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Lexus LS F Sport (pre-production model)

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Lexus LS F Sport (pre-production model)

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Lexus LS 460 (pre-production model)

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Lexus LS 460 (pre-production model)

Lexus reveal the new LS

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31st July, 2012

- Lexus unveils new LS range
- Over 3,000 changes to the new vehicle, three world firsts and 14 Lexus firsts debut on new model
- New exterior and interior design
- Improved driving dynamics result from structural improvements
- All-new F Sport variants announced
- All-new on-board technology and safety features

Lexus has unveiled its new LS range - and it is one of the most significant mid-cycle major changes in the model's history - and it will be here in Australia in early 2013.

Subject to over 2,500 ongoing improvements since its launch in 2007, new LS adds a further 3,000 improvements and component changes to the vehicle, including three world firsts and no less than 14 Lexus firsts.

Speaking at the launch of the new model president of Lexus International Kiyotaka Ise said: "With over 730,000 sold during its 23-year, four-generation history, the LS has grown and evolved with the times."

"Our new flagship has much greater visual presence; the bold new design reflects how Lexus is evolving. This new LS brings sharper driving dynamics, the highest levels of refinement and luxury and once again is supported by industry-leading technology," said Mr Ise.

Lexus Australia chief executive Tony Cramb said that the new LS continues Lexus' commitment to delivering engaging vehicles.

"This LS is not just redesigned, it is reengineered to deliver on Lexus' ongoing commitment to design, driving dynamics and enjoyment - effectively the vehicle that was World Car of the Year at launch, just got a whole lot better," said Mr Cramb.

Reflecting these comments, the LS chief engineer Hideke Watanabe said: "The LS has always appealed to customers who demand the best. They appreciate the highly refined and luxurious nature of the Lexus flagship."

"So, at the start of the LS development programme, I had to consciously broaden my horizons, focusing on the finer things in life from the worlds of art, design and technology - a first step towards creating the most sophisticated LS yet to satisfy the world's most discerning customers," said Mr Watanabe.

EXTERIOR DESIGN

The exterior of the new LS has been comprehensively redesigned to increase road presence and epitomise Lexus' new corporate identity, including the spindle grille. Every panel (excluding the roof, rear quarter panel and doors) has been redesigned, restyled and resculpted to increase visual appeal or functionality, and reduce wind noise.

Asserting its visual presence, all LS hybrid models will feature unique three-bulb LED headlamps for low and high beam with i-AFS (Intelligent Adaptive Front lighting System).

Lexus LS 460 models gain Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with AFS in lieu of the LED units. Both headlamp packages feature 12-LED turn signal lamps for the first time in a Lexus. Complementing both headlamp packages, all LS models come equipped with an all-LED support lighting package, including vertical fog lamps incorporating the world's smallest PES (polyethersulfone) lens, at 30 millimetres, and unique, L-shaped, seamless light tube daytime running lamps (DRLs).

Rear combination lamps feature all-LED lighting and are designed to portray the Lexus 'L' when lit.

Surrounding the headlamps are new front guards, bumper and bonnet that give LS a wider, lower appearance.

From the rear, all models feature resculpted boot lid, tail lamps and bumper.

New wheel rim designs will feature across all models, with exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels for F Sport and new 14-spoke, hollow rim 19-inch alloys for Sports Luxury models. The new hollow rims significantly lower cabin noise by reducing resonance of the rim while driving. The rims improve conversation clarity by achieving an Articulation Index (AI - Lexus internal measure) in the rear seats of almost 100 per cent when travelling at 100 km/h - making the new flagship sedan the quietest car in its class.

INTERIOR DESIGN

One of the largest areas of change for new LS is the interior.

Featuring a comprehensively redesigned interior, the entire dash cowl, centre console and surrounds have been redesigned to increase functionality, while bringing LS in line with Lexus' all-new interior design themes as debuted on GS.

The new instrument panel design is divided into two distinct zones: an upper display zone, with the new-to-LS standard 12.3-inch wide LCD multi-display screen - the industry's largest - and a lower operation zone, featuring new-to-LS standard second-generation Lexus Remote Touch (LRT) and a new Drive Mode Select system.

On the centre console, switches have been combined and their number reduced, and the centre cluster has been made more compact.

