• Five Cool Design Features That Lexus Introduced with the New LS

Expect to see most of them in upcoming Lexus models

As the first model to wear the Lexus badge and the company’s oldest nameplate (introduced in 1989), the LS is arguably the most important vehicle for Toyota’s luxury division. Despite this, it took Lexus quite a few years to replace the fourth-generation model. While the first three iterations were sold for five to six years, the fourth-gen sedan soldiered on for more than a decade. Granted, Lexus introduced updates in 2009 and 2012, but the LS was a bit long in the tooth compared to its competitors. Come 2017 and the fifth-gen LS was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show, and I finally understand why it took so long for the new full-size sedan to arrive.

Much like most redesigned cars, the LS boasts a ton of new features inside and out, as well as new underpinnings and a new drivetrain. However, nothing says revolution more than the new design language that Lexus introduced with the fifth-gen four-door. Okay, maybe it’s not all that new given that specific cues can be seen on existing Lexus cars, but there are quite a few new features worth mentioning. And if current design strategies are any indication, these new elements will probably find their way in other Lexus models too.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Unique "Spindle" Grille Design

Five Cool Design Features That Lexus Introduced with the New LS High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The "Spindle" grille has been around for a quite a few years now, so it’s not that new, but Lexus created a new and unique mesh for the LS. Now featuring a texture that changes shape according to angle and lighting conditions, it’s the result of intense CAD development and, more impressively, hand-adjusting thousands of individual surfaces. According to Lexus chief designed Koichi Suga, quoted by CarBuzz, the company spent no fewer than three and a half years to come up with the final design. It may seem like a huge waste of time, but it’s darn impressive and definitely makes the LS stand out next to rivals from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Cadillac.

The Z-shaped Headlamps

Five Cool Design Features That Lexus Introduced with the New LS High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The headlamps are also somewhat familiar if you compared them to those on the IS and RC, but the Z shape that the main light units form with the lower LED strip is brand-new and quite unique. Essentially an evolution of the headlamps seen on the IS, the new lights go deeper in the crease between the fender and the X-shaped nose, while the bottom LED stripe extends into the wheel arches. The new shape also seems to match that of the "Spindle" grille, giving the front fascia an angular and aggressive, yet organic look. Now close your eyes and imagine the RC F coupe with the same grille and headlamp patterns. Gorgeous, right?

New Beltline with Muscular Rear Haunches

Five Cool Design Features That Lexus Introduced with the New LS High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The fourth-generation LS’ design wasn’t bad, but the sedan began to feel bland toward the end of its life-cycle, when most premium brands began adopting sportier styling cues. This is no longer an issue, as Lexus ditched the straight horizontal lines that defined the LS’ side panels in favor of a more muscular profile. The beefed-up rear haunches are the main highlight here, but the arches front fenders and the sculpted side skirts also contribute to the sedan’s sporty appearance.

Retro-Inspired Dashboard

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The new cabin is also a significant departure form the previous design and the dashboard stands out thanks to its two-tier design above the center console and on the passenger side. What’s more, the upper section is scalloped on the passenger side. This, along with the horizontal stripes on the lower dash section, gives the cabin a retro-style look. Lexus didn’t say whether it took inspiration from an older design, but the dashboard seems inspired by certain American designs from the 1970s. And that’s not a bad thing.

Leaf Pore Pattern Speakers

Five Cool Design Features That Lexus Introduced with the New LS High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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If you need more confirmation that the new LS is a work of art, take a look at the Mark Levinson speaker covers in the door panels. That’s a leaf pore pattern right there, which adds to the interior’s organic design and also helps the LS stand out from the pack.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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