What Is It?
The 2018 Lexus LS is the latest incarnation of Lexus’s popular LS luxury sedan. First released as the original Lexus model way back in 1990, the LS has been with Lexus through four generations and nearly 30 years — and now it enters its fifth generation with something new: V6 power.
Indeed, while previous Lexus LS models have exclusively used V8 engines, the new LS changes to keep up with the times. Under the hood is a new twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, which boasts 415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque — far exceeding the 386 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of today’s LS 460, which is powered by a 4.6-liter V8. The result is a 0-to-60 time of around 4.5 seconds, no doubt aided by a new 10-speed automatic transmission. As for naming, the new LS won’t use the “LS 350” name to match the engine’s displacement. Instead, Lexus will call its latest luxury sedan the LS 500. Once again, rear-wheel drive will be standard, with all-wheel drive optional.
Perhaps even more striking than the V6 engine is the LS’s exterior styling, which is a dramatic change from the current model’s aging look. That’s no surprise, as the current LS was released way back in 2007 — and Lexus design has made some radical changes since then. The new version boasts a far more modern appearance, with sharper edges, additional creases and Lexus’s huge spindle grille. As for the overall size, Lexus says the new LS will only be available in long-wheelbase form — a departure from the previous model’s standard- and long-wheelbase offerings.
Inside, the LS also gets dramatically modernized. While the outgoing model used a previous version of Lexus’s interior, the new model touts a more up-to-date — and more upscale — overall look, with its general appearance borrowed from other Lexus models. We especially like the steering wheel in the show car, which is a handsome combination of stitched leather and wood.
Lexus has not yet released pricing for the 2018 LS, but we don’t expect it to be a huge jump over last year’s model, which started at $73,500 with shipping.
When Can You Get It?
Although Lexus has not yet announced a sale date, we suspect the new LS will reach dealers in late 2017.
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The full-size luxury sedan world is a constantly moving target — and when the new LS comes out, we suspect it’ll be at the head of the pack. The V6 engine and the sedan’s overall design shows Lexus’s intent to keep things fresh and innovative, and we strongly suspect the LS will offer other impressive features — like additional technology — when it reaches the market. Lexus has confirmed, for example, that rear passengers can order reclining seats, an ottoman and even Shiatsu massage functionality.
Other Cars to Consider
BMW 7 Series — The full-size BMW 7 Series luxury sedan also touts excellent acceleration, a handsome new interior and available all-wheel drive. The LS will undoubtedly offer more affordable pricing, however.
Jaguar XJ — Although the full-size Jaguar XJ luxury sedan is getting older, it still touts a sporty, luxurious driving experience — and excellent road presence, thanks to a handsome design.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class — The S-Class remains the full-size luxury sedan standard-bearer, touting an impressive interior and a wide array of powertrain options.
Used Bentley Flying Spur — If you want the ultimate in performance-car driving experience and luxury sedan comfort, you’ll want a Flying Spur. Prices are steep, though, so you’ll probably want to consider a used model.