The fifth-generation Lexus LS just hit the market this year, but the Japanese automaker is already looking ahead into the future with a new concept for its flagship sedan that’s heavy on state-of-the-art technology. The concept is called the LS+, and if you were thinking it to be outlandish in the typical Lexus concept fashion, then you’d be right. The LS+ Concept is a feast for the senses in more ways than one.
We already have an idea of how Lexus does concept vehicles. The NX Concept from a few years ago blasted our expectations through the roof, and it’s nice to see that Toyota’s premium brand isn’t letting up. This car, Lexus says, is going to be a showcase of what the LS could look like down the road. It’s not a certainty that this blueprint will be put to use in the future, but as far as giving us a taste of what could come, then it hits all the right spots. It looks the part of a futuristic concept though more important than that are the litany of tech features that it comes with, including the curiously named “Highway Teammate” automated driving technology that brings autonomous driving tech to life. That’s just one of the technology goodies we can expect from the LS+ Concept, so expect a whole lot more now that the full-sized beauty is sitting pretty at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Lexus LS+ Concept
- Laser light technology
- Spindle front grille with mechanized shutters
- Side-view cameras
- 22-inch wheels
"The thing that you’ll immediately notice is how Lexus designers were able to combine current design elements with new visual features that are culled from improved technology"
If this is what the Lexus LS is going to look like in the future, then sign me up. Of course, Lexus has shown a penchant for designing some of the most incredible concepts that I’ve seen in recent years, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary that its vision for the future of the LS flagship sedan follows in that tradition. At first glance, . Take the massive spindle grille for example. Lexus already employs that feature in its current lineup but it still plays a prominent part in the overall look of the concept. Here’s the new-age rub, though. The grille itself incorporates what looks to be a mechanized shutter that does double-duty by helping with cooling the car’s internal parts and boosting the sedan’s overall aerodynamic flow.
The boomerang-like headlights are also similar in design from the current LS but, like the spindle grille, there’s more to it than meets the eye, specifically the illumination. Turns out, laser technology will be a big part of Lexus’ future, as is probably the case too with a lot of automakers down the road. Not only does it guarantee much better illumination than what we’re used to these days, but it’s a clear step in the right direction towards improving road safety for everyone involved. Then there’s the use of cameras instead of conventional side mirrors. It’s not a new “concept” but everyone’s doing it too. What’s a bit surprising is that the concept sits on massive 22-inch alloy wheels, much bigger than the 20-inch wheels the current LS uses.
Overall though, the exterior of LS+ Concept is solid work from Lexus designers. The whole shape of the body is consistent with what we know the LS to be, so it’s good that the designers didn’t go too out of the box with its presentation. It’s imposing in its own right, but not at all intimidating. That’s what you want a flagship sedan to look like.
- Inspiration from Japanese design
- Should have leather interior
- Should have wood trim
- Ambient lighting
|Interior from 2018 Lexus LS500 shown here|
The interior of the Lexus LS+ Concept is trickier to get a hold off because judging by how blacked-out those windows are, it appears that there’s very little there to talk about. Some concepts adopt this approach so it’s nothing that we’re not used to. That said, we can still speculate on what the concept’s cabin could look like.
Personally, I don’t think the interior will be a far departure from what the current LS already has. That’s a good thing because the cabin of the current LS is one of the cleanest ones in its segment. The heavy inspiration on Japanese design has been a hallmark of Lexus for years so there’s no reason to think that the future LS will adopt a similar design philosophy. Fine leather should be a gimme. Same thing with ambient lighting and some kind massage feature on the seats. These are hallmarks of Lexus’ Japan-style cabin treatment and I’m all for getting all those things – maybe even more – on the future LS sedan.
As far as tech features go, the expectation is that Lexus is going to take a massive leap from what it has on the table now. A navigation display should still be in the mix, but it could cater to a number of new tech items in the future, including the aforementioned “Highway Teammate” technology that effectively puts a fully functioning autonomous system in place for the LS sedan.
- Highway Teammate autonomous driving technology
- Data tech system
- Could be all-electric
- Could have 354-horsepower drivetrain from LS500h
"Lexus LS+ Concept is going to adopt autonomous driving technology using its Highway Teammate system"
The only thing we know about the Lexus LS+ Concept is that it’s going to adopt autonomous driving technology using its Highway Teammate system. This technology essentially gives the luxury sedan full autonomous driving capabilities to navigate around specific road conditions, including merging, lane changes, and diverging. It’s also tipped to be smart enough to keep the sedan in its lane, a safe distance from the car in front.
Coinciding with the use of Highway Teammate is the concept’s ability to communicate with a data center, allowing the system’s software to be updated on the fly. It’s something that Tesla is already doing with its fleet of models so if Lexus is going to get that level, it’s going to need to have it’s own architecture in place if it’s going to fully adapt autonomous driving technology in the future.
Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess what kind of drivetrain the future LS could have. The likeliest candidate is a fully-electric set-up, though a hybrid shouldn’t be dismissed either. If it does end up being the latter, Lexus can point to the setup of the current LS 500h, which makes use of a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine and a couple of electric motors. Total output is rated at 354 horsepower, giving the LS enough boost to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds.
Is it possible that the future LS will have a gas-engine? I’d say yes, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lexus goes fully hybrid and electric in the future.
I’m always intrigued every time Lexus comes out with a concept vehicle. It’s arguably one of the best at it and if you’re not a believer, look up some of the past Lexus concepts from the last few years. The LS+ Concept fits into that mold because it not only looks the part of a futuristic concept, but it also looks like something that Lexus will eventually turn into a production car in the future. Those are always the best kind of concepts to begin with so I’m expecting big things out of the LS+ down the road. Don’t expect it to happen anytime soon though because the LS just got its fifth-gen model rolling.
But for the future? You bet I’m looking forward to it.
- Design is top-class
- Dripping with new technology
- Makes you excited for the future of the LS
- Not happening anytime soon
- How much of it will be adapted to future LS models is a good question
- Not enough details on the interior and drivetrain
Read our review of the 2018 Lexus LS500
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