Introducing the All-New 2018 Lexus LS 500 & LS 500h

Carmaker1

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Hi everyone, I've been laying low lately and all over the place in my personal life, so I haven't been able to steadily log in. I want to discuss why the LS is what it is design wise and what to expect in the future.

The LF-FC will go into production I believe in 2020, but not maybe not as an LS per se. Like Mercedes-Benz did at NAIAS in January 1999 with the Vision SLR Concept, they wanted to preview the styling language of their R230 SL roadster that went on sale in late 2001 and early 2002 worldwide, without fully giving it away.
NAIAS 1999 Vision SLR

1998 R230 1:1 Mock-Up Wind Tunnel

1998 Vision SLR Mock-Up Wind Tunnel



Plus, they wanted to study the possibility of a 2-seater on top of the future SL, which they had fully known what the redesign SL would look like by June 21, 1997 when they signed it off (above). The Vision SLR project became bigger than expected and did indeed result in an all-new SLR supercar co-developed with McLaren.

Like Mercedes, Lexus previewed a range-topper's design with a pie in the sky version of the production LS and then likely have green-lighted the new fuel cell development as another model.

It is clear that as early as late 2011, work was underway on the 200B programme. Chief Toshio Asahi clocked out of directing the 6ES (XV60) programme in late 2011 as pre-production (ES350/300h) was getting underway and shifted to the 200B LS.

By the summer of 2014, styling on the new LS had been fully finalised and now Toyota decided they wanted to preview it and that of a range-topping Lexus fuel cell offering in one vehicle. By July of 2014, mock-ups of both the new LC coupe and 2018 LS had been shown to global Lexus directors from regional divisions (Europe, USA, Canada, etc).

By September 2014, designers at Lexus Tokyo Design and Research Laboratory were fully underway on development of a design study, moderately based on the 200B production design. By October 2014, the LS was being shown to some Lexus UK personnel now in prototype form.


On December 3, 2014, styling for the LF-FC was fully approved in the Tokyo studio courtyard.

Little does anyone know, but I am extremely unnerved to find out that Motor Trend (for all the Toyota connections they have now), couldn't figure that this damn prototype had nothing to do with Alfa Romeo Giulia, let alone FCA and was that of a Toyota Motor Co. product. In fact if you study closely, I have unusually stumbled onto possibly the very first spy shot of the 5LS testing in Michigan in November/early December 2014. So unlike we thought before, these were not even the first LS spy shots. Stupid Motor Trend, like a few other media sources could not figure out that was a Lexus prototype and not just any Lexus, but maybe the flagship LC or LS.

If not the LC or LS though, then what was this car in these photos? The length makes me wonder what it is, as it is definitely GA-L. This was published December 4, 2014, so it could be from November or December 1-3, 2014.





Subsequent to this, Best Car magazine released this rendering the second week of December 2014.

It is obvious from this, although they executed the details wrong, they clearly heard inside info on the new LS due in 2017.

Later we saw this mule in June 2015.

July 2015 rendering

Then the LF-FC debut at Tokyo 2015

Rendering in April 2016

These spy shots in May 2016

And then actual thing by July 27th.



November 2016 rendering by Best Car or Kodansha Magazine

Ironically I saw the LS500h shortly before this and was not allowed to disclose how close it was, due to the NDA agreement I had signed shortly before it was posted online.

The Real Deal - Photo Date: November 2016; Released: January 9, 2017.



Anyway, what it seems to me is that, the LF-FC is definitely going to arrive as a fuel cell-powered larger vehicle, an XL version of the LS with unique styling. Similar to how the XL length X222 Mercedes-Maybach S600 exists alongside the LWB W222 Mercedes-Benz S600.


That explains why Mark Templin said that the LF-FC was NOT specifically the next LS, as even though it strongly hinted at it in the interior and front fascia, the C pillar and that of the rear were not exact.












