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Detroit show: Lexus previews next-gen LS

Elemental: The new LS was first previewed at last year’s Tokyo motor show, in the form of the hydrogen fuel-cell-powered LF-FC concept.

Fifth-generation Lexus LS flagship sedan to be revealed at Detroit show


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9 Dec 2016

LEXUS has previewed its fifth generation flagship LS luxury sedan in a single ghostly teaser image ahead of its full reveal at the Detroit motor show in January, and an expected release in 2018.

A glimpse of the large sedan’s nose, shows a semi-transparent spindle grille over sizeable rims and Lexus’ new GA-L platform, which the LS will share with the upcoming LC500 luxury coupe.

The new LS is based on the LF-FC concept shown at the 2015 Tokyo show, which was revealed with a fuel-cell, all-wheel-drive powertrain that could potentially power an LS variant in the future.

In concept form, the LF-FC employed a single fuel-cell-fed electric motor to power the rear wheels, while power was sent to the front wheels via a pair of hub-mounted motors, but the production version teaser image appears to adopt a more orthodox approach.

A dual exhaust system can be seen running under a propshaft indicating that the vehicle is likely to have a V-configuration engine with rear or four-wheel drive, although no front half-shafts can be seen in the cross-sectional image.

If the Japanese car-maker introduces a fuel-cell LS, Lexus is likely to draw upon the technical expertise of its parent company Toyota and its Mirai sedan which runs entirely on hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

However, Australians should not hold their breath for such a proposition, as the Mirai has been ruled out for sale here due to lack of refuelling infrastructure, and the same is most likely to apply to a Lexus version.

A hydrogen-powered LS would make more sense in markets with widespread supporting infrastructure such as Europe and California.

Pundits can assume that petrol-powered LS variants will feature a V8, as current models employ either a naturally-aspirated 4.6-litre unit in the 460 variants, or a 5.0-litre matched to a pair of electric motors in the case of the 600h hybrid range.

One selling point of the current LS has been the abundance of onboard technology, and Lexus has promised that the next-generation model will take up the mantle with.”

visionary technology”.

Lexus hasn’t set the world on fire with sales of the LS, which starts at $185,980 before on-roads and tops out at $245,140 for the 600hL, with a total of 20 finding homes in Australia to the end of November, down from 27 in 2015.

This trails key rivals such as the BMW 7 Series (259), Mercedes-Benz S-Class (251), Audi A8 (51) and Jaguar XJ (34).

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