It hasn’t been long since the fifth-generation Lexus LS was revealed, but the brand is already showing off a concept version with the LS+ Concept in Tokyo.
There’s no questioning that the brand’s latest flagship sedan served as the donor car for the LS+ Concept; it generally shares its overall look and feel with it. That said, Lexus has made the LS+ live up to the “+” in its name; this car is wider and longer than the production car. Additionally, it is previewing the next iteration of Lexus’ L-finesse design language.
L-finesse has clearly been amplified on this concept versus the production LS. The spindle grille is far more dramatic and polarizing than the already-daring version on the real-deal. Lexus has also borrowed a new Audi design cue by adding a wrap-around taillight treatment in the back, which is sort of interesting. The dramatic front and rear clips bookend a design that has a far more dramatic stance than the LS, but that’s sort of expected with a concept car.
Previewing Lexus’ future design strategy is not the only point of this concept. The LS+ is also packing a ton of new technology, including what Lexus is calling Highway Teammate. Aptly named, the system essentially allows the LS+ to drive itself on highways, including lane-changing, off-ramps and exits and speed adjustments.
Unlike similar systems, Lexus’ version here is utilizing artificial intelligence to make decisions. The AI system pulls data points from a suite of on-car cameras and sensors, then converges it with meta data pulled from external sources, such as highway information.
Frankly, Highway Teammate sounds a lot like Cadillac’s SuperCruise technology. The interested part of this is that Lexus says most of the technology in the LS+ won’t appear on dealership lots until about 2020; you can buy a Cadillac CT6 with SuperCruise now.
Given the new LS is facing some stiff competition with the refreshed 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8, the LS+ Concept is likely an attempt for Lexus to get its own self-driving technology in the headlines.
It’s probably a safe bet we’ll see Highway Teammate show up in a production LS during the car’s next refresh, which is likely to happen around the 2020 timeframe.