Ask anyone about a premium carmaker’s name and you’d probably end up hearing Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audi. You might even encounter names from other European countries like Jaguar from UK or Volvo from Sweden. The thing is, when we think about premium car marques, we seldom trouble our heads to come up with a non-European name. If we really try to think of a name that has its roots outside Europe and is in the same league, Lexus will surely pop up. At the 2017 Detroit Motor Show, it has taken the wraps off the all-new LS 500 premium sedan which will try to make its case against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Audi A8.
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, as per Lexus, there is a lot going on in the new-gen LS 500. The company says that the fifth-generation LS symbolizes the brand’s image and that it will become the definitive new-generation luxury car that encapsulates Japanese tradition and culture. Is that really the case or not, we will only find out when it comes to our shores. Meanwhile, let’s look at what Lexus LS 500 is all about.
The Boring Stuff
I’ll keep it short! The new LS500 is built on the company’s all-new global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L). The rear-wheel drive platform is borrowed from the LC 500 Coupe and then extended to accommodate the larger body. Lexus says that thanks to the GA-L platform, the new LS is longer, wider and lower to the ground. It, Lexus further adds, is the stiffest platform in the company’s history and is tuned to for enhanced handling, ride, smoothness and cabin quietness.
The Numbers Game
There is no other way to put it - the new LS 500 boasts F1 tech! It is powered by a brand-new 3.5-litre V6 engine which is mated to two all-new turbochargers developed through the mother company’s (Toyota) F1 technology. This ingenuity helps produce 415PS of power and 599Nm of torque. Transmission duties are assigned to a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is also borrowed from the LC 500 coupe. Lexus has gone for a torque-converter tech instead of a dual-clutch system. The setup is potent enough to crack the 0-100kmph sprint in 4.5 seconds, with rear-wheel drive. Dimensions-wise, the wheelbase on the new-gen LS 500 is 33mm longer than its predecessor and with engineers using lightweight materials to design the car, the new-gen LS is over 90kg lighter than the one it replaces.
The ‘Geeky-Goody’ Things
On the outside, the LS debuts with five different wheel designs, including two new 19- and 20-inch ones. Rest of the car has been designed to leave an instant impression (good or bad) on anyone who looks at it. It has a very in-your-face kind of styling and that’s a bold move. Move inside the cabin and Lexus believes that you will immediately agree that the interiors are unlike anything you’ve ever seen on a comparable premium sedan. The LS gets 28-way power front seats that feature heating, cooling and massage. Customers can even equip their cars with the same heating, cooling and massage features for the rear seats. The cabin trim gets natural woodwork inserts and an ambient lighting system that has multiple settings to suit the passengers’ mood.
There is even a choice to choose between a standard premium audio system or a 3D surround Mark Levinson audio package with in-ceiling array speakers. The package also includes a more high-tech graphic user interface that incorporates smartphone mimic operation and handwritten input. While the standard kit includes a 12.3-inch navigation display, customers can opt for a 24-inch colour heads-up display as well. Lexus says that using Active Noise Control tech, the sound coming inside the cabin is virtually negligible.
Overall, it is a very different take on what a premium car should look like. When compared to its rivals from Germany or UK, the Lexus looks very refreshing both on the inside and outside. While Lexus has recently announced its plans for India with three models to start with, we sure hope to see the LS 500 coming to India and shaking up the usual list of cars that make up the segment.