Thinking about it, the Japanese can do almost anything. These folks really put their minds and hearts into what they intend on achieving and they somehow end up getting it right. And they’re skilled at almost everything that is manufactured in their country. Coming to cars, Toyota had always been keen to take on the Germans and hence came up with the Lexus brand. The original LS 400 was a fantastic offering; it brought luxury, technology and comfort in a package that was hard to resist. It was a big threat to the Germans as it was priced very competitively as well. The following generations of the model upped the game even further with hybrid technology. In 2018, Lexus launched the fifth-generation LS in India and as we found out, there is more to all that stylish metal than meets the eye.
Up-ahead, the Lexus LS gets the massive spindle-shaped grille with an overall aggressive look. Lexus Cars have done an amazing job with the craftsmanship of the grille. On either sides, it gets an open-mouthed design for the vents and those Z-shaped headlamps look like lighting bolts, while the 20-inch chrome wheels are typical design elements you’d find in countries like the United States. Move to the side and you will see an almost limousine-like profile, an arched roofline and sharp beltline running along the sides. The lines and angles on this car simply amaze you the moment you look at it. At the rear too, the Lexus LS looks distinctive with those chrome-detailed tail lamps.
From behind the wheel, the Lexus LS feels surprisingly agile and sporty, and to an extent, this is one of those Lexus Cars that feels quite compact somehow. Despite its weight, it delivers amazing levels of confidence. We think the low-slung batteries help it in this respect. With the air suspension and drivetrain set in S+ mode, the car begins to feels sportier than ever. The sound from the exhaust isn’t as realistic as you’d imagine it to be, but that aside, it feels stable around corners and there’s ample grip; body roll however, is evident. The steering is on the light side but feels quite accurate. Put your foot down on the gas, and low-end torque kinks in from the electric drive, but a major chunk of the performance at three-digit speeds can felt from the V6 motor that reaches 7000rpm seamlessly, producing 294bhp. We were so pleased to be driving something with a naturally-aspirated engine, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission; the car can sprint from 0-100kph in 5.4 seconds and it manages to cross the 200kph mark without feeling stressed. With the combination of a four-speed automatic and a CVT, Lexus was aiming at fuel efficiency. Transmission losses aren’t much, thanks to the four fixed gears, plus let’s not forget the electric assist from the hybrid drive. The rear seat needs to be highlighted as they look like sofas more than anything; the armrest can be flipped up, giving way for a third passenger. The seat-back can be reclined while the front seats slide forward and can be folded down too. The seats offer a cooling and massage function. Heat can also be felt near your shoulder and your back, giving you the ultimate in-cabin experience in the segment. The LS also gets air suspension that lift, allowing for easier access into the cabin, while the climate control makes use of many infrared sensors that measure your body temperature. The Mark Levinson Reference series audio system gets a 16-channel amplifier
The flagship sedan
The LS does come with a few flaws though, like it’s reasonably good ride quality that can’t match the S-Class; also, it’s not as well insulated as the Merc and the screen-based interface is not easy to use. The LS is undoubtedly unique is almost every way and its stunning looks will have anyone sold. We’d love to have one to ourselves.