ALL-NEW LEXUS LS

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How time flies, 28 years ago the first Lexus LS sedan (or should that be saloon?) arrived in Australia to be greeted with a fair bit of scepticism. Many felt that Toyota was taking a huge risk by introducing an upmarket sub-brand called Lexus to tackle the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, BMW and Audi.

Yet the Japanese giant succeeded and has not only survived, but also shown the big name Europeans a thing or two about highly impressive quality control and near-silent running. The Euros were shocked into making big improvements and … but that’s another story. Let’s get back to the all-new Lexus LS.

The fifth-generation Lexus LS is a major redesign of the one it replaces. It is based on a new platform, has new drivetrains and a semi-coupe profile aimed at giving it a sporting look.

Two powertrains are offered, a 310 kW twin-turbo V6 in the LS 500, and a hybrid LS 500h that uses a naturally-aspirated V6 petrol and electric power for a maximum 264kW.

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Interestingly, the V8 engine has been discontinued, which may not be a smart move as the Europeans still provide V8s and even V12s in some topline, ultra-expensive models.

In-cabin technology in the new LS includes a 12.3-inch multi-media screen, head-up display with segment-leading size, Mark Levinson 23-speaker audio and auto-closing doors.

The Lexus LS 500 F Sport also has four-wheel steering and active stabiliser bars to provide an even higher level of stability control while maintaining ride comfort.

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The F Sport features include different exterior and interior treatments, 20-inch alloys with a front-rear tyre size differential, high-performance brakes, variable gear-ratio steering, dynamic rear steering and active stabiliser bars.

Sports Luxury additional features include four-zone climate control with rear cooler, 22-way power rear seats with passenger-side ottoman and seven massage programs, rear-seat entertainment and noise-dissipating 20-inch alloy wheels.

The latest Lexus Safety System+ includes a pre-collision system, all-speed radar active cruise control, lane keep assist and adaptive high-beam system to control the LED headlamps. Blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, pop-up bonnet for pedestrian projection and tyre pressure monitoring system are part of every model.

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Keen to promote its hybrid models, the prices of the drivetrains are the same: $190,500 for F Sport and $195,500 for Sports Luxury.

There are eight premium hand-crafted interior ornamentation options for Sports Luxury models, four of which command a premium of $9,880.

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