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Lexus goes bolder with new design of flagship LS 500

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The new Lexus LS 500 is sculpted and sleek, offering a twin turbo V6 with 416 horsepower and improved fuel efficiency. (KABC)

The newest Lexus is quite significant for a couple of reasons.

First, it's the latest in a line of big sedans that have been part of the Lexus franchise since the beginning.

In 1990, Toyota's then-new upscale brand shook up the luxury world with a car that went toe-to-toe with established names, and brought new levels of reliability and dealer service. The LS has been the Lexus flagship ever since.

In 2018 the bar is set much higher, as the luxury car segment has become ultra-competitive.

Lexus knew it had to make cars that are bolder looking, to go with the other attributes that are part of the Lexus brand.

The new LS 500 is sculpted and sleek, in stark contrast to the rather slab-sided LS 460 it replaces, and particularly in comparison to the original 1990 LS 400 that helped launch the brand.

The new LS is a response to company president Akio Toyoda demanding, "No more boring cars."

No more V8 engine for the LS either, which is a sign of the times.

While an eight-cylinder engine had been part and parcel of the LS from the beginning, a new twin turbo V6 offers 416 horsepower plus improved fuel efficiency. The engine transmits power through a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Yes, it is a new era at Lexus, with the LS following the rakish LC coupe that debuted last year, closely following the design of the concept car that inspired it.

The sleek two-door LC 500 stunned many who didn't think Lexus could build such an exciting-looking car.

Now the LS gets the magic styling wand waved over it too.

But for Lexus it's not all just about the design. It's how potential customers view the brand overall. While you'll still see the company sponsor things like golf tournaments, they're branching out in other directions too.

Like the Lexus Performance Driving School, which travels to various tracks around the country throughout the year. Lexus owners - and potential owners - get professional instruction, and experience various models at their full potential.

But luxury and amenities are paramount in a large sedan, and the new LS 500 lacks for nothing. From comfort to safety, it's all here, either as standard equipment or with options packages. (Lexus has not announced a base price for the 2018 LS 500 which goes on sale next month, but they say the estimated MSRP will be $75,000.)
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