The 2018, fifth-generation Lexus LS has now been announced for neighbouring Thailand ahead of its launch at the 2017 Motor Expo, in three versions – the LS 350, LS 500 and the LS 500h. The base model is powered by a 3.5 litre naturally-aspirated V6 engine with 318 hp and 380 Nm of torque, priced at 11.5 million Thai baht (RM1,448,350). This version was first introduced to China in June this year.

The other two versions are priced at 13.08 million Thai Baht (RM1,645,888) for the 3.5 litre, twin-turbo LS 500, and 14.5 million Baht (RM1,824,570) and 15.83 million Baht (RM1,991,928) for the 354 hp LS 500h Executive and Executive Pleat trim levels, respectively.

This makes the LS far more expensive than its main rivals, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series, both of which are priced around the 6 million Baht (RM754,516) mark in Thailand. The flagship Lexus gets the country’s maximum 50% excise, 80% import duties, while its CKD, plug-in hybrid competition enjoy just five percent excise tax.

To recap, the fifth-generation LS in LS 500 guise represents the first time Lexus’ flagship model departs from using a naturally-aspirated V8 engine, now with turbocharging for its 3.5 litre V6 mill. A 10-speed torque converter automatic handles transmission duties in the LS 500 and LS 350, while the LS 500h employs a Multi Stage Hybrid Transmission which combines a four-speed automatic with a CVT.

Interior luxury is naturally a focal point here, with the front occupants gaining 28-way power-adjustable seats with heating, cooling and massage functions, while at the back the rear seats have the same climate control functions, in addition to a raised ottoman as part of the optional rear seat luxury package. The rear seat behind the front passenger can be reclined up to 48 degrees, or raised up to 24 degrees for easier exiting.

Active Noise Control is part of the in-cabin comfort arsenal, which counters noise by playing opposite-phase sound waves through the speakers. The sound system itself is a 3D-surround Mark Levinson setup with ceiling-mounted array speakers, while infotainment supports handwritten input. Along with the 12.3-inch navigation display, a 24-inch driver’s HUD can be optioned – the largest of its kind, says Lexus.

Safety gets a rich serving as well, where the Lexus Safety System + and the Advanced Safety Package includes Intuitive Pedestrian Detection with Active Steering; this aims to help the LS brake and avoid errant pedestrians while staying within its own lane.

GALLERY: Lexus LS 350 in China

GALLERY: Lexus LS 500h in Indonesia