Lexus LS600 from 2011 with a glass roof. Monaco wedding car
The Lexus LS (Japanese: レクサス・LS, Hepburn: Rekusasu LS) is a full-size luxury sedan (E-segment in Europe) serving as the flagship model of Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota. For the first four generations, all LS models featured V8 engines and were predominantly rear-wheel-drive. In the fourth generation, Lexus offered all-wheel-drive, hybrid, and long-wheelbase variants. The fifth generation changed to using a V6 engine with no V8 option, and only one length was offered.
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, Hepburn: 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. At the time, Toyota’s two existing flagship models were the Crown and Century models – both of which catered exclusively for the Japanese market and had little global appeal that could compete with international luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jaguar.
The resulting sedan followed an extended five-year design process 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 name “LS” stands for “Luxury Sedan”, although some Lexus importers have preferred to define it as “Luxury Saloon”. The name “Celsior” is taken from Latin word “celsus”, meaning “lofty” or “elevated”.