The Lexus LS500 – still at the top of the game
The LS. The one that started it all for Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota. Lexus and the LS first made the automotive scene back in 1989, and ever since, the LS has been referred to as one of the best automobiles ever made. Since then, we have seen five generations of the LS, each one out-doing the previous one. But as luxury SUVs gain in popularity, full-size luxury sedans are become a rare sight. Nonetheless, a car like the LS is still an important vehicle to the Japanese luxury automaker, and I was thrilled to be in one a few weeks ago.
Today’s Lexus LS500 is part of the fifth generation that was introduced in 2018 and is still the brands flagship vehicle.
Since its debut in the late 1980s, the LS has always been considered conservative when it comes to styling and the same can be said of the current model. But add in the F Sport package and the big LS benefits from larger wheels, a sportier front end and rear diffuser. Today’s LS is also the largest LS ever, measuring in at 206 inches long, it has a wheelbase of 123 inches.
That long wheelbase is evident by the car’s roomy and luxurious interior. The cabin of the LS is graced with the highest levels of detail that I have ever seen in a luxury vehicle. Exterior curves are simulated inside in the door panels. The leather around the gauges is stitched to perfection and the horizontal trim that spans the dash and into the vents looks (and feels) like artwork. And while it’s all magnificent to look at, all the features and functions, for the most part, are simple to use. The Remote Touchpad, a mouse-like pad controller, which is clunky, is used to navigate through the audio, climate, navigation and phone systems- although most systems do have buttons on the dash. And the enormous 12.3-inch high-resolution display makes things appear crystal clear. The audio system – custom tailored by Mark Levinson, has 23 speakers, 2,400 watts and practically transforms the cabin into a symphony hall.
Not enough? The F Sport package adds in 28-way power front seats with enhanced bolsters. Not only are they incredibly comfortable, but they keep you snuggled tightly in your seat if you happen to enjoy some spirited driving.
And spirited driving can be enjoyed (somehwat) thanks to what resides under the hood. I’ll admit, I’m still not used to the fact that the LS no longer has a V8 under the hood. Ever since the current generation came out in 2018, Lexus ditched it, trading it in for a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission. Pumping out 416hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, it is the most powerful engine used in an LS. It’s also fairly efficient, able to bring in 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway which isn’t too bad considering the cars size.
While the F Sport version may appear to make the LS a sportier car, there is no doubt that big Lexus is mainly a luxury cruiser. The turbocharged engine delivers silky smooth power to its rear wheels (or all wheels on all-wheel drive versions) through its ten-speed automatic transmission. The LS500 is able to hit 60 mph in about 5 seconds, which means it’s no slouch but it’s definitely not the fastest car in its class, which consists of the likes of the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Most of my initial hours with the new LS500 have been spent in awe of the vehicle. From its super-luxurious cabin to it’s incredibly smooth and quiet drivetrain, the LS500 is the template of what a full-size luxury automobile should be. It’s looking like I will continue to stand firm on my belief that the LS is probably the best built, best all-around car to ever grace our roads. Strong words, I know. But acquaint yourself with one and you will most-likely agree.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2022 Lexus LS500
Base Price: $79,600.00
Price as Tested: $98,255.00
Layout: front-engine / rear-wheel drive
Engine: 3.5 liter twin-turbo V6
Transmission: 10 – speed automatic
Horsepower: 416 hp
Torque: 442 ft/lb
EPA Fuel Economy: 18 city / 29 highway mpg
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