2018 LEXUS LS

TOTALLY REDESIGNED

I don’t know about you, but I don’t care much for the look of the redesigned Lexus LS. I have a problem with its humongous grill and zigzag headlights. The interior has its drawbacks too, which I’ll get into later.

The 2018 LS is new from the ground up. It rides on a new platform and is slightly longer and wider than its predecessor. It comes in only one size this year, there’s no stretch version. Viewed in profile, the ’18 model outshines its predecessor. The new semi-fastback styling conveys a measure of sleekness to the large 17-foot body. Up front, the grill gets different types of mesh, depending on the model you buy.

Inside, the designers seemed to try too hard to be cutting-edge. Free-floating armrests, unusual decor on the doors and the wire-like lines stretching across the dash—I don’t get it. A further example is the touch-pad infotainment system. It’s eye-catching, but requires that you take your eyes off the road for too long when operating it.

On the plus side, there is no shortage of luxury. The infotainment display is very large (12.3 inches), and projects excellent graphics. The front seats adjust 28 different ways, and come with heating, cooling and massage functions. In the back, an “Executive” reclining seat can be ordered that will also give you a massage. Furthermore, a 23-speaker Mark Levinson sound system simulates a concert hall in your car.

Under the hood, Lexus’ trusty V-8 engine has given way to a more powerful twin-turbo V-6. This motor pumps out 416 horsepower, and is coupled with a 10-speed automatic (except in the Hybrid model). Lexus says that it will rush you up to 60 in 4.6 seconds, and I have no doubt about that. This is an exceptionally smooth drivetrain that delivers effortless power, however, the gas mileage is nothing to rave about at just 17 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

The LS comes in the standard 500 model, F Sport and Hybrid. (The Hybrid will be reviewed separately.) My test car was an F Sport, a new model for 2018. It had the same amount of horsepower as the 500, but came with features, such as adaptive dampers, air suspension with active sway bars and rear wheel steering to optimize its handling on the road. All these are controlled by the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. Drivers can select various driving modes that include Normal, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ to suit their driving style.

Out on the road, all the advanced handling systems mesh together to deliver an excellent driving experience. The F-Sport is not reluctant to tackle twisty roads. In fact, it handles like a midsize sedan, rather than a two and half ton cruiser. The steering is taut and precise, and body-lean in corners is minimal. The brakes are strong. Yet, at the same time, the ride is well controlled and compliant. This car will be great to drive on long trips.

The 2018 LS models will start arriving at dealers in February. Pricing was not available at the time of publication.

 

SNAPSHOT REVIEW

Controversial Styling

Loads of Luxury

Excellent Driving Dynamics

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