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