At the Shenzen-Hong Kong-Macao International Auto Show in China, Lexus quietly debuted a new variant of their flagship model, the LS. The 2018 LS 350 is assumed to use the same 3.5-liter V6 engine found on other 350 models, such as the IS and GS.
Output of the V6 is slightly higher than the other variants with maximum power at 318 horsepower and 380 Nm of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. On the outside, the 2018 LS 350 looks identical to the 2018 LS 500, sporting a more aggressive look, a revised spindle grill and headlights which take styling cues from the RC coupe.
In China, the 2018 LS 350 is expected to be priced at around Rmb 1 million, making it substantially cheaper than its twin-turbo powered siblings. Despite the lower price, expect the interior of the LS 350 to have an identical look both the LS500 and LS500h. The lowered price would put the LS 350 in direct competition with other entry-level flagship models from other brands.
However, apart from being in the entry-level flagship model market, the LS 350 also avoids an additional 10% luxury tax. For those wondering, China has placed an additional 10% tax on luxury cars that cost more than Rmb 1.3 million in order to supposedly curb corruption and improve the governments image.
Given that the Philippines could soon be imposing a higher excise tax on vehicles, the LS 350 might soon see its way here as well, as it is currently being offered in China only. Furthermore, apart from the lower price compared to the LS 500 and LS 500h, the LS 350 would still be covered under JPEPA if it does reach Philippine shores giving Lexus' flagship an entry-level model.
If the 2018 LS 350 does arrive in the country, it can give customers more options to choose from if the excise tax is signed.