New Lexus saloon exudes luxury and technology

Though certainly overshadowed in the performance stakes by the new Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG, the new Lexus LS range is certain to win over some of the German marque's customers with its technology and comparative value-for-money. Lexus has come a long way since it first launched a blatant Mercedes copy seventeen years ago, thanks in no small part to its industry-leading quality, reliability and resulting customer satisfaction.

If the new LS looks familiar, that's because we were given a preview at last year's Tokyo Motor Show. There is nothing radical about the new car's design, combining elements from other new Lexus models with a BMW-esque rear end. It certainly won't divide opinion like the new S-class Mercedes does.

Only the LS460 version was shown in Detroit, in standard and long wheelbase options. This car features a brand new 4.6-litre V8 engine churning out about 350bhp and 500Nm or torque. No doubt it will be eerily quiet, as all Lexus V8s have been since the marque appeared. In a game of one-upmanship, the new engine is mated with the world's first eight-speed automatic transmission. Surely such a torquey unit does not require that many cogs?

Final specifications for the car we get in the UK have yet to be decided upon, and there will no doubt be other engine derivatives, but standard features are likely to include a heated steering wheel, electrically adjustable rear seats with extending leg rests and massage function, folding rear work table, climate control system with body heat sensors and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.

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