Though some find the Lexus LS series a bit on the plain side for a flagship luxury sedan, there are also those that just can't get over its pleasing lines. Whatever camp you fall into, you're unlikely to change your mind for the 2010 model year, as the latest facelift shows little has changed.
The car, both in standard and long wheelbase forms, gains a range of technological and styling improvements for the 2010 model year, changes that were unveiled for the first time at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show.
With redesigned seating, updated equipment, a new ECO driving mode and new brakes, the 2010 Lexus LS 600h and the long wheelbase 2010 Lexus LS 600h L achieve several advances in comfort and driving dynamics.
First and foremost is the new ECO driving mode, which modifies the throttle action and performance of the air conditioning system to boost fuel economy. Throttle response to aggressive inputs to the throttle are essentially reduced, promoting smoother driving and putting less load on the engine.
When the outside temperature is 20 degrees Celsius or higher, the air conditioning system automatically kicks in to the more efficient air recirculation mode. Also, the system will not signal for an increase in engine speed to boost power when the vehicle is at idle.
Lexus has also repackaged the hybrid system’s battery into two sections of 6 and 14 modules, reducing its overall size and freeing up more luggage space in the boot.
The end result is a 25.3 mpg fuel economy rating from the car’s 439 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque hybrid system.
Also new for 2010 are a set of upgraded Brembo brakes, with 15-inch ventilated front disc brakes and six-piston calipers.
Inside, the instrument binnacle has been revised to include a customizable full color LCD display, as well as new switchgear and air vents. The range of interior color and trim combinations now includes light grey semi-aniline leather upholstery as well.
The seats have also been updated with inflator operated active headrests and a new return/away function for the driver ’s seat and the car is now available with the Lexus Rear Seat Relaxation Pack for the first time in conjunction with a five-seat configuration.
To set apart the new 2010 model from its predecessor, the flagship Lexus sports a new four-bar grille and front bumper with redesigned air intakes and fog-lamps. The headlamps also have a new running light design and are finished in Lexus hybrid blue.
In profile, the car has a new one-piece rocker molding and new door mirrors that incorporate twin LED turn signals and puddle lamps, with chrome highlights.
Further new details include a lower bumper design with vertical fins to smooth the airflow from beneath the car. The range of exterior colours has also been increased, with Mesa Red, Vanilla Mist, Richmond Green and Atlantic Blue newly available, together with the hybrid-exclusive Crystal Sapphire.
One last update is an automatic high beam system that uses a camera sensor in the rear view mirror to detect oncoming traffic, street lamps and vehicles travelling ahead and automatically switches the headlamp high beam on and off according to driving conditions.
Pricing should remain similar to the $106,035 sticker of the 2009 model.