Lexus LS gets new angular look
Even before last year's Japan earthquake crimped Lexus production, the top sedans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz had pulled even with the LS 460 in the U.S. luxury flagship race.
In the first half of this year, the LS ran well behind its German rivals, the BMW 7 series and Mercedes S class. So getting the newest version of the LS right is crucial for Lexus.
Last week it unveiled an LS 460 with a new look -- sharper creases and more angular, but familiar to the Lexus styling language.
The car arrives in dealerships this fall with standard and long-wheelbase editions, a hybrid version and a new F-Sport trim level with better handling dynamics.
Despite its sheet metal changes, the car is little changed underneath. Its 4.6-liter V-8 engine and eight-speed transmission are basically carryovers, at a time when luxury brands are using powertrain technology as a way to distinguish themselves.
Also, the car's dimensions are almost identical. The only change is an additional inch in overall length for both the base and long-wheelbase editions.
When the current model came out six years ago it easily outsold the S class and 7 series in its first full year of sales. But during the first six months of this year Lexus sold 3,036 units of the LS in the United States, down 28 percent from the same period last year. BMW sold 5,604 7-series vehicles for a 3 percent gain, while Mercedes sold 5,510 S-class units, a drop of 1 percent.
The re-engineered LS 460 and LS 460L will be available in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions. The newly added F-Sport model comes with Torsen limited slip differential, Brembo brakes and 19-inch wheels.
The engine gains a few horsepower, with a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.4 seconds.
While the suspension is also a carryover, it has new frequency-dependent shock absorbers for a more responsive ride.
The LS 460 has a collision avoidance system that, at speeds below 24 mph, will bring the car to a halt if it detects a possible accident. The safety system also has blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning sensors and a reverse-gear cross traffic alert.
Interior lighting is entirely LED.
Prices were not announced.
You can reach Mark Rechtin at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Mark on