Lexus premiered the updated version of its flagship sedan, the LS, and announced that sales in Japan begin late 2020.
The first-generation LS debuted in 1989 and built the foundation of Lexus with the high praise earned by its exceptional quietness and comfort. Chief Branding Officer and Master Driver Akio Toyoda positions the LS―in all its generations―as “a model that gives rise to transformation through the spirit of constant innovation and by providing new technologies and value for the times”. As the flagship sedan of the Lexus brand, the LS has cumulatively sold 870 thousand*1 units, gaining popularity over a span of more than 30 years and in more than 90 countries and regions. The debut in 2017 of the fifth-generation LS, with its daring coupe silhouette and the offering of an emotional driving experience, marked the execution of a momentous transformation.
For this latest update, engineers focused on elevating the sedan’s levels of comfort, quiet and overall refinement to help balance a range of new dynamic improvements dictated by the brand’s Lexus Driving Signature initiative. This philosophy applies detailed tuning, thoughtful component updates and control surface upgrades to help drive Lexus products to a new standard of vehicle control, balance and ultimately, driver confidence. Expanding on this, developed with the aim of greatly enhancing the exceptional quietness and comfort that represent the Lexus DNA, is the culmination of thorough craftsmanship applied to even the smallest component―all the way from the vehicle’s powertrain and suspension to the positioning of the stitch points of the seats. The new LS features Lexus Teammate, which is the latest in advanced driving assist technologies. To achieve driving assist that provides occupants with a sense of security, Lexus not only thoroughly honed essential fundamental vehicle performance but also incorporated AI technologies centered on deep learning for predicting and responding to various situations possibly encountered during driving. Furthermore, by applying an uncompromising approach to system control that incorporates the driving operation of expert drivers*2, safe and superb driving stability has been made possible even when road conditions are complicated. These advances are part of the aim of Lexus to provide a safe and secure mobility experience that is considerate of people’s sensibilities. This system appears first in the Japanese market for adoption later in other markets (timing specified by regional markets).
Furthermore, the new LS is available in Gin-ei Luster, a new exterior panel color that achieves deep shadows and robust highlights, enabled by new paint technology. On the inside, in addition to the use of a touchscreen for improved operability, Lexus paid thoroughly uncompromising attention to detail through a collaboration involving traditional Japanese crafts such as Nishijin brocade and metal leaf decoration, aiming to create a high-quality interior atmosphere suitable for a brand flagship.
“The LS, as a flagship, has constantly pursued innovation and has provided new technologies and value for its customers. In developing the new LS announced today, we furthered the evolution of the exceptional quietness and comfort that has been a steadfast constant since the model’s first generation, and, by employing the advanced driving assist technologies of Lexus Teammate, we aimed for a mobility experience that is much safer and more secured than before. This means reduced driver burden from the operation of the accelerator, brakes, and steering, allowing the driver to focus more on overall driving. Also, as can be accomplished precisely because we are an automobile company well-versed in the relationship between car and driver, driving assist that achieves riding comfort as if an expert driver was behind the wheel and a human-machine interface (HMI) that enables the car and the driver to converse and to constantly and correctly grasp each other’s condition create a sense of security. Furthermore, in the process of developing such, we drastically enhanced and evolved fundamental vehicle performance. Lexus, based on its human-centered approach, will continue to take up challenges, and we intend to keep on delivering experiences that bring abundance to the lifestyles of each and every one of our customers.” – Lexus International President Koji Sato
LS Main Features
Evolution of the Lexus DNA for exceptional quietness and comfort
“In pursuing high-quality driving performance, which is the starting point of the LS, the entire team united and tenaciously searched for elements that needed to be improved. Placing importance on people’s sensibilities, we thoroughly addressed every detail of the components and control systems related to driving performance, including quietness and ride comfort, ranging, for example, from the internal structure of the tires to the feel experienced when sitting in the seats and the acceleration response in daily driving. Also, I believe that, in the process of pursuing vehicle behavior that is ideal during Lexus Teammate driving assist, the fundamental vehicle performance of the new LS has been greatly honed, resulting in the further evolution of the high-quality driving expected of a brand flagship.” – Lexus International Takumi Yoshiaki Ito
- A newly developed Adaptive Variable Suspension solenoid reduces damping force, while the vertical spring rate (stiffness) of the run-flat tires and the rigidity of the stabilizer bars provide optimized performance. Also, the orifice inside the engine mounts has been changed so as to alter damping characteristics, resulting in a reduction in vibrations transmitted to the vehicle’s cabin.
