Lexus unveiled the all-new 2018 LS at the North American International Auto Show last week, setting a new standard for its flagship sedan. I remember when the original Lexus LS 400 sedan was unveiled in 1990 and the effect it had on the luxury sedan market. That original vehicle helped establish Lexus as a dominant brand in the luxury market, so the new, fifth-generation LS is a very important launch for the company. The new LS has been design to be the brand’s global flagship and will be available around the world in roughly 90 countries.
The new LS will hit the showrooms later this year and features a wide variety of improvements along with a bold, new design.
Lincoln is bringing back the iconic Continental name for its new flagship sedan for the 2017 model year. The full-size, luxury sedan will be available in the fall of 2017 in the US and China.
Lincoln’s new signature grille grabs your attention immediately as the most distinctive feature of the new Continental. It will be interesting to see how this new grille starts to impact the design of other models in the Lincoln line-up, as it’s such a departure from the more modern and stylized grille currently dominating Lincoln designs. This new grille offers a more classic and traditional look. It’s elegant and appropriate for a luxury line, and it may be representative of the design direction Lincoln needs to follow to reclaim its traditional place among the top luxury brands in the US. I’ve heard some feedback that the new look is too similar to other luxury brands like Bentley, and while that may be a fair criticism, the new front end certainly looks good on this new vehicle.
“The Continental name has long been associated with the ultimate in Lincoln beauty and luxury,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln. “With the all-new model, we are focusing on creating more human, personally tailored experiences for our clients – providing what we call quiet luxury.”
Lincoln is stressing all of the luxury and comfort offered by the new Continental, but I’m most interested in the all-new Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 engine with twin turbochargers that produces a projected 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. We can see from the photos that the new design is worthy of the Continental name, so I’m anxious to drive the vehicle and see of the entire experience lives up to that standard as well.
The Lexus ES dates back to the launch of the Lexus brand as one of the two original models. It stands for “Executive Sedan,” which aptly describes this luxury sedan. In the current Lexus lineup, it’s positioned between the flagship LS sedan and the sportier IS model. The ES is now in its sixth generation and has grown in size over the years.
Lexus has become much more aggressive in its styling cues with the front spindle grille, and you can see that with the ES, which definitely has more interesting design when compared to previous models. Still, these new design features are not as aggressive as what you’ll see on the sportier IS, which makes sense given the broader target audience for this model. The elegant look of the vehicle is certainly worthy of a large, luxury sedan that the executive and professional classes will appreciate.
Kia is now officially in the luxury car business. With one fell swoop, they have launched the K900, a modern and elegant sedan that signals a new era for Kia and advances the brand to new levels sophistication. We drove the all-new 2015 Kia K900 and had to keep reminding ourselves that this car was a Kia! Things change so fast in the car business, and I’m sure some rivals keep wondering what the folks at Kia will come up with next.
When you first take a look at the 2015 Kia K900, you know that this car is for real, and a serious attempt by Kia to be a player in the luxury car segment. The long 119.9-inch wheelbase and wide 63.8-inch front and 64.1-inch rear track of the V8 translate to considerable road presence. In profile, the swept rake of the greenhouse, subdued cut lines along the doors and high rear deck lid lend a muscular tension to the sheet metal. The K900 V8’s standard 19-inch multi-spoke chrome wheels are shod with 245/45R-19 tires up front and 275/40R-19 tires at the rear.
Kia’s signature grille resides nearly vertically in the smoothly contoured front fascia. A chrome halo surrounds the dark chrome inner elements, which hints at the power and potential behind it. Airflow-smoothing underbody panels mounted beneath the nose, engine bay and cabin help reduce drag and improve efficiency. Standard on the V8 as tested are adaptive LED headlights. With 16 LED bulbs providing powerful, natural light for enhanced luminosity, the beams, which adjust to follow the bends in the road, shimmer beneath crystal clear lenses that pull back deeply into the front fenders. Soft-glow LEDs frame the multi-faceted headlights. Mounted low and at the far corners of the nose are sleek LED daytime running lamps and LED fog lights. Similar use of LED technology can be found at the rear of the K900. The trapezoid taillights offer defused LEDs for the brakes and bright LEDs for the turn signals. A tasteful chrome bezel cuts high across the K900’s standard powered rear deck lid, adding elegance and lending visual width. The standard power and heated rearview mirrors integrate auto dimming, LED turn signal indicators and Blind Spot Detection System (BSD) in a smooth, aerodynamic form that helps reduce wind noise. The rear bumper is accented with fully integrated, dual chrome-tipped exhaust ports that mimic the shape of the taillights.
Open the door to the all-new K900 and the same sense of elegant sophistication can be found within the luxuriously appointed cabin. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel is substantial and features controls for audio, cruise control, entertainment and vehicle information. A heated wheel is available on the V6 and standard on the V8. Standard high-grade leather is found throughout the cabin on the V6, which can also be optioned with soft Nappa leather in black or white with contrasting piping. The V8 K900 arrives with standard Nappa leather. Soft-hue LED interior illumination is standard across the K900 line. Genuine walnut (with black Nappa leather) or poplar (with white Nappa leather) wood trim sweeps across the dash and door panels, beautifully complementing the richness of the interior and is available on the V6 and standard on the V8. A 12-way adjustable driver’s seat, including power lumbar support, is standard on both the V6 Premium and V8 Luxury models, and a 16-way power adjusted driver’s seat features power headrests and cushion extender for added thigh support as part of the V6 Technology Package and the V8 VIP Package. The front seats feature standard multi-stage heating and ventilation for individualized comfort in all climates.
We set out to drive the 2014 Lexus GS 350 Sport Sedan with the formidable F SPORT package and came away with very favorable impressions. Lexus has moved the needle on styling in recent years and continues to challenge all rivals on the performance front. This car was up to that challenge!
Behind its distinctive spindle grille, which creates an unmistakable brand identity, the Lexus GS 350 shines bright with a refined but aggressive body. You first notice the 19-inch alloy wheels that pop along the amazing Riviera red paint. The GS 350 F SPORT is exclusively equipped with 19-inch staggered width wheels paired with 235/40R19 front and 265/35R19 rear summer compound tires for RWD models, while AWD models will have 235/40/19 all-season tires in the front and rear. The F SPORT stands apart with exclusive front bumper and rear lower valence styling, a rear lip spoiler and F SPORT mesh grille inserts. The rear bumper integrates a distinctive exhaust diffuser and centered aero fins to help control underbody airflow.
Even with its sweeping, coupe-like profile, the Lexus GS 350 provides ample headroom for rear-seat passengers. The new-generation GS offers greater rear headroom, knee room, legroom and foot space than the previous GS, yet in a sleeker package. The trunk, too, grew with the redesign and can easily accommodate four golf bags. The sumptuously detailed cabin, trimmed in perforated leather and matte dark brown walnut wood, comes with standard 10-way power front seats. Some competitors charge extra for leather, even in this price range. Rear seat passengers are treated no less regally, with deeply scalloped seats providing excellent support and generous legroom for long trips.
Lexus recognizes that temperature is a personal preference, with passengers often having diverse needs. The GS 350 addresses this situation quite effectively. A first-in-class technology, the energy-saving S-Flow automatic climate control system detects if there is a front passenger and directs airflow only to the occupied front seat or seats.