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New 2017 Lexus LS flagship stars at Detroit Motor Show

All-new Lexus luxury saloon gets new cabin, new engine and new technology highlights.

Lexus has introduced an all-new flagship saloon at the Detroit Motor Show in the form of the 2017 LS – an overhauled version of its largest saloon set to compete with the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

The 2017 model gets a new platform and uses the latest Lexus design language, formed into a large four-door grand tourer shape including a huge trademark spindle grille with over 5,000 surfaces.

The fastback, coupe shape is clearly influenced by the LF-FC Coupe concept car from 2015. The angular face is dominated by the grille, which boasts a unique mesh texture that appears to shape shift in different light. The angular front end contrasts with the swooping side profile, and over the rear wheels the broad shoulders of the concept translate into production form.

In terms of dimensions it’s a bigger car all round, being longer than the previous LS at 5,235mm, lower at 1,450mm and wider at 1,900mm, including a wheelbase stretched to 3,125mm.

The new design sits on top of a new platform, too. As expected, it gets an extended version of the new GA-L architecture underpinning the new LC coupe. It’s a lighter, stiffer platform, and combined with weight savings from new lightweight materials such as ultra-high-tensile steel and aluminium, the new LS is 90kg lighter than the older model, despite being a larger car.

The new platform ought to be beneficial when it comes to how the car feels to drive on the road, as it places far more mass from the engine, plus the passengers, into a lower and more central position in the chassis.

Making its debut in LS 500 form, it gets a new twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine with 409bhp and 600Nm torque. That means more power and torque than you’ll find in the outgoing V8 powered LS 460, and while we’ve no fuel economy figures it should be more efficient. 

We’ve no top speed, but the new LS with its turbocharged V6 engine can do 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds in all-wheel-drive form. It’ll be available as a rear-wheel-drive car too, and uses a ten-speed automatic gearbox.

New multi-link suspension front and rear is also present, making extensive use of aluminium to save weight. Lexus says the new system should introduce a more precise steering response. It’s mated to a new generation vehicle dynamics management setup for optimised ride comfort and traction, and rear-wheel steering is also a part of the package, for greater stability and agility.

Complementing the revolution both on the surface and under the skin is a new cabin packed with equipment and technology and design tweaks. Ambient lighting inspired by Japanese lanterns greet passengers, and there’s a new selection of wood finishes for the re-designed cabin.

New 28-way adjustable front seats with cooling, heating and massage functions will be offered, and place driver and passenger in front of a flat, horizontal dashboard teeming with displays – a 12.3 inch navigation screen being the centrepiece, while a huge head-up-display will be an option.

In the back, optional rear seats with heating, cooling and massage functions will be available, while the rear seat luxury packages introduces rear seats that can recline up to 48 degrees.

New advanced safety features also make the cut as part of the Lexus Safety System+ suite, including a pedestrian detection and avoidance system with active steering. Lexus CoDrive also features, providing steering control up to whatever the driver requires and semi-autonomous capabilities on motorways.

Regarding a release, Lexus has only said that the car will go on sale in the United States towards the end of 2017. We’ve yet to hear news of its UK release, or which engines to expect when it arrives in Britain.

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