Toyota’s Luxury arm Lexus has unveiled its luxurious LS460 at the Australian International Motor Show. The LS460 is the fourth generation of the LS400 series and is a completely new vehicle.The new flagship of the luxury Lexus marque and the most highly specified luxury sedan ever built by Lexus, LS460 will go on sale in Australia in the first half of 2007.

The list of gadgets and new features that come with the LS460 are rather high, but one of the more notable new features is the sophisticated electronically controlled air suspension linked with world-class vehicle safety controls including intuitive braking and the advanced Pre-Collision System.

Lexus has undertaken a back-to-the-source evaluation of its exclusive manufacturing and engineering techniques and has designed LS460 to even higher standards than its predecessors. The LS460 is a different vehicle from the previous generation in many of its major components. There are no carryovers in the major areas of chassis, suspension, engine or driveline.

So you know when I always praise European car makers for going out of their way to try something new? These days though, it seems like I should really be praising Japanese car makers. Whilst most Australians are still willing to part with their money for a car that is coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission, the nice people at Lexus have decided to double that, yes, the LS460 for Australia incorporates the world’s first eight-speed automatic transmission.

The new vehicle epitomises the styling concept known as L-Finesse, shown for the first time on the GS Line and on the recently launched IS Line. While it is anticipated that Lexus LS460 will account for less than 10 per cent of total Lexus sales in Australia, it will be the flagship for the range.

“LS400 series has led Lexus since its inception, in 1989 it was the first Lexus launched in the world, and it was responsible for a comprehensive overhaul of the upper luxury market, especially amongst the long-standing European and American brands.

“Lexus is the most accomplished luxury start-up brand of recent times. It competes strongly now in the most discerning automotive market of all.” Lexus divisional manager Scott Grant said.

Lexus Australia has delivered more than 3100 LS400 series of a total 34,000 vehicles sold in Australia.

“The highest sales of LS400 series in any year have been just over 400, which is entirely consistent with demand for the vehicle’s competitors,” Mr Grant said.

“LS460 is not intended to be a high-volume vehicle. Like the flagships of all luxury ranges it is an exclusive vehicle to be appreciated by a fortunate few. Its influence throughout the Lexus range is undeniable and of benefit to all Lexus owners.”

Lexus sells six models in Australia (made up of 13 variants) through 22 exclusive dealerships. Lexus has built around 900,000 LS400 series vehicles since 1989, accounting for just under one-quarter of total Lexus sales which are now approaching four million worldwide.