- Seat coverings feature deeper stitch points, and underlying seat pads feature low-resilience urethane. Vibration absorption and soft seating contribute to even more enhanced comfort.
- In the LS 500h hybrid version of the new LS, increased battery assist during acceleration at often-used driving speeds so as to contribute to strain-free acceleration. Additionally, quietness has been improved by lowering maximum engine revolutions during departure acceleration.
- In the LS 500 gasoline-engine version of the new LS, improved initial engine torque at often-used driving speeds leads to greater acceleration response. Improved shift timing and a wider acceleration range for each gear has resulted in less-frequent downshifts. These improvements make possible driving that is powerful and with room to spare.
- Both the hybrid version and the gasoline-engine version of the new LS have undergone Active Noise Control and Engine Sound Enhancement tuning for improved quietness.
Application of Lexus Teammate―the latest in advanced driving assist technologies in a system that is considerate of human driving sensibilities
“Lexus Teammate was developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept, which is an original Toyota Motor Corporation approach to autonomous driving, in which people and cars communicate like friends, reach out to each other for mutual enhancement, and drive together. Lexus Teammate technology has five characteristics: ‘Perceptive’, ‘Intelligent’, ‘Interactive’, ‘Reliable’, and ‘Upgradable’. Advanced Drive performs peripheral recognition, estimates vehicle position, calculates vehicle lane and position, adjusts speed, and conducts other tasks on motor-vehicle-only roadways for safe driving support all the way to the roadway exit. In various driving situations, such as when going through curves and when overtaking other vehicles, it provides the kind of comfortable driving feeling produced by expert drivers. Advanced Park, which provides parking assist through driver operation of intuitive controls, automatically controls acceleration, braking, and gear changes. It not only provides people with safety as a matter of course but also with a parking experience that gives them a sense of precision and security.
Furthermore, Lexus Teammate can seamlessly incorporate future software updates that allow functions to be continually added and performance to be continually enhanced to meet customer needs. Through Lexus Teammate software upgrades and customization, a person’s vehicle can truly become a valued partner. Drivers and their cars work together as teammates and complement each other’s efforts to create and maintain safe driving and comfortable mobility. Even among such technology advances, humans are always at the center of the driving experience, which is something upon which Lexus Teammate insists.” – Advanced Safety System Field Senior General Manager Ken Koibuchi of Toyota Motor Corporation’s Advanced R&D and Engineering Company
The latest advanced driving assist technologies based on the Mobility Teammate Concept enable onboard systems for driver status monitoring to appropriately assist the driver in recognition, judgment, and operation, in accordance with actual traffic conditions. Driving capabilities such as keeping the vehicle in its lane, maintaining vehicle-to-vehicle distance, lane splits, changing lanes, and overtaking other vehicles, when driving on expressways and other motor-vehicle-only roadways are supported. In pursuit of achieving system-conducted driving that can be trusted by the driver, fundamental vehicle performance was honed so that the driver would feel secure in leaving driving to the vehicle, and the system was engineered to prioritize safety in making judgments. The driver is freed from operation of the accelerator, brakes, and steering, allowing a reduction in driver burden during long drives and enabling safe driving in which the driver is able to pay better attention to the surroundings.
Through integrated cameras and ultrasonic sensors, the latest advanced parking assist technologies support the driver in recognition, judgment, and operation. Besides support of all operations – steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes – the bird’s-eye view display also shows the ideal steering wheel positions for a safe and secure parking experience.
The new LS features BladeScan® AHS (Adaptive High-beam System), which debuted as a world’s first on the partially redesigned Lexus RX in 2019. In this system, LED-sourced light shines onto a blade mirror spinning at high speed and is transferred to a lens to illuminate the road ahead. While the light does not appear to be moving due to a residual image effect, BladeScan® AHS precisely controls light distribution by synchronizing the rotation of the blade mirror and switching the LED headlamps on and off. Because the effect of the high beam can be expanded in a more-natural manner, the system illuminates areas that might be difficult to see with conventional high-beam systems, such as the shoulder of the road. It also allows the driver to recognize pedestrians and road signs much earlier, without impeding the visibility of drivers of oncoming or preceding vehicles.
