The Lexus LS (Japanese: レクサス・LS, Rekusasu LS) is a full-size luxury car serving as the flagship model of Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota. Now in its fourth generation, all LS models have featured V8 engines and rear-wheel drive, with Lexus also offering all-wheel drive, hybrid, and long-wheelbase variants.
As the first model developed by Lexus, the LS 400 debuted in January 1989 with the second generation debuting in November 1994. The LS 430 debuted in January 2000 and the LS 460/LS 460 L series in 2006. A domestic-market version of the LS 400 and LS 430, badged as Toyota Celsior (Japanese: トヨタ・セルシオ, Toyota Serushio), was sold in Japan until the Lexus marque was introduced there in 2006. In 2006 (for the 2007 model year) the fourth-generation LS 460 debuted the first production eight-speed automatic transmission and an automatic parking system. In 2007, V8 hybrid powertrains were introduced on the LS 600h/LS 600h L sedans.
Development of the LS began in 1983 as the F1 project, the code name for a secret flagship sedan. The resulting sedan followed an extended five-year designprocess at a cost of over US$1 billion, and premiered with a new V8 engine and numerous luxury features. The Lexus LS was intended from its inception for export markets, and the Lexus division was formed to market and service the vehicle internationally. The original LS 400 debuted to strong sales, and was largely responsible for the successful launch of the Lexus marque.
Since the start of production, each generation of the Lexus LS has been manufactured in the Japanese city of Tahara, Aichi. The LS name stands for “Luxury Sedan”. Some Lexus importers use the backronymic name, “Luxury Saloon”.
Notable examples of awards received by the Lexus LS include (2007) World Car of the Year, International Car of the Year, (1991) Canadian Car of the Year, Wheels Car of the Year, and Top Gear Limousine of the Year. The Lexus LS has been the highest-rated luxury car in Automobile Magazine, Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Fleet World, and MotorWeek. In J.D. Power’s long-term Vehicle Dependability Study, the Lexus LS has been the most reliable car for fifteen consecutive years, the most for any manufacturer, and Consumer Reports has ranked the sedan as the most reliable vehicle tested.Safety awards include Auto Bild’s 2007 Innovation Prize for the LS 460 pre-collision system, consecutive first place rankings in the What Car? Security Supertest, and Kiplinger’s “Best in Safety for Cars $40,000 and Over”. Technical honors range from Ward’s 10 Best Engines, and Edmunds.com’s “Best Sound System in Cars Over $30,000”.
In U.S. consumer publications, Lexus’ flagship model is recognized as one of the most reliable vehicles ever built, having held the top ranking in J.D. Power and Associates’ U.S. Vehicle Dependability Survey for fifteen consecutive years (1994–2009), again in 2012, third place in 2013, and top again in 2014.