Saying the current LS is getting a bit long in the tooth is perhaps an understatement taking into account the fourth generation (XF40) has been around for a decade, with a couple of facelifts in-between. The good news is Lexus is putting the finishing touches on the all-new model which our spies have caught on camera once again.

It’s hard to say at this point whether the prototype had all the production body panels, but at least we know for sure those headlights (which look as if they were taken from an old Celica) are not final. It’s the same story with the tiny vertical taillights that obviously won’t make it on the production-ready car. The back is actually quite interesting since you can notice the real shape of the taillights behind the black wrap.

Lexus probably locked in the design a couple of years ago seeing as how at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show it brought an LF-FC concept serving as a sneak preview of its new flagship. The concept was molded after the production model’s design, so the LF-FC should be an accurate indication of what to expect from the real deal.

Power will come from the 5.0-liter V8 sourced from the LC 500 where it churns 467 horsepower (348 kilowatts) channeled to the wheels via a ten-speed automatic transmission. The aforementioned LF-FC had a “high-output” fuel cell all-wheel-drive setup, so we won’t be too surprised if the new LS (XF50) will get it as well. There’s also going to be a hybrid version that will likely have a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine, a four-speed automatic transmission, a lithium-ion battery pack, and a continuously variable transmission incorporating two electric motors as seen in the LC 500h.

Photos of the cabin are not available in this set, but we do know the next-gen LS will have “some cool interior stuff,” according to Lexus International Executive Vice President Mark Templin. That doesn’t sound very explicit, but Toyota’s premium marque has promised a jump in craftsmanship and technology.

Word on the street says Lexus will kick off production in Japan of its new crown jewel in May or June next year following an official reveal likely to occur in January at the North American International Auto Show. It will go on sale in the Land of the Rising Sun in the third quarter of 2017, while in United States it will be available towards the end of the year as 2018MY.

Gallery: 2018 Lexus LS spy photos

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