all-new redesigned and reengineered 2018 Lexus LS is as classy
as it gets.
you fly the unfriendly skies, you already know airlines treat their
customers with contempt.
room for your legs? Forget it. Climate control? None until you take
off ó it saves fuel. And then there are the baggage fees. By
carrying your own bags on board, youíre doing the work once done
by employees. And donít look too closely at the cabins: The last
time they were cleaned is when they were bought.
This is why
passenger airlines such as Delta, American, United and others
reported an after-tax net profit of $13.5 billion in 2016, a
still-huge figure down from a staggering $24.8 billion in 2015,
according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
class isnít that great anymore. If you really want to travel in
style, better opt for the all-new redesigned and re-engineered 2018
Itís been a
decade since Lexus ó part of Japanese automaker Toyotaís
portfolio ó redesigned its flagship, which until now had followed
the conservative parameters set by the brandís German competition.
Thatís changed with the fifth-generation LS.
LS was created as an expression of what a true Japanese sedan should
be, from its design language to the way it drives, " said
Toshio Asahi, the chief engineer of the LS. "Therefore, it has
its own unique identity."
certainly true up front, where the carís spindle grille loudly
announces that the sobriety that long stigmatized Lexus is dead.
Adding a sense of sleekness is the carís flowing roof, which forms
a coupe-like silhouette common to new sedans. The rear and side
styling, however, are less exciting. Still, Lexus deserves kudos for
giving the LS apparent Japanese character.
design language continues inside, where the door panels are trimmed
with origami-like handmade pleats and are placed alongside Kiriko
cut glass and real wood accents. The effect far surpasses any
first-class passenger airline cabin. The quality is impressive.
if youíre an airline exec, exhausted by another day of cramming
more rows of seats into airplane cabins, you can relax in the LSí
right rear throne. While your chauffeur drives, you press a button.
The front passenger seat slides forward, and your seat relines.
Then, you can activate the feature that mimics a shiatsu massage,
all while your airline delays flights and misplaces luggage. There
are also heated and cooled seats, and four-zone climate control to
keep you comfy.
To call the
Lexus LS 500 a feast for the senses would be an understatement, and
thatís before you start driving. Once you do, itís hard to tell
who has the better deal, the reclining passenger or the chauffeur.
The LS is
built on Lexusí new GA-L platform and itís powered by an all-new
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that produces 416 horsepower and 442
pound-feet of torque. Thatís noticeably more than the outgoing LSí
4.6-liter V-8, which produced 386 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of
torque. Itís mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that
propels the 5,000-pound LS to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds on
rear-wheel-drive models. Top speed is 136 mph. All-wheel drive is
also offered, although it affects fuel economy. With rear-wheel
drive, the LS returns 19 mpg city, 29 mpg highway. That drops to 18
mpg city, 27 mpg highway with all-wheel drive.
Of course, if
fuel economy is a concern, opt for LS 500h, which pairs a naturally
aspirated version of the 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine with two
electric motor/generators and a continuously variable automatic
transmission. You wonít lose much at the stoplight grand prix, as
zero to 60 mph takes 5.1 seconds. What you will gain is better fuel
economy: 25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway.
driveline, youíll find the LS not only delivers the expected
equanimity, but it does so with more athleticism than youíd
anticipate. The carís lower center of gravity and hint of feedback
make this an LS you want to drive with passion. Unfortunately, itís
also the brandís flagship sedan, so tackling corners with gusto is
only called for when the backseat passengers deserve to be tossed
from side to side.
there are a blizzard of electronics meant to make the driver better.
Dubbed VDIM, for Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, itís the
latest version of the technology first used in 2005. And thereís a
head-up display, which projects crucial information on the
windshield in a huge 24-by-6-inch space.
And need I say
that the audio system is sublime? Then again, so is the whole car.
And while the
outgoing LS was a bit long in the tooth, the updates lend the 2018
Lexus LS 500 a far more contemporary feel. It doesnít lead the
pack the way the first LS did, but itís a decidedly different
flavor from the rest of the fleet.
To be announced
Twin-turbocharged DOHC 3.5-liter V-6
economy (city/highway): 18-19/27-29
capacity: 15.5-16.9 cubic feet