How does the 2018 Lexus LS compare against German premium sedans?

Article by Christian A., on February 5, 2017

When the latest Lexus LS flagship sedan was unveiled at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, it managed to turn several heads and capture the attention of the world. With its stunning looks and premium specs, the new Lexus LS 500 is expected to revolutionize anew the luxury vehicle sector, just like what the first LS managed to do decades ago.

But how would the new Lexus LS sedan stack up against comparably sized Germany rivals in the luxury segment, like the BMW 740i, Mercedes-Benz S550 and the Audi A8 L 3.0T?

So, our verdict? While the Lexus LS 500 seems to be a good proposition, its price has yet to be announced and its performance is still as good as printed in a paper. For now, the LS 500 wins, until we could really try being behind the wheels of all of these premium sedans.

Exterior Design

Exterior design has never been objective. But when beautiful cars are around, we would surely notice it, just like how ugly vehicles are shunned visually due to their intrinsic lack of elegance.

These cars from Lexus, BMW, Mercedes and Audi are all beautiful and elegant. However, if you ask us, the Lexus LS stands out simply because of its front end. The 7 series, S Class and the A8 have always sported similar if not the same front ends through the years.

Of course, there were stylistic changes, but these were never revolutionary. As for the LS, its spindle grille is one of the many things that did the trick.

Interior Design

In terms of interior luxury, driver assistance and convenience, all of these premium carmakers – Lexus, BMW, Mercedes and Audi – are known to offer a higher level of cabin environment in their offerings.

Even the standard versions of their premium vehicles are already luxurious. If these aren’t enough, these carmakers usually offer a plethora of options that would further boost the appeal of their rides. From the infotainment system, audio systems and large displays to heated seats, use of leather and chrome accents -- the options are aplenty. There is no clear winner in this category unless one of the aforementioned cars could offer something that is so futuristic.

As for cabin space – including legroom and headroom – Lexus hasn’t provided the numbers for its 2018 LS flagship. However, the measure of cabin space (leg room in particular) could be surmised from the length of the wheelbase. Among the German cars, the BMW 740i offers the most rear legroom (44.4 inches, thanks to it having the longest wheelbase (126.4 inches).

The A8 L has the shortest wheelbase at 122.9 inches, and the least rear legroom (42.9 inches). Now, the Lexus LS 500 offers a wheelbase of 123.0 inches, which is even shorter than that of the Mercedes S550 (124.6 inches). Based on the length of the wheelbase, we could assume that the new LS has more legroom that the A8 L but is inferior in that respect to the S550.

Powertrain

Premium vehicles are not just about luxury and comfort, but also about power. Among the four sedans, the S550 is most powerful, thanks to its Biturbo 4.7-liter V8 producing 449 hp of output and 516 lb.-ft. of torque.

The LS 500 comes in second with its Biturbo 3.5-liter V6 delivering 415 hp of output and 442 lb.-ft. of torque. Output and torque levels of the A8 L (Supercharged 3.0-liter V6) and the 740i (Turbo 3.0-liter I6) don’t even breach 340 hp and 340 lb.-ft.

However, while the LS 500 isn’t the most powerful among the four, it is the quickest. In fact, in a zero-to-60mph sprint, the LS 500 (4.5 seconds) would outrace the S550 (4.8 seconds) by three-tenths of a second.

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