The fuel cell will be a six-figure priced Lexus come 2020, as a possible Mercedes-Benz Maybach competitor. Lexus knew very well back in mid-2014, the design that was signed-off would be controversial, which coincides with many summer 2014 articles on Lexus going after the Jaguar XJ and Porsche Panamera. Yet they ended up favouring a more cab-rearward design for their concept developed in the months after that.

In conclusion, I am hearing and now seeing that this car is not due until early in the 2018 calendar year. Japanese launch might be in December, with other territories following next year. Why is Toyota delaying so many new products, as if they are not over-aged already? The LC was delayed 3-4 months, now the LS into 2018.



 
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mikeavelli

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^^^^ Wow amazing stuff. Your ideas support some rumors that have swirled for awhile of a sedan above the LS.

As for the mag drawings below, it seems most everyone missed a key detail in them. That the rear door had a curved C/D-pillar which is completely different from the LF-FC.



 

ydooby

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As for the mag drawings below, it seems most everyone missed a key detail in them. That the rear door had a curved C/D-pillar which is completely different from the LF-FC.
That's actually the first thing I noticed while scrolling down Carmaker1's post too, before I read your reply.

Great catch on MotorTrend's so-called Alfa Romeo Giulia spy pics, Carmaker1. If you look at MotorTrend's spy pic closely, you'll notice that it doesn't have any side window behind the rear door, a distinct feature of the 5LS. It also has wide fenders, which the 5LS does not have but somehow the white mule in the Japanese magazine Carmaker1 posted does.


However, the car in MotorTrend's spy shots does share identical wheels with the spied 5LS prototype.


So is the car in the spy shots posted by MotorTrend the same car as the white mule in the Japanese magazine? Very possibly so, but since the mule in the Japanese magazine is simply a modified 4LS that was spied way before the 5LS prototype was spotted, I'd say the mule posted by MotorTrend was no more than an early prototype on the GA-L platform with a 4LS shell, and not a fuel-cell prototype or a separate model positioned above the LS.
 
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Carmaker1

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^^^^ Wow amazing stuff. Your ideas support some rumors that have swirled for awhile of a sedan above the LS.

As for the mag drawings below, it seems most everyone missed a key detail in them. That the rear door had a curved C/D-pillar which is completely different from the LF-FC.



That late 2014 blue Best Car rendering was probably the one not biased by the concept (cribbed more from 4LS), due to the LF-FC project not being public info nor even known by lower-level Toyota HQ personnel in Aichi, who probably leaked info about the 5LS to Best Car. I hated it with that blue rendering with a passion, but can see so many things were accurate as early as it was.


As for the fuel cell, maybe that will be the range topper, likely at 208-209 inches in length.
 

Carmaker1

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That's actually the first thing I noticed while scrolling down Carmaker1's post too, before I read your reply.

Great catch on MotorTrend's so-called Alfa Romeo Giulia spy pics, Carmaker1. If you look at MotorTrend's spy pic closely, you'll notice that it doesn't have any side window behind the rear door, a distinct feature of the 5LS. It also has wide fenders, which the 5LS does not have but somehow the white mule in the Japanese magazine Carmaker1 posted does.


So is the car in the spy shots posted by MotorTrend the same car as the white mule in the Japanese magazine? Very possibly so, but since it's simply a modified 4LS that was spotted way before the 5LS prototype was seen, and since the car in MotorTrend's spy shots shares identical wheels with the spied 5LS prototype, I'd say the mule posted by MotorTrend was no more than an early prototype on the GA-L platform with a 4LS shell, and not a fuel-cell prototype or a separate model positioned above the LS.
I have actually opened up a new thread on what it could be, as it is puzzling.
 

meth.ix

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Anyway, what it seems to me is that, the LF-FC is definitely going to arrive as a fuel cell-powered larger vehicle, an XL version of the LS with unique styling. Similar to how the XL length X222 Mercedes-Maybach S600 exists alongside the LWB W222 Mercedes-Benz S600.


