Lexus stunned the audience at the 2017 North American International Auto Show with its fifth-generation 2018 Lexus LS flagship sedan. The new generation of Lexus’ flagship sedan raised the bar of what a luxury vehicle should be – challenging the norm with its exquisite design, new levels of interior values and outstanding performance elements.
The Lexus LS unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show was the LS 500, which has at its core a new 3.5-liter V6 engine with Formula One-derived twin turbochargers. This new engine is touted to be more powerful than the V8 powerplant seen in the fourth-gen LS sedan, yet it remains fuel-efficient with minimized levels of vibration. This new V6 engine is tuned to develop 415 hp of max output and 442 lb.-ft. of peak torque, with power sent to the rear wheels or to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic gearbox.
Now, Lexus is taking this level of efficiency to a whole new level – by offering a new hybrid version of its LS flagship sedan. No, Lexus hasn’t unveiled the hybridized LS sedan, bound to be called as the LS 500h. However, speculating on overall design and powertrain of the LS 500h should be easy, given the availability of information existing on the new generation of Lexus vehicles.
As it is, the new Lexus LS flagship sedan stands out because of its stunning exterior looks. We are confident enough that most – if not all – of the exterior styling of the LS 500 to be seen on the LS 500h have been heavily influenced by the LF-LC Concept. Design cues expected to be adopted in LS 500h include an evolved version of Lexus' signature grille with a new spindle mesh design as well as the floating "L-shaped" daytime running lights (DRL) that extrude from the front fenders. The rear lights also have the same floating theme as the DRL on the front.
The interior of the LS 500h should be pretty much the same as the LS 500. It should offer generous space, new seating designs, a “seat-in-control” cockpit layout and a number of optional packages that could help ensure luxurious comfort inside the LS sedan.
As for the powertrain, the LS 500h could feature the hybrid system that serves as the heart of the new LC 500h, the hybridized version of Lexus’ premium coupe. The LC 500h is powered by the world’s first Multi Stage Hybrid System, which is made up of a 3.5 liter V6 petrol engine (295 hp or 220 kW) and a dynamic electric motor (59 hp or 44 kW) powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, as well as a four-speed automatic gearbox placed at the rear of the hybrid transmission. This configuration allows electric motor to provide a better acceleration feel than a typical engine.
Likewise, the extra physical gears should allow the engine speed (rpm) to be aligned closer to the inputs of the driver – resulting to a more direct link between the accelerator pedal and vehicle acceleration. This setup also allows LC 500h to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in around five seconds. The added weight coming from the hybrid system should make the LS 500h heavier than its conventional sibling.
Lexus plans to release more details when it unveils the LS 500h at the upcoming 2017 Geneva Motor Show, along with the 2017 Lexus RC F GT3 racing car.