2007 Lexus LS460 Preview

The launch of the 2007 Lexus LS460 at the 2006 North America International Auto Show was a splashy event befitting the flagship sedan from Toyota’s premium brand.

Toyota has steered the highly regarded luxury sedan on a collision course towards its German made competition, with the mind set to replace BMW and Mercedes as the leader in this class worldwide.  They are taking Lexus beyond North America and launching an assault around the Globe.

To begin with the styling is much less conservative than Lexus buyers have been accustomed to. The styling, based on the new L-finesse philosophy, appears more swept back and aerodynamic. Certain controversial rear end styling cues appear to have been brought over from Europe, which is where Chris Bangle is based with BMW, correct? I love the look of the car; the whole effort reflects a position of “I Have Arrived”. This design should have tremendous road presence.

Lexus is now offering the LS in a regular wheelbase as well as a long wheelbase model, stretched 5 inches more, giving the rear seating area that living room feeling. Other homey touches include a seat massager for the reclining right rear seat, a centre console table, a DVD entertainment system and a climate control system that monitors the air and your body temperature. Front seat passengers can also enjoy the climate controlled seating. Lexus has likened the rear seating area to amenities found on-board a private jet. Seems more upscale to me.

The improvements extend to the engine bay as well. A new 4.6 litre V8 engine is standard equipment. The 380 Hp unit producing 370 lf-ft of torque delivers power to the rear wheels through an industry first, 8 speed automatic transmission. Toyota claims that the large sedan will accelerate to 60 miles per hour or 100 KM’s per hour in less than 5.5 seconds. Impressive!

Lexus does not appear to concern itself with the horsepower surplus some of its competition is producing, however a hybrid LS600H due out later will offer performance on par with other some of the pavement crushing supercharged alternatives. The upshot is that the Lexus will return the extra performance with an expected reduction in fuel consumption.

Expect the Lexus flagship in showrooms in the Fall of 2006. Pricing has yet to be announced.