Digital rearview mirror
The digital rearview mirror features a larger high-resolution display for improved visibility of the area behind the vehicle.
Application of the new exterior color Gin-ei Luster and interior styling inspired by traditional Japanese crafts
“In terms of color design, by pursuing the thinking of ‘Time in Design’, which originates from an original Japanese sense of beauty and which is part of our design ideology, we wanted to once again express the ideal state of a Lexus flagship and to heighten the value that only the LS can provide. ‘Time in Design’ is an approach that emerged from a unique Japanese sense of beauty that enables one to feel beauty from moment to moment amid the transition of time and amid changes in the environment. In the new LS, with the beautiful scene of the ‘path of moonlight on the sea’ as our motif for embodying this thinking, we strived for interior/exterior coordination that would bring such to life. The ‘path of moonlight on the sea’ is a mysterious natural phenomenon that can only be witnessed for a limited number of days before, after, and during a full moon. During this time, moonlight forms a long and narrow path on the surface of the ocean, and sparkles of light on moonlit waves captivate with delicate gradation. Through attractive color design and color coordination that highlight lush expressions of subtle changes in light and that enable one to feel a sense of presence, we aim to provide our customers with a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, as well as with an unparalleled mobility experience.” – Toyota Motor Corporation Color Management Department Group Manager Yoichiro Kitamura
Lexus has long devoted much effort to the development of silver paint finishes. Because silver invites color to be perceived as a texture, it represents an important color gamut in the pursuit of the essence of color design. The new exterior body panel color Gin-ei Luster is applied using the Sonic Method, which condenses the paint volume of paint containing radiant material (aluminum flakes). The new color also employs the latest paint technology, in which an aluminum evaporation coating is spread over surfaces in high density. With a smooth, mirror-like texture that is all but absent of a granular touch, the most-notable characteristics of Gin-ei are the beautiful sparkles of light found in its highlights and the sense of depth created by its deep shadows. It is an extraordinary silver that delicately reacts to the even slight amounts of surrounding light and that transforms in concert with the transition of time and with changes in the environment to display a variety of expressions.
The interior, which has been coordinated to complement the exterior, also presents various expressions amid the transition of time. Ornamentation is available for the first time in “Nishijin & Haku” (with “haku” being the Japanese word for “metal leaf”). By expressing the existence of a ‘path of moonlight on the sea’ formed by the sparkles of light on moonlit waves through the silver threads of Nishijin brocade and the sparkle of platinum leaf, Lexus has aimed to provide the comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, as well as the unparalleled mobility experience, of a true brand flagship. The multimedia system features a new touch display and is compatible with SmartDeviceLinkTM*3, Apple CarPlay*4, and Android AutoTM*5. Convenience has been greatly enhanced by, among other features, the ability to control the display screen and audio functions by using an iPhone*4 and AndroidTM*5 smartphone linked to the 12.3-inch touch-operated wide display.
Main changes in the version of the LS announced
- The positioning of a vertical-themed character line in the corner parts of the front bumper expresses the excellence of the vehicle’s stance. And giving the front bumper a structure in which the chrome trim on its lower edge wraps around to the sides expresses liveliness.
- BladeScan® AHS is installed below the newly designed, compact, three-bulb lamp units and clearance lamps that have an accentuated “L” design. The deep headlamps and squarish sub-radiator grilles positioned to the outside help to form the confident nature of the vehicle’s stance. Also, the color of the grille mesh has been changed to a dark metallic for a classier appearance for a more elegant appearance befitting a flagship product
- The chrome trim within the rear combination lamps has been switched to Piano Black to enhance harmony with the headlamps, as well as to enhance a sense of the vehicle’s presence.
- In the F Sport version of the new LS, the garnish of the sub-radiator grilles wraps around to the sides so as to underline the vehicle’s wide stance. Other elements that help to accentuate the F Sport’s more dynamic image include a dedicated color for the spindle grille and 20-inch wheels.
- Controls on the steering wheel and center console have been uniformly colored black for improved visibility and a clear-cut impression. Also, a switch for displaying on the touch display the controls for the often-used seat heaters and steering wheel heater has been added to the center console for improved operability.