Lexus bows in with a brand-new LS. Strikingly designed and lavishly equipped, how does it fare against the recently facelifted Mercedes-benz S-class?
SPARE a thought for the premium manufacturers ... Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Lexus have gamely developed generations of grand saloons, only to see them defeated by Mercedes-benz S-classes in countless comparative tests. Across each generation – but especially the last two, including this W222 variant – Stuttgart’s luxury flagship has endured with its unparalleled blend of ride comfort, refinement and quality. Some have come close – most notably, the contem- porary 7 Series – while others have chosen a path less travelled to distinguish themselves from the luxury-car template set by the S-class (the quirky XJ, for example, and, more successfully, Porsche’s Panamera).
Another vehicle that’s chosen to sculpt a distinct identity is the latest Lexus LS. Previous incarnations have often felt like carbon copies of the Benz – unashamedly so in the case of 1989’s first generation – but this newest XF50 model returns the focus to its Far Eastern roots and taps its inspiration from the Nipponese hospitality concept of omotenashi, emphasising human-centric engineering in its craftsmanship, design and dynamism. That’s according to the official press release, and they’re claims we’re testing here by comparing the LS500 against the S560L.
On paper, they’re evenly matched. The 5 235 mm long Lexus is available in one body style, while in our market Mercedes-benz offers only long-wheelbase versions of the recently facelifted S, with the