The driver's immediate environment has been further enhanced by a new, smaller three-spoke steering wheel which, at 380 millimetres in diameter, is 10 millimetres smaller than the four-spoke design it replaces, offering owners a more sporting feel and a closer engagement with the vehicle's enhanced driving dynamics.

The centre console is flanked by a new aluminium, asymmetric gear shift lever that has been leather-clad for a comfortable grip and the new five-mode Drive Mode Select.

Commanding the centre of new dash is an all-new advanced analogue clock. In a world first, the clock is linked to the in-car GPS system allowing automatic updates to time as the vehicle traverses time zones.

Already renowned for their comfort, the front seats of the new LS have been further improved and are equipped with enhanced heating and cooling systems. On selected models, a front passenger seat ottoman is available which improves lower leg comfort by reducing heel pressure by 45 per cent and thigh pressure by 10 per cent.

The beautifully crafted interior of the new Lexus LS is complemented by the world's first Advanced Illumination System (AIS). Featuring new, Champagne White interior lamps and dynamic LED instrument panel lighting, the AIS-LED interior lighting greets occupants, even before the car is unlocked, activating and fading thereafter in sequence with the vehicle starting procedure. Careful attention was paid to grouping the various lights of the interior to ensure that the welcoming and departure sequences, along with everyday use, provided the most pleasing light.

Navigation and infotainment systems also integrate better and work faster via a new hard drive-based navigation system.

The all-new Lexus LS models are fitted as standard with a 450-Watt, 19-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround System with 7.1 channel surround sound. To ensure the system performed at its best in the new cabin, over 2,000 tuning hours were spent on the system. The audio system is complemented by a comprehensive rear seat entertainment system, featuring a separate DVD player and a nine-inch VGA screen for the 5.1-channel home theatre entertainment experience of the Mark Levinson Reference Surround System. The system has been upgraded with another Lexus first; a high contrast, high definition Blu-ray player and features either a roof-mounted screen for short wheelbase models (LS 600hL four-seater included) or a centre console-mounted screen for five-seat LS 600hL variants.

The new interior is available in a choice of six colour schemes: Mellow White, Ivory, Light Grey, Black, and Black and Saddle Tan.

The variety of ornamentation available has also been expanded, with newly developed Walnut and matt Ashburl finishes, as well as newly available Shimamoku, bamboo and aluminium on F Sport.

In a Lexus first, the steering wheel and lateral dashboard ornamentation are available in a new, Shimamoku finish. An example of the very finest in traditional Japanese craftsmanship, or Takumi, Shimamoku - translated as 'striped wood' - involves the painstaking layering and angled cutting of dark and light shaded wood veneers in a unique process which involves 67 manufacturing steps over the course of 38 days.

DRIVING DYNAMICS

Ensuring that the driving dynamics of the new LS are matched to its all-new looks, the development team referenced project LFA's "engineering MUSTs" to improve overall dynamic performance. Starting at the foundation, engineers employed new, laser screw welding, adhesive body bonding techniques and structural bracing to increase overall body rigidity by 60 per cent. The new laser screw welding offers greater adhesion across entire surfaces rather than individual spots - resulting in greater body rigidity. This is complemented by an innovative body adhesive process which is applied around the boot and to the header rail of the windscreen, to increases overall structural rigidity.

Additionally, engine bay member joints, larger transmission tunnel brace, larger partition panel reinforcements and seat brackets further strengthen the body.

The engineering improvements result in a more rigid platform that provides a stable base for suspension improvements, while also increasing overall vehicle safety and comfort, and reducing vibration.

Leveraging the improved platform is a new four-wheel interlock control evolution of the Adaptive Variable air Suspension (AVS) system. The new system improves pitch and bounce control to deliver a flatter, road-hugging ride.

Steering performance was also given top priority, with revised steering hardware, smaller steering wheel and increased bracing improving steering accuracy, feel and turn-in response by 20 per cent. This is also supported by a revised Electro Powering Steering (EPS) system calibration.

LS braking system has been enhanced for more immediate power and greater pedal feel via the shortening of the pedal stroke and pedal design.

Furthermore, newly adopted Drive Mode Select has been expanded to offer five switchable driving modes, the most of any Lexus. Drive modes include newly adopted COMFORT mode along with ECO, NORMAL, SPORT S and SPORT S+. The system enables drivers to tailor the vehicle's performance - offering the ideal mix of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.

