The Lexus LS is a car that the Lexus folk hold close to their hearts. Not only is it the pinnacle of the current crop of cars they make, but the old LS 400 from the Nineties established Lexus as a firm that could pose a serious threat to the established competition.
In a bid to maintain this image, Lexus has now issued a vast array of updates and improvements - over 3,000, to be exact - to the LS range in a bid to maintain its place in the market. But how thorough exactly are these changes?
Out of all the areas where the updated LS differs from the previous one, its the changes made to the bodywork that are the most obvious. The new Lexus spindle grille has now been implemented, and all the external lights are now made up of LEDs (a world first, Lexus claims). The LS F-Sport model also gets a redesigned and sportier bumper design.
The alterations to the LSs interior arent quite as noticeable to the changes made to the exterior almost all of the improvements are slight redesigns and adjustments - but there are so many of them that, altogether, the changes are quite thorough.
And were not joking when we say there are a lot of changes: the seats have been redesigned to be more comfortable and supportive, the on-board entertainment system has been revamped with a new Blu-ray player, the climate control with its 13 sensors is now more sophisticated than before, the 12.3 inch display from the GS saloon is now included, five different driving modes to choose fromthe list goes on and on!
The most impressive claims for these new gadgets, though, belong to the safety systems. Lexus has tinkered with the Pre-Crash safety system, so it now has a feature that helps prevents collisions, whilst the computers that control the Lane Keep Assist can detect crosswinds and camber changes in the road. Very clever stuff, we reckon!
Under the skin
As with the cabin, the bits and bobs underpinning the entire car have been given a bit of a thorough going over by the engineers. New production methods, for instance, now make the updated LS more rigid, whilst improved levels of insulation and hollow formed alloy wheels promise to improve refinement levels.
In a bid to make the car a bit more sporting than it was before, the steering has been improved, and the two new Sport S and Sport S + modes aim to turn the LS into a machine that can take on the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series in regards to dynamics.
Also, as part of the optional F-Sport trim, Brembo brakes are also included, along with a limited slip-differential for the entry level rear-wheel drive model.
If youre not too keen on the all-wheel drive-only 600h hybrid, then youll be pleased to know that there is another version on offer. The petrol-powered LS 460, with its big V8 makes a return to the range after a brief hiatus, and can only be specified with rear-wheel drive. Yet again, though, there is no diesel option, which may end up hurting sales in the company car market.
The revised LS range, though designated for 2013, will actually be going on sale before 2012 is out. UK pricing will be revealed at a later date, though its been suggested that the LS 460 will kick the range off with a base RRP in the 65,000 ballpark.
In many areas, the updated Lexus LS seems to be a step or two ahead of the models they replace. The numerous tiny changes here and there add up to make a huge difference to the car (on paper, at least), and its always welcome to have a new engine in the range, along with a more sports orientated F-Sport trim, which promises to bring a bit of athleticism to a car thats been criticised for being a bit dull to drive.
In other areas, though, were not entirely convinced. Despite there being changes being made to areas that would affect the cars handling in a good way, efforts in the past by the Japanese luxury firm have left a fair bit to be desired when it comes to overall dynamics. Were also a bit miffed that theres no diesel option, which we reckon would make it a far more appealing ownership prospect to more people who shop around for cars in this market.
Still, well reserve our final judgement until we start aggregating the reviews and, hopefully, get our hands on one to road test. Who knows: maybe Lexus have done enough to shake up the luxury executive market with this updated LS in the same way the old LS 400 did all those years ago.