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06 Oct 2017 | Text by Julian Kho, Photos by Manufacturer. Direct from San Francisco, U.S.A

King of Kings

A new platform and twin-turbocharged engine, together with a plush cabin and rebellious good looks, combine to make the fifth generation Lexus LS the king of kings.


It comes as no surprise that Lexus' flagship LS sedan now sports an all new twin-turbocharged engine, considering how Lexus started moving into the turbocharged territory about three years ago, with the Lexus NX compact SUV being the first in its lineup to have it, followed by the Lexus RX and subsequently the Lexus IS and the Lexus GS.

What's surprising, however, is how real the possibility is for the all new fifth generation Lexus LS to topple Germany's finest like the Audi A8, the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

With a lower-slung body, the new Lexus LS sports a sportier silhouette compared to its predecessor

Of course, it's needless to say that you and I won't get our panties in a wedge because of who tops the charts in this segment as we can't really afford these cars. However, we will have to appreciate just how much the Lexus LS manages to furnish a lavishly vivid and vast view of what it means to drive it and how it makes you feel when you're being driven in one.

Inner beauty

It's more than just the LS exuding sophistication here with its plush leather, polished wood and premium plastics.

Pull open the doors and a strong sense of tranquility and safety greets you with a respectful Japanese bow. Perhaps what makes the Lexus' flagship sedan such an enchanting proposition is its invigorating originality and already fully realised, high-quality cabin aesthetic.

Plush leather, polished wood and premium plastics fill the cabin of the Lexus LS

It's also within this originality that you will find the ideals around Japanese hospitality in the cabin. For instance, lantern-inspired ambient lighting at the right places enhances the soothing effect in the cabin, while wooden ornaments in the car are inspired by Japanese bento boxes, which help to create evenly folded corners to fit panels nicely.

As such, the cabin is almost meditative and inviting in nature.

Emotions running high

Once you're nicely settled in, crank up the turbocharged engine and a tasty deep burble that's unlike any of the flagship's predecessors can be heard.

The said burble, which is enhanced (and not synthesised) through the speakers, comes from a new 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that's capable of 415bhp and 600Nm of twisting force. This output is significantly more than the bigger V8 that was found in the previous LS460.

The Lexus LS will finish the century sprint in five seconds flat

While many will argue that such a characteristic is unlike Lexus, and that it may alienate loyalists, the apprehension of the evolution of the Lexus brand is key. This isn't talking about Lexus wanting to be young and hip, but rather Lexus wanting to be a dashing proposition that will not only attract newer customers that are individualists but also ensuring that its current customers aren't being blown off in the wind.  

Part of this evolution comes from the new GA-L platform that also underpins the sexier Lexus LC Coupe. Made to be stiffer and lighter than its predecessor, this rear-driven architectural platform lowers the car's centre of gravity and helps to centralise the mass, which allows the sizeable sedan to feel and handle like a compact car when driven fast and furious around exciting switchbacks of San Francisco.

Like the Lexus LC, the knob for the different driving modes has been moved to the dashboard

Take it a notch down, swop to the back seat, and you will feel like a million bucks. The perfect integration of the engine to the 10-speed automatic gearbox is nothing short of baffling. Despite the different driving modes from Normal to Sport+ remaining stiffer than before, it's never to a point of being broke back.

This simply translates to the fact that you can enjoy the rear's Ottoman seats with a touch of a button and ride like a prim and proper head honcho as this storyteller fantasised himself to be.

If looks could kill…


Then the Lexus LS would have your head in a minute. There's no doubting just how eye-catching and breath-stopping the car here looks. With its larger-than-life signature spindle grille, samurai-sharp body lines and visually wide stance, the LS - whether on the move or at a standstill - has ample presence on the road.

The wide and aggressive grille will easily catch your attention

The afterthought of perfection

When the first Lexus flagship, the LS400, made its debut almost three decades back, it was a groundbreaking car that thrust the Japanese marque into the forefront of luxury craftsmanship. It was delivered on a simple promise of sumptuous luxury combined with superb engineering. And for that, Lexus has never failed.

Fast forward to today and the carmaker has clearly outdone itself by miles. The aesthetic splendour and the labour of craftsman's hands are not merely the assertion of an idea of what a car should be, let alone a flagship model.

You can enjoy the ride in the Lexus LS like a real boss with the rear's comfortable Ottoman seats

The LS sedan that you see here is clearly the reflection of what Lexus strongly values - bold design, quality craftsmanship, superior performance and an imaginative technology - all of which combine to make the Lexus LS a car that's one remarkable experience.

The car is expected to arrive in Singapore in the first quarter of 2018.
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