Lexus' largest sedan is primed to make the jump from a stodgy luxo-barge to an athletic and aggressive sport sedan with the newly unveiled 2018 Lexus LS sedan.
The automaker has tried before to invigorate the LS, but the previous F-Sport packages and models were largely sport appearance packages. The 2018 LS 500, however, puts its performance up front with a new 415 horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Peak torque is stated at 442 pound-feet, which helps the sedan launch to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
Surrounding the more potent engine room is the same global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA-L) that underpins the LC 500 sports coupe. Longer, wider and lower, Lexus claims this rear-wheel drive platform imbues the big sedan with more performance and agility than ever before. The 123-inch wheelbase is 1.3 inches longer than the current LS long-wheelbase model, but active stabilizers, the Lexus Dynamic Handling system with independent front and rear-wheel steering, and lighter, stiffer chassis components should keep the ride lively.
The new sheet metal that wraps the package is also more aggro. The "coupe-like" silhouette reminds me of a scaled-up echo of Infiniti's new Q50 sedan, which is sort of a good thing. I think Infiniti's new generation are some of the best-looking cars on the road, but I'm sure Lexus' designers won't appreciate being called derivative. The front end is pure Lexus. Love it or hate it, the automaker's trademark massive mesh spindle grille is in full effect here with a new, "Z-shaped" headlamp design with a complex LED projector and accent configuration.
Of course, the Lexus LS is a luxury car first, so the new 2018 model steps up to the plate with the full suite of the automaker's advanced safety tech, new interior trim themes inspired by Japanese Shimamoku wood patterns and a coffin-quiet cabin for the optional Mark Levinson audiophile system to work in. The LS will also be available with an optional 24-inch color head-up display -- that's not a typo -- which the automaker claims is the largest in the world. I'll have to see that last bit to believe it.