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Lexus polarises Detroit with striking new LS


Leaked in a Japanese magazine late last year, Toyota's luxury division Lexus showcased the long awaited fifth generation LS in Detroit on Monday evening.

Replacing the almost eleven year old XF40 generation LS, the new XF50 is claimed to offer a "strong and uniquely Japanese identity" with levels of luxury "that goes far beyond what the world expects from a luxury car".

As previously speculated, the LS rides on the same Global Architecture-Luxury (GA-L) platform as the new LC coupe, but slightly longer with a wheelbase of 3 125 mm, overall length of 5 235 mm and width of 1 900 mm. Dropping the somewhat bland appearance of its predecessor, the XF50 features a more striking look with a coupe-like profile, expansive Spindle Grille front facia, a lowered by 15 mm ride height and optional 19 or 20 inch alloy wheels.

Underneath its skin, the LS is said to offer better handling characterises without sacrificing on comfort despite being longer and wider than the outgoing model.

Tipping the scales at 90 kg lighter thanks to extensive use of aluminium and ultra-high yet lightweight steel, the LS benefits from a revised Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, active stabiliser bars and Lexus' Dynamic Handling System with independent front and rear wheel steering.

In addition, the suspension now employs double ball joints on the upper and lower arms to iron out bumps, while the steering geometry has been optimised for better feedback. Due to its lowered stance, the LS's air suspension will raise automatically when the vehicle is unlocked, as well open the driver's seat bolsters.

Along with a completely redesigned interior confirming to the principle of omotenashi or selfless hospitality, new comfort and tech items consist of a 28-way electric driver's seat with heating and cooling as well as a Shiatsu massage function, raised rear ottoman seat which can recline by 48 degrees and rise by 24, 3D Mark Levinson sound system roof-mounted speakers, 12.3-inch navigation display and as an option, the world's largest (24-inch) colour Heads-Up Display.

New safety consist of a industry first Intuitive Pedestrian Detection system and Active Steering which automatically hits the brakes and steers around the person detected in the line of travel.

Underneath the bonnet, Lexus has dropped the 4.6-litre V8 for a brand new 3.5-litre twin turbo V6 making 310 kW and 600 N.m of torque, driving the rear wheels through an in-house developed torque-converter 10-speed automatic gearbox. More powerful than the V8 it replaces, the engine, despite carrying the 500 moniker, is claimed to push the LS from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds with top speed likely limited to 250 km/h.

Sales in the US are expected to commence at end of this year with South African availability forecasted for 2018.  

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