That explains why Mark Templin said that the LF-FC was NOT specifically the next LS, as even though it strongly hinted at it in the interior and front fascia, the C pillar and that of the rear were not exact.




The fuel cell will be a six-figure priced Lexus come 2020, as a possible Mercedes-Benz Maybach competitor. Lexus knew very well back in mid-2014, the design that was signed-off would be controversial, which coincides with many summer 2014 articles on Lexus going after the Jaguar XJ and Porsche Panamera. Yet they ended up favouring a more cab-rearward design for their concept developed in the months after that.
So what you are saying is that this vehicle will still be a part of the LS lineup, but technically in a separate segment that will compete with the ultra-luxury saloons such as Mercedes-Maybach, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, etc. And you are saying that it will be powered by a Hydrogen Fuel Cell? So it will be fully electric, probably the first in it's segment. What name do you guys think it will have? I'm going with LS 650eL (I tried "XL" but it looked too weird, 650 just because it will seem more prestigious than the V12-powered Mercedes-Maybach S600 ;) , and the "e" stands for "electric" since it is still electric even though it is powered by hydrogen rather than the traditional regular battery.). One thing is for sure, it will not get as many sales as it's competitors, because:

1) The brand name is not as "prestigious" as it's competitors.
2) It will most likely be the first ever saloon in it's segment to ever be powered with a battery, let alone only a battery.

I hope that this ultra-luxury LS you are talking will also have some more distinguishable exterior styling, such as more chrome trim, and maybe a hood ornament??? Oh and also some better wheels, please.
 

mediumhot

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BTW, did anyone notice how the LF-FC clay model from December 2014 has the same exact wheel design as the LS500 and LS500h?



Those wheels are evolution of these



I would only assume that wheel design was too radical for conventional and understated 4LS back then.
 

Gecko

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I have mixed emotions about the LF-FC coming later as a "non-LS" vehicle. Another halo sedan above LS in the Lexus lineup with a different name would be a no-go IMO, so maybe it will use some version of "LS _____."
 

mikeavelli

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I have mixed emotions about the LF-FC coming later as a "non-LS" vehicle. Another halo sedan above LS in the Lexus lineup with a different name would be a no-go IMO, so maybe it will use some version of "LS _____."
Ferrari literally just dropped a car today called the Ferrari 812 Super Fast. So maybe Lexus will follow suite and call it the LS 9000 Super LS hahahahahha
 

meth.ix

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I feel like the critic did a good job critiquing the exterior, minus the grille, which he put too much of his personal opinion into it. The Spindle Grille is something that is purely subjective and goes under "the beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
 
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Ian Schmidt

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I'm always amused by how many alleged ex-LS owners these types of articles attract in the comments given that I think everyone here who's driving an LS has been leaving a trail of drool since NAIAS.
 
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So...how likely is it that Lexus will show off a 4-seat variant of the LS500 at Geneva with a proper big central unit with tables etc?

Is it just me who feels the middle seat being folded down to provide this seems a little cheap? I know the current LS you can spec with either this 5-seat variant and then the 4-seat variant with the impressive big centre console unit...but that also came with the reclining seats and longwheelbase which the LS already is.

This leads me to think there will no longer be a 4-seat variant of the car which is a shame, I know this may seems strange and splitting hairs but I feel opening the door to a car with the big chunky centre console in the rear with fold out tables etc. is far more impressive than the seat folded down...even worse the head rest is attached so it hangs down and just looks silly/cheap.

Here's hoping...



Does anyone notice that the new LS's introduction page on the Lexus International site (unintentionally?) reveals a photo showing the backseat that is SLIGHTLY different from those of the LS500 at NAIAS or other auto show or on the official Lexus website.

Take a look at the bottom right part of the picture, and there is a "stitched something" on the side of the rear passenger seat. I don't know if this is a proof that there will be a 4-seat variant of the LS, but at least it is certain that Lexus will bring the another variant, hopefully more luxurious one.
screenshot20170228.PNG

And this picture for a comparison.
 
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