In 1989, Lexus shocked the world by daring to do what no luxury brand had ever done: speak German with an accent. That year, Toyota Motor Corp launched the Lexus line at the North American International Show with the first-ever LS 400 sedan.

It was big; it was plush; it was reliable.

In short: the best of both worlds.

Now, over 25 years later, Lexus has returned to Detroit with another headlining premiere: the launch of the latest generation of the Lexus LS sedan, the car that started it all. The 2018 Lexus LS sedan was unveiled Monday morning at the Lexus press conference.

Photo by Benji Bear

Photo by Benji Bear

The packed crowd of journalists and guests was treated to an audio-visual spectacle detailing the new LS’ design inspiration (hint: slow-motion; pyrotechnics) before the car itself was driven up through the crowd onto a fashion week runway for all to ogle.

Oooooooooh.

Ahhhhhhhhhh.

Ohhhhhhhh.

Then came the specs. First, the new LS will feature a first-in-class 10-speed automatic transmission. While this sounds excessive at first, anyone who’s experienced the smoothness of the 8-speed ZF transmission used in recent Jeep models will attest to experience (and mileage) bump the big ‘box provides.

Second, conforming to industry shifts away from maximized V8’s in sedans (a la Cadillac’s CT6), the new LS will tout an upgraded twin turbo V6 under the hood. Lexus promises 415bhp (0-60 in 4.5 seconds) from the engine – more than enough for highway overtaking, with powerband left over in case the other guys blinks.

Photo by Benji Bear

Photo by Benji Bear

Last but not least, there will be an option to add a 24-inch full color heads up display to the driver’s side of the cabin. As in, a two whole feet of augmented reality mere inches from your face. Lexus has never been one to fall behind on cabin gadgets, and this latest flagship sedan seems bent on asserting just that.

Wrap this all in a low-slung, wide body, and you’ve got a potent combination of looks and comfort; performance and luxury; Germany and Japan. The 2018 Lexus LS is still far from supersport sedan territory, but like an NFL lineman bulging out of a Saint Laurent suit, it is sophisticated, athletic, and sure to turn heads.

Photo by Benji Bear

Photo by Benji Bear

In short, it – both the car and the presentation – was a visual feast. In long, read more about the show (and see tons more photos) by checking out our Day 1 Auto Show coverage here

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