Tech-laden 2018 Lexus LS flagship debuts in Detroit


A flagship model is supposed to push a brand forward with new technology and style. And yet the Lexus LS hasn't received a complete redesign since 2006. That all changes for 2018 as Lexus is redesigning its flagship and lading it up with new technology and engineering.

The engineering starts with the new GA-L platform that it shares with the stunning new LC sports coupe. Lexus says the platform lowers the car's center of gravity and centralizes the mass. Additional high-strength steel, as well as aluminum, have been used to remove about 200 pounds from the platform. Braces in the engine compartment and stiff front and rear suspension towers add strength to the structure.

The lone engine at launch is a new twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 415 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. It's possible a version of this engine eventually ends up in the new Toyota sports car likely to revive the Supra nameplate.

2018 Lexus LS

2018 Lexus LS

Enlarge Photo

In the LS, the engine is mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission (also shared with the LC) that Lexus claims can shift as quickly as a dual-clutch transmission. Lexus quotes a 0-60 mph run of 4.5 seconds.

Optional suspension components include active sway bars, air suspension, and rear-axle steering.

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Among the new tech features are a new color head-up display that Lexus says is the largest on the market, an access mode for the available air suspension that lowers the car and opens up the seat bolsters, and a pedestrian detection system with active steering that can detect a pedestrian in the lane ahead and steer around them while staying in the lane.

The styling is a considerable step forward. The car is longer, lower, and wider than the outgoing model. Those dimensions give the car a more imposing stance, and the added length allows the greenhouse to extend to the rear in a teardrop shape with six windows instead of four. Details include a bold version of the Lexus spindle grille outlined in chrome, headlights with wing-shaped LED signatures, and taillights with Lexus L signatures.

2018 Lexus LS

2018 Lexus LS

Enlarge Photo

Inside, the LS features organic shapes influenced by Japanese wood working patterns. Wood, metal, and leather combine to create an upscale environment, and ambient lighting adds a touch of class at night. The dashboard has a 12.3-inch screen for the Lexus Remote Touch control interface, which now supports handwritten inputs. Also standard are active noise cancellation and leather upholstery.

Interior options will include a 3D Mark Levinson sound system with in-ceiling speakers; 28-way power adjustable front seats with heating, cooling, and massage functions; rear seats with heating, cooling, and a massage function, plus a right side rear seat ottoman with a reclining seat.

The 2018 Lexus LS is scheduled to go on sale late in 2017.

For more from the Detroit auto show, head to our dedicated hub.

 
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