What hasn’t changed is that luxury, refinement and sheer attention to detail still get top billing.
Seat yourself comfortably in the leather-lined cabin and from the moment that the power-adjustable steering wheel glides into reach and the cabin lighting finishes its co-ordinated welcome sequence, you know this is going to be a special driving experience.
The LS has its own visual identity. The improved version has further developed the brand’s L-Finesse design language with a more muscular bonnet design below which has been added Lexus’ distinctive spindle-shaped upper and lower front grille layout. Look closer and the detailing is quite beautiful, with an array of no fewer than 12 LEDs used for the turn indicators, with further LEDs used in integral daytime running lights created from a single seamless light tube that leaves a distinctive L-shaped visual signature.
In profile, this improved LS shares its predecessor’s long, elegant cabin proportions, while at the rear, the spindle design seen at the front is reflected in flowing lines that cut across the boot surface from the C-pillars, before flaring out towards the lower half of the body. It’s a shape that remains one of the slipperiest in the sector, yet features incisive strokes from the stylist’s pen with paper-thin panel gaps that have become a brand trademark: this, you feel, could only be a Lexus.
An impression further emphasised behind the wheel where the instrument layout has what’s supposed to be a more comfortable and ergonomically efficient horizontal layout. But your first impressions will simply be of over-riding luxury and beautifully chosen furnishment. The cabins of rival competitors are very nicely done but they don’t ultimately feel very different from those of smaller executive models in the next class down. An LS, in contrast, always makes you feel like you’re in a very expensive car indeed.
The precision-machined aluminium analogue clock has GPS time-correction, positioned to perfectly catch the light. The bright Optitron instrument dials that spring into life as you fire up and are positioned either side of a 5. 8-inch TFT multi-information screen. And the wonderfully tactile three-spoke leather trimmed electrically adjustable steering wheel that raises automatically to aid entry and exit as the beautifully supportive electric leather seat adjusts its position to suit. The wood veneer trim is also beautifully done
You’ll find it on a dashboard divided into upper and lower zones, the higher one dominated by a huge central 12. 3-inch LCD multimedia screen, the widest on the market, and the interface through which you control audio, ‘phone, vehicle information, climate and navigation functions via the key component you’ll find in the dashboard’s lower operating zone, the ‘Remote Touch Interface’. Why can’t they just call it a ‘mouse’? That’s after all what it is, a little device that feels a tad clunky to use at first but soon becomes second nature as you flick through the various menus.
The ‘Climate Concierge’ uses 13 temperature sensors to decide upon the climate necessary in each zone of the car, then 20 individual air outlets to distribute a hot or cold breeze as necessary. This climate controlled air will incorporate what are called nanoe particles, minute little negatively charged ions wrapped in water molecules that clean the cabin air, deodorise the upholstery and can even moisturise your skin and hair.
At its original introduction, the first generation version of this model changed the whole concept of what a large luxury car should be and over a quarter of a century on, this vastly improved fourth generation design continues to deliver its own very individual take on the kind
of model this exalted segment should offer. True, it isn’t an obvious choice. But then, that might be precisely why you’ll like one so much.