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2018 Lexus LS: Detroit Auto Show

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.

How Much?

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.

See all 2017 Detroit Auto Show articles

Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Why no pictures of the interior, though? Of course I can Google it, but that’s all one really cares about in a full-size, pillow-soft Lexus rich grandma-mobile. Lexus is trying to change their image by offering sports cars and sport sedans, but outside of New York’s most hipstery neighborhoods where they’re driven ironically, how many Lexii with fewer than 4 doors or an F badge have you ever seen in the wild? Lexii are purchased in spite of their styling, not because of it. In a Lexus, all I really care about is the quality and design of the wood and leather my arthritic hands will be touching, as the car glides down the road like the land yacht it is with no thought given by me to how it drives or how many dead pedestrians the ride quality is hiding from my severely nearsighted eyes.

  2. I for one, am mesmerized by that grille. I could just pull up a chair and look at those intersecting lines for hours. What i cannot stand however, is the Tesla-like gran-coupe profile with the short rear deck. I prefer the classic three-box that the current generation is/was. Also, it better have a traction control that can be turned off. 

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