive Noise Con­trol that uses an­tiphase sounds from the au­dio speak­ers to can­cel noise fre­quen­cies. This sets the stage for those who en­joy driv­ing to good mu­sic. A 3D Mark Levin­son Sur­round Sound Sys­tem means you can ex­pect a one-of-a-kind au­dio ex­pe­ri­ence.

With this car, Lexus took full ad­van­tage of the GA-L plat­form to pro­duce a more dy­namic ap­pear­ance by go­ing longer, lower and wider. Head­lamps have been fash­ioned into a more ag­gres­sive ex­pres­sion, while its sportier per­son­al­ity comes through the bold spin­dle grille mesh with a pat­tern that took de­sign­ers 6 months to cre­ate — a clear in­di­ca­tion of how much de­tail went into the car’s de­sign.

Such metic­u­lous­ness can also be seen in the car’s in­te­ri­ors. The LS fea­tures Art Wood, which is dis­tin­guished by its unique wood grain that re­sem­bles flick­er­ing flames. To cre­ate this, Ja­panese master crafts­men layer wood over spe­cial moulds, then shave it off to ac­quire the var­i­ous pat­terns and

thick­ness to pro­duce an orig­i­nal Lexus wood grain pat­tern.

Other cul­tural in­fer­ences can be seen in the dash­board’s flow­ing lines, which run the car’s width and are in­spired by the Ja­panese bam­boo whisk and strings of the tra­di­tional koto mu­si­cal in­stru­ment. The cabin light­ing en­com­passes the Lexus ethos of omote­nashi (hospitality), gen­tly il­lu­mi­nat­ing the space for a wel­com­ing and re­lax­ing at­mos­phere.

“We wanted to in­te­grate el­e­ments of Ja­panese culture and the time­less ap­peal of Ja­panese crafts­man­ship into the artis­tic side of Lexus,” says Suga. “At the same time, we wanted to cre­ate a car that evokes an emo­tional re­sponse that draws peo­ple in from the very first in­stant.”

To stay ahead of the field, the LS is also packed with safety and as­sis­tance fea­tures. This is the first model in Sin­ga­pore with the Lexus Safety Sys­tem+ (LSS+). Sup­ported by a range of ac­tive sys­tems to help mit­i­gate ac­ci­dents, LSS+ works by com­bin­ing in­for­ma­tion from its om­ni­di­rec­tional sen­sors around the car to avoid col­li­sions. You’ll have all the tech­nol­ogy re­quired to keep a safe dis­tance when cruis­ing, to avoid a col­li­sion ahead by brak­ing, and to sense on­com­ing cars as you’re back­ing out of a park­ing space. The car is equipped with 12 airbags too.

“More than any­thing else, we want ev­ery­one to feel our pas­sion and com­mit­ment when they ex­pe­ri­ence the LS,” Suga con­cludes. With the amount of pre­ci­sion and at­ten­tion to de­tail that went into this limou­sine, Lexus LS ap­pears headed in the right di­rec­tion.

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