The new DS3, customise every feature to suit your style
By: Jason Woosey
Although sportier Lexus products like the IS and GS have basked in the limelight in recent years, the LS has soldiered on quietly in the background as the pinnacle of the brand's heritage.
This luxury limo is where it all began for Lexus and now the company's biggest saloon has finally joined the 'L-finesse design revolution' and the updated model has just gone on sale in South Africa.
There is a familiarity about the new LS in that its exterior door panels remain the same, but Lexus assures us that everything else is new - in fact this is said to be the most comprehensive enhancement to any vehicle in Lexus history.
The redesigned front end now has a boldness that's always eluded the big Lexus, the centrepiece being an imposing "king spindle" chrome grille that forges a family resemblance to its smaller siblings. This nose is flanked by adaptive headlights with Bi-HID light units in each cluster. They've also redesigned the tail end of the car, the focal point being new three dimensional 'L-Finesse' taillights, and the LS is garnished with a new set of 19-inch alloy wheels.
The winds of change have blown a gust through the cabin too, where occupants will see a redesigned dashboard and a glut of high-end leather, genuine wood or bamboo inserts and plush pile carpeting. In fact, the new LS is available with Japanese Shimamoku trim - which takes 38 days to construct using ultra-fine layers of wood.
This car's purpose in life is to keep its occupants floating along in absolute hedonistic comfort and engineers have left no stones unturned in the pursuit of fulfilling this - right down to the temperature inside.
To this end, the LS comes with the Climate Concierge system - a world first - which measures the temperature of each of the zones inside the car, as well as the outside temperature. It then uses this information to adjust the four-zone climate control system, seat heating/cooling and the heated steering wheel.
ALL THE TOYS
Naturally, you'll find a playground of gadgetry inside this Lexus. Everything from a 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system to built-in entertainment screens for the rear passengers, 16-way power-adjustable driver's seat (14-way for front passenger), adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, driver alertness monitoring, motorized rear and side blinds and a mood lighting system that adapts to your chosen driving mode.
In fact, the driver can make numerous vehicle adjustments, and access the infotainment functions, via the Lexus remote touch interface that's linked to an imposing 31.2cm screen.
If we were discussing a German vehicle, no doubt I would have used the word 'options' by now but everything I've mentioned so far (except the Shimamoku trim) is standard on this car.
To shift this cruise liner forward with some urgency, Lexus has equipped the LS460 with a 4.6-litre V8 engine that pushes 285kW at 6400rpm and 493Nm at 4100rpm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox and against the clock, Lexus claims it'll launch to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds. If you dial down that Mark Levinson, you'll even get to enjoy some V8 melody compliments of the sound amplifier linked to the V8 engine.
Yet as alluded to earlier, this car is more about comfort than sportiness, which is why the LS floats on an adaptive multi-link air suspension system. It's all about refinement, right down to the last detail. Even the wheels have special noise channelling chambers that shift aural interferences away from the cabin.
As for dealing with the more hazardous type of interferences on the road, Lexus has fitted 10 airbags and (to help avoid their use in the first place) what it believes is one of the most advanced pre-crash avoidance systems in the world.
The LS460 is all yours for R1 236 000.