For the snow-bound plutocrat seeking all-wheel-drive in a full-size sedan, the Audi A8 has long owned the market.
Acura has mounted their own challenge with the RL sedan, but the lack of a V-8 engine has seemed to continually blunt sales, even as gas prices continue to climb.
Lexus has also chipped away at Audi's sales with the LS 600hL hybrid sedan, but the six-figure price tag and limited production has kept the car out of mainstream competition.
It makes sense, then, that Lexus has chosen the motor show in the snowiest of climes to come out swinging with a viable competitor.
The Lexus LS460 AWD - which will debut at the Moscow Motor Show this week - will be the first all-wheel-drive Lexus sedan to be sold in quantities sufficient to challenge Audi's dominance.
The new model's all-wheel-drive system uses the same compact Torsen limited-slip center differential used on the LS600hL, but retains the 381-horsepower 4.6 liter V-8 and silken eight-speed automatic transmission used on its rear-wheel-drive sibling.
Under normal conditions, the center differential distributes 60 percent of the engine's torque to the rear
wheels. Yet the system can can react in mere hundredths of a second, redirecting as much as 70 percent of engine torque to either the front or rear wheels.
European sales of the LS460 AWD will begin in December, with the new model coming to US shores next year as a 2010 model.