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ALL-NEW F SPORT

For the first time in its history a new F Sport model is available on LS. The F Sport models cater for more spirited driving and are equipped with sport air suspension which lowers the body height by 10 millimetres.

The rear-wheel drive LS 460 F Sport is equipped with a torque-sensing, Torsen limited-slip rear differential, which optimally distributes torque between the rear wheels and Brembo six-piston front brake callipers which offer smooth, highly stable braking performance.

Uniquely, F Sport hybrid models offer an Active Stabiliser system for enhanced body control and steering response precision, while LS 460 F Sport models gain steering wheel-mounted paddle shift manual override transmission control - known as Sports Programme Direct Shift (SPDS). SPDS incorporates automatic throttle blipping on downshifts for a smooth, highly engaging driving experience.

Particular attention was also paid to the LS engine note, with intake and exhaust systems optimised to deliver pleasing engine notes under load.

F Sport exterior design features include exclusive front grille, front bumper and rear lower bumper treatment, 19-inch alloys, exclusive wheel paint and grade-specific badging.

The interior design features a choice of two exclusive colour schemes, 16-way electrically adjustable F Sport emblem-embossed sports seats, a dimple perforated leather steering wheel with paddle shifters, a matching leather gear lever, and sporting aluminium pedals and scuff plates.

The driving experience of LS F Sport models combines the class-leading quietness and comfort of the standard model range with a more sporting, dynamic chassis set-up to enhance traction, grip, handling agility and driver involvement.

ALL NEW ONBOARD TECHNOLOGY AND SAFETY FEATURES

Joining the raft of visual, dynamic and design changes, all LS models receive comprehensive new onboard technology and safety features.

Headlining these new features is a world first.

Dubbed Lexus Climate Concierge system, it combines automatic operation of front and rear seat climate control (heating and cooling) and the steering wheel rim heater via a network of 13 sensors managed by a central ECU to attain ideal occupant comfort. LS Climate Control systems now adopt innovative Nanoe air purifying technology. This air cleaning technology operates automatically when the air conditioning is turned on. It releases 20 to 50nm-diameter Nanoe particles - negatively charged ions wrapped in water molecules - into the cabin. By attaching themselves to airborne particles and molecules, the Nanoe ions are said to have both an air purifying and odour eliminating effect. They also deodorise vehicle seats and ceiling to provide a cleaner cabin environment. In addition, because Nanoe moisture content is approximately 1,000 times that of conventional ions, the emission of ions bonded to water molecules is said to have a moisturising effect on skin and hair, acting to enhance occupant wellbeing.

PCS DRIVER ALERT MONITORING SYSTEM

The Pre-Collision Safety System's (PCS) Driver Alert Monitor** constantly monitors the movement of the driver's head when looking from side to side, via two built-in near infra-red LEDs and a CCD camera. If the driver turns their head away from the road ahead for a few seconds while the vehicle is in motion and the system detects that a collision is probable, the system will automatically bring forward the pre-crash warning alarm. If the situation persists, it will briefly apply the brakes. If the driver does not then respond immediately, all PCS functions will engage.

NEW BLIND SPOT MONITOR

An all-new feature for the LS model, the Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)# plays a significant role in lane changing safety. BSM uses a rear-side millimetre-wave radar to help monitor the vehicle rear side blind spots. The precision of the radar enables it to distinguish walls and other stationary objects from approaching vehicles. This has made it possible to significantly lower the vehicle speed at which the system begins operating to just 16km/h. This now makes the system usable when driving at low speeds, such as in traffic jams.

AUTOMATIC HIGH BEAM

All LS models feature Automatic High Beam (AHB)^ system as standard. Using a camera located in the inner mirror, AHB detects light sources in front of the vehicle - including the headlamps of oncoming vehicles, the tail lamps of a vehicle ahead and street lighting. The system will automatically switch the high beams on and off accordingly, reducing the need for manual operation of the dimmer switch.

Stay tuned to Next Car for details on Australian specifications and pricing in due course. The new Lexus LS 460 is due to be released in Australia in early 2013.


NOTE:
** PCS is a driver assist technology and should not be used in place of safe driving practices. Driver should continue to monitor road ahead.
# Blind Spot Monitor is designed as a driver assist device only and should not be used as a substitute for skilled driving and safe parking practices. The area into which the vehicle is to be driven must be visually monitored by the driver.
^ Automatic High Beam is designed as a driver assist device only and should not be used as a substitute for skilled driving.


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