From the very first LS, Lexus has followed a “Yet” philosophy. The philosophy basically strives to bring incompatible ideas together, akin to having a small room, yet spacious, or an exhilarating driving experience yet fuel efficient. With the new LS, Lexus has created a new standard of flagship luxury not by adding more features and technology into the cabin, but follows the Omotenashi principle – Japanese hospitality for both the passenger and driver.
Ambience & Climate
The inviting and luxurious passenger space is part of the subtle effects of interior lighting that helps dictate the mood for the interior space. Using Japanese cultural elements of how Andon lanterns used to illuminate Japanese tatami rooms during the Edo Period years ago, LS designers were inspired by the gentle-glow that provides a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere to reduce stress during night driving.
For Climate Control, the LS uses infrared sensors to measure body surface temperatures of each occupant, Lexus Climate Concierge conducts integrated control of heating and cooling so that each passenger are at their most comfortable.
Furthermore, new sound suppression methods have lowered exterior noise more significantly than all other previous LS models. Active Noise Control cancels certain frequencies by detecting the sound of the engine and lowering noise levels through antiphase sound from the audio speakers.
In the LS, 3D surround Mark Levinson QLI Reference Surround Sound System has 23 speakers in 16 locations throughout the cabin including the rear ceiling. To add on, a 16-channel Mark Levinson Reference Amplifier produces 2,400 watts to provide enough power for what Lexus calls, an ‘unparalleled audio experience’.
Another example of Omotenashi is displayed even before passengers enter the vehicle – the air suspension system automatically raises the car by 30mm to welcome the driver. Inside, the LS’ seat bolsters that hold you in after ingress and flatten out during passenger egress; seat belt holders that erect with retracting seats and steering-wheel column for easier driver exit, the new LS 500 serves hospitality in gentle convenient ways.
Rear occupants each have an 11.6-inch 720p LCD display at the front of them. The system can play DVDs, Blu-Ray discs or connect to a portable device via HDMI in the armrest. DLNA and Miracast is also supported via Wifi.
Craftsmen and women in Lexus are but a select few. Known as Takumi, they are the most senior craftspeople in Lexus that are responsible for ensuring quality in every stage of the car-making process. For example, at the company’s Kyushu factory in Japan which has one of the highest production outputs, only 12 Takumi’s are responsible for the meticulous accuracy of every stitch.
As standard, owners of the new LS 500 in Malaysia will be able to select trims of Art Wood – Organic or Herringbone patterns, as well as an optional Kiriko Glass Ornamentation and Hand-Pleated Door Panels.
Takumi application for Art Wood has merged the natural beauty of wood with Lexus’ designs. Art Wood Organic uses precise layering technique and a natural gloss coating to bring out vibrant, contrasting, flame-like grain patterns that is an 18-stage process with two months to complete.
Art Wood Herringbone takes this further by using techniques used to craft fine musical instruments such as hand-grafting of small pieces of wood to create delicate symmetrical patterns. Here another two months and 14 separate processes are required, including individual painting and polishing to bring out the woodgrain.
Kiriko Glass Ornamentation
Traditional Kiriko patterns are created using a technique that involves hand-cutting clear colours and delicate lines in a piece of glass. For the LS, Lexus sought Kiriko glasswork artisans from Japan to design the original template, which then took 18 months for a manufacturing process to be developed into a finished component. This is then reproduced using advanced glass production technology that scans and digitises every facet. It is then treated using advanced reinforcement technology to ensure the panel is strong and safe enough for the interior.
The process of the hand-pleated door panels took four years to develop and can only be done by the human hand. It mirrors the work of the finest Origami artists, requiring individual sheets of fabric to be accurately folded like a sheet of paper. Depending on the time of day and cabin illumination, the finished panel changes in appearance with an interplay of light and shadow to form three-dimensional patterns, with each fold expressing the Lexus “L” motif.
Even something such as Lexus’ new Spindle Grille requires constant artisan involvement due to its delicate complexity that requires high level of human skill in design and fabrication states to complete. The new design features an intricate span of interlocking “L” motifs that is made as a single integrated piece.
What is luxury and design without comfort? Lexus developed the new seating designs to suit two types of customers: those who want to drive, and to those who will mostly be chauffeured as a passenger. Here the LS 500 include front seats that are 28-way power and pneumatic adjustable, and 22 ways for the rear seats.
The rear-centre armrest console is used to control the position of the rear seats, audio, climate, sunshade and interior lighting functions. Three pre-set rear seating positions are: by default, Business; Entertain, which reclines the seat for comfortable viewing of the entertainment monitor, and Relax, which moves the front passenger seat furthest forward, reclines the seatback and extends the leg ottoman for maximum legroom.
In striving for seat comfort perfection, the brand consulted Japanese Shiatsu experts to help design the massage systems for the front and rear seats that give the right degree of thumb-like pressure. Front seats have five separate massage courses over the lumbar, upper and lower body regions. The rear seats however adds on the thighs and back as well as a world-first spot heaters for the shoulder and lower back to provide targeted heat stimulation similar to that of a Shiatsu massage.
Experience Amazing – Craftsmanship
Lexus' new LS 500 is priced from RM 799,000. The Kiriko Glass Ornamentation and Hand-Pleated Door Panels are an optional package add-on which costs RM 98,000 for the LS 500 and 500h Executive variants.
Click here to find out more about the new LS 500 launch last week!
The new Lexus RX and NX are available for booking. Click here for a rundown of the new NX 300 and RX 350 L.
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