Lexus’ new-model onslaught doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, what with the new LX and GS recently being launched and the world turning its eye to Texas next week for the IS’ launch.
The Gauteng motoring media were gathered on Monday and Tuesday at the Munro Boutique Hotel in Houghton to get a look at the only next-generation Lexus LS460 currently in the country.
Under the spotlights, the LS looked like a car made for the spotlight.
The Lexus Spindle Grille (entirely framed in chrome) dominates the front end, which - together with the two levels LED lighting details flanking the grille, doing its job to add more drama - gives the car a handsomely aggro look.
The headlights feature dual high-impact discharge light units in each cluster, while its intelligent adaptive front lighting systems use sensors to move one or both light units automatically to adjust front light coverage based on ambient light, pedestrians and weather conditions.
The rear end features L-shaped light clusters, designed to increase the vehicle’s day- and night-time visibility and to enhance its low-slung appearance.
With its sculpted bonnet, chiselled flanks and completely redesigned aerodynamics, Lexus has achieved the no mean feat of endowing the LS with a drag coefficient of only 0.26 (some quick research showed that it equals and even outdoes its German rivals).
Other exterior changes include a redesigned boot lid that conceals a reverse camera and rear sensors, 19” alloy wheels, restyled side mirrors with integrated LED turn indicators, puddle lights, aero-stabilising fins and standard privacy glass.
One of the greatest interior highlights is the (no-cost) specification of real Japanese Shimamoku trim, which comprises paper-thin layers of wood laminated together. It’s a technique that takes 67 steps and 38 days to complete.
The LS also debuts the world’s first Climate Concierge system. Sensors in the cabin measure the temperature of each zone, as well as the exterior. It adjusts the four-zone climate control, seat heating and cooling and the heated steering wheel accordingly. The air conditioner also ionises and purifies all interior air to remove odours, pollutants and pollen.
The central instrument binnacle features a 5.8” colour screen and a huge 12.3” electro multivision display that takes centre stage above the analogue clock. It is operated by the next generation of Lexus’ remote-touch interface and it contains the majority of the vehicle adjustments, as well as providing the driver (and occupants) with masses of information, including info of more than one feature at a time. It is also host to full satellite navigation with hard drive and traffic information as standard.
Also standard on the LS is Lexus Drive Mode Select, which allows the driver to switch the car’s dynamics between eco/comfort, normal and sport.
Lexus endowed the LS with a sound system which, if tailored to your home, might cost you as much as the car itself. It features a Mark Levinson system with less than 0,1% harmonic distortion and includes 19 speakers, a 15-channel amplifier, true 7,1 surround and connectivity for just about every type of sound unit, including USB and SD inputs, Bluetooth, Blu-ray discs, iPods and MP3 discs.
Other highlights include radar-assisted adaptive cruise control, a powered moon roof and motorised rear and side blinds.
Under the bonnet lies an upgraded 4.6-litre V8 with dual intelligent variable valve timing (Dual VVT-i) that delivers maximum figures of 285kW at 6 400rpm and 493Nm at 4 100rpm. The dash from zero to 100km/h takes 5.7 seconds and top speed is limited to 250km/h. Power is delivered to the real wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission while all four corners ride on adaptive multi-link air suspension.
The LS now also features noise-reducing wheels, which not only create less road noise, but the wheel wells are actually equipped with special noise-channelling chambers that move noise away from the cabin.
As a luxury flagship should, the LS460 features one of the world’s most advanced pre-crash avoidance systems . It monitors the vehicle’s surroundings (including pedestrians), warns the driver of any danger and prepares the safety equipment if an accident seems probable. Ten airbags are also standard, as are blind-spot detection and driver facial and fatigue monitoring.
The Lexus LS460 retails for R1 236 700 and includes a 4-year/100 000km full-maintenance Lexus Distance Plan, as well as warranty with roadside assistance.
Best of all (and a rarity in the premium segments) is that the LS460 has no options list.