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2018 lexus LS

The LS has been Lexus' flagship since the brand's inception in 1989. It remains a comfortable cruiser that delivers a smooth ride, ample interior space, and all the luxury trimmings one could desire.

Overview
While conservative and inconspicuous styling has characterized previous models, the latest LS stands out thanks to an oversized rendition of Lexus' corporate spindle grille that flows back into deep creases in the hood. The rear end embraces the now-ubiquitous coupe-like trend for large luxury cars (hence the low, wide stance and the emphasis on an aggressive roof line).

Lexus even went so far as to modify the new sedan's moonroof mechanism to allow for increased headroom despite the lower overall height. The rear of the LS isn't quite as daring as the front end, though it gains lights inspired by the LC and the LFA.

Life aboard
There is a lot of detail inside the new LS. The dashboard incorporates a series of flowing horizontal lines. They start just to the left of the steering wheel, flow over the instrument cluster, and then run across the passenger side of the dashboard. The large, 12.3-inch LCD screen positioned in the center of the dash displays the infotainment system, which the driver controls using a touch pad located on the center console. The gauge cluster is also high-tech; it's a configurable LCD screen instead of an analog unit.

Passenger room is plentiful, especially for the rear occupants, and ultra-high-quality leather and wood is employed throughout the cabin. Trunk space checks in at 16.9 cubic feet, though ordering the available in-car cooler bumps that figure down to 15.5. The hybrid model posts figures of 15.1 and 14.1, respectively, which places the LS on the low side of the segment.

Technical specifications
Lexus offers two variants of the LS named 500 and 500h, respectively.

The base LS 500 comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. It shifts through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is offered at an extra cost.

Though it weighs nearly 5,000 pounds, the all-wheel drive model performs the benchmark zero-to-60-mph sprint in a respectable 4.6 seconds. Fuel economy checks in at 18 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg in a combined cycle.

The LS 500h is, as its name loosely implies, a gasoline-electric hybrid. The powertrain teams a 3.5-liter V6 with two electric motors for a total output of 354 horsepower. A lithium-ion battery stores electricity. Lexus offers the 500h with rear- or all-wheel drive. It comes with a multi-stage transmission, a term which denotes a continuously variable transmission (CVT) works with a four-speed automatic to deliver power.

The hybrid LS weighs up to 5,200 pounds depending on how it's configured. It takes 5.2 seconds to reach 60 mph from a stop, so it's slightly slower than the non-hybrid model. The trade-off is fuel economy. The EPA rates it at 23 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg in a combined cycle.

Standard and optional features
The LS comes standard with in-car Wi-Fi, a digital instrument cluster, navigation, a 12-speaker sound system, voice commands, a heated steering wheel, LED lighting all around, a power rear sunshade, a power-operated trunk, a memory system, ambient lighting, and Bluetooth connectivity.

The list of options includes a 24-inch head-up display, a touch-sensitive panel in the rear center console, a 23-speaker sound system, a panoramic roof, a heated steering wheel, and a wide array of different trim surfaces.

Buyers can also choose from several option packages, including the executive package, which adds business class-like rear seats, and the F Sport Package, which combines sporty aesthetic tweaks with and chassis upgrades.

Occupant safety
The Lexus LS comes with 10 airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems. It also offers a blind spot monitoring system. Lexus bundles adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision system, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection into an option package.

Key competitors
Buyers in the market for the Lexus LS should also look at the Audi A8, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the BMW 7 Series. They can also test drive the Genesis G90 and the Jaguar XJ.