Lexus LS (2012) first official picture

Published: 27 July 2012

Lexus has responded to supposed internet leaks of its new 2012 flagship saloon by releasing its own moody shot of the car.

The hybrid-only LS will go on sale later in 2012, after its worldwide in-the-metal debut at the Moscow motor show.

What’s the inside track on the 2012 Lexus LS?

For a start, there’s the snarly new face: it’s likely this is an F-sport spec LS, a sporty bodykit version in the same vein as a BMW’s M Sport or Audi S-line.

The LS’s angular grille recalls the current F-sport GS saloon, a design element first seen on the LF-LC concept coupe. It’s an altogether more dynamic look than previous, softer-edged Lexuses (Lexii?) that shows Toyota’s luxury arm is determined to portray a more sporting image and attract younger buyers to the brand.

All models will be hybrid only – in the UK, at least – although in big Lexus cars this has always been more in a quest for better performance on the road, not at the fuel pumps. The outgoing flagship LS600h boasts four-wheel-drive, powered by a combined 5.0-litre V8 and electric motor that jointly develop 439bhp – more than a BMW M3, for heaven’s sake.

Even back in 2007, that was good enough for a claimed 30.3mpg, thanks to the then-radical eight-speed gearbox. However, don’t expect Toyota’s finest brains to have been resting on their laurels, or been too busy playing with the sublime LF-A to have neglected the LS.

Expect the new car to have a downsized engine, more efficient electric motor and even better eco-credentials. However, Transport For London has wised up to luxury hybrids like the LS ducking into Congestion Charge exemption, and has moved the goalposts, so London-dwelling executive who wishes to travel in absolute opulence can no longer dodge a few quid when entering the capital.

We’ll find out more details when the Lexus LS is officially unveiled on 31 July 2012.

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish

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