40 Series LS
1 Apr 2007
THE fourth-generation Lexus LS flagship represented a rethink of positioning, with the traditional, single-specification V8 model – christened LS460 – joined by a long wheelbase flagship version.
Dubbed the LS600Lh, the range-topper was a petrol/electric hybrid devised to recharge the LS’ moribund image to that of a technological and environmental innovator.
Meanwhile, the LS460 carried on the core LS staple since 1990 of offering specification matching the German competitions’ upper-level models, at their entry level prices.
This included Lexus’ ‘Pre-Collision’ advanced safety system, air suspension, radar cruise control, reclinable ‘premium leather’ seating with cooling and heating for all outboard seats, top-end audio, four-zone climate control air-conditioning, and keyless entry and starting.
A new 4.6-litre quad-cam V8 delivered 280kW of power at 6500rpm and 493Nm of torque at 4100rpm to the rear wheels, and was mated to a world-first eight-speed automatic gearbox, a compact transmission designed to maximise fuel economy at higher speeds (12.1L/100km average) and launch feel at lower ones.
In Australia, the 600hL came standard with a longer wheelbase and all-wheel drive with the option of a four-seat version with Ottoman recliner.
December 2009 saw a facelift arrive in Australia, headlined by a new LS460 Sports variant with a unique bodykit comprising a black weave grille, front spoiler, side rocker mouldings and unique 20-spoke 19-inch forged alloy wheels. Its lower, wider stance was backed by a sports-tuned transmission and chassis - debuting paddle-shifts in the big Lexus.
The rest of the 2010 LS line-up brought a number of visual and technical upgrades.
Leading the cosmetic change were new front and rear bumpers, a fresh grille and redesigned wing mirrors with integrated turn signals.
The headlights and tail-lights had also been revised, with LED daytime running lights up front and a new combination rear lamp design.
Retuned air suspension for all models was claimed to improve turn-in response, while Lexus said a new interior ‘Eco’ mode reduced the power necessary to run the air-conditioning system.
Also aimed at reducing fuel consumption was an indicator bar “to notify the driver whether or not they are operating the accelerator in a fuel efficient way”.
The upgraded LS cabin was highlighted by a new centre stack with new switchgear and chrome highlights, while the LS also gained USB audio capability, allowing portable music players to be controlled by the touch navigation screen.
Perhaps even more significant, however, was the fitment for the first time in any Lexus model of a one-touch indicator function. While the Japanese maker had been tardy in offering the convenience feature, the LS went one up on rival systems by being programmable – set to flash three, five, seven or nine times.
The flagship LS600hL got a new Lexus Rear Seat Relaxation Pack, a 35-litre larger boot thanks to a more compact rear air-conditioning unit and enhancements to the vehicle’s Lexus Hybrid Drive system, featuring more compact battery packaging and Euro 5 emissions compliance.
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