First, the good news – the all-new Lexus LS 460 luxury sedan will be here in November 2012, and its LS 600h hybrid sibling in January next year.
Now the bad news; there’s no word from Toyota SA yet on whether or when we can expect to see the F Sport – the first-ever performance version of Lexus’ formerly ultra-conservative status symbol.
The new LS follows on from the recent introduction of the new GS, adopting the new ‘spindle’ grille design and sharper styling overall – but there are also revised driving dynamics, better sound insulation and more sophisticated and effective preventive safety systems to back up the fancy new looks.
In all, said Lexus, more than 3000 detail changes, all based on customer feedback.
The most obvious, of course, is that distinctive grille, flanked by new headlights and vertical foglights with L-shaped, seamless light tube daytime running lights. In fact, for the first time on a Lexus, you can have LED lights throughout – head, tail and foglights as well as the running lights.
Then Lexus has taken a leaf from the Jaguar/Lotus book on bodybuilding, using a combination of laser screw welding and adhesive bonding to make the bodyshell stiffer – sufficiently so that it’s been possible to soften the suspension for a more comfortable ride with no loss of handling agility.
Lexus has developed a new ‘interlock control’ for the LS’ adaptive variable suspension that suppresses roll, pitch and heave vibration at all four wheels simultaneously, at the same time making damping response smoother and more controlled.
The steering geometry has been revised for better accuracy and turn-in response, while the braking system has been adjusted for more bite and better pedal feel – even the brake pedal’s length of stroke, angle and contact surface has been tweaked to make it feel more responsive.