LS is More
As I gingerly depress the accelerator, a voice screeches from the walkie-talkie: “Yalla! (more gas!)”. I never thought I’d be cornering sedans built for family use on a race track in the middle of a desert. However, you can’t say life isn’t full of surprises. Which begs the question: is the fifth-generation Lexus LS built solely for wholesome fun? The fact that I’m still breathing means this Lexus LS, the first all-new model following its predecessor’s decade-long lifespan, is much more than that.
On that note, the new Lexus LS is also full of pleasant surprises, brought to the fore at the Dubai Autodrome. An exacting course in the middle of Dubai, the Autodrome was to be the centrepiece of Dubai Motor City, an approximately three-square-kilometre development featuring the aforementioned track, a hotel and retail outlets.
Originally meant to attract the Formula One races to Dubai, the development has since been abandoned, though thankfully, the track was spared that fate.
On first appearances, flinging lengthy saloons around a top-grade circuit might seem jocular. Nonetheless, the Lexus LS rose to the occasion time and again as it chewed up the snaking course with nary a complaint, hurtling around the Autodrome’s tight corners and reaching its top speed of 250km/hr on the circuit’s front straight. It’s hard to believe this saloon is so agile and responsive.
Unfortunately, I don’t like to walk too far on the wild side, which resulted in the drive leader continuing to yell at me via the walkie-talkie. My caution in asking too much of the new Lexus LS was mainly down to how I had a vision in my head of turning Lexus’ all-new car into a pile of scrap on its first outing.
I needn’t have worried, however, because of a number of passive and active safety measures, from its reinforced passenger cell to electronics (including a pre-collision system and radar-guided cruise control) that can make intuitive analyses to keep occupants safe. But for all its dynamic ability, the Lexus LS is also quite the consummate gentleman. The rubber from the tyres that I was scoring the Autodrome’s tarmac with has recently been enhanced, and in conjunction with its wheels, they form part of a tertiary sound insulation system that further noise-proofs this capacious car.
All the better to hear the Mark Levinson audio system, which comprises 23 speakers in 16 locations around the car, plus Quantum Logic Immersion and Clari-Fi technologies that allow you to enjoy John, Paul, George and Ringo as never before.
Plus, active noise cancellation detects and analyses engine noise, then deploys opposite-phase frequencies to further hush its opulent cockpit, which is embellished by artistically laser-cut surfaces, from undesired sounds.
Perhaps it’s this duality of purpose that is the key to the marque’s appeal in the emirate, where almost every car on the Ghweifat International Highway is a Lexus.
And for those who do decide to partake of the Lexus life with the new Lexus LS, there will be those who are happy to use it in a more measured fashion and savour its ventilated massage seats, while taking heart that it has some hidden ferocious dynamic capabilities.
And then there will be the drivers who will, as and when the kids or significant others aren’t around, floor the throttle and relish the exhilaration of its all-new 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 that will propel the rear-driven LS500 variant from standstill to 100km/hr in 4.8 seconds.
And it’s the universal appeal of Lexus’ latest flagship that should beckon a diverse range of drivers and passengers.