The ultimate Lexus, and the one that launched the brand, the LS was completely redesigned for the 2018 model year. It introduced an aggressive version of the famous (infamous?) “spindle” grille, a swoopy interior, and went to a completely V6-powered lineup, the fully gas-powered model featuring a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter engine. Not only that, but it adopted the platform of the stunning Lexus LC 500.
With all that in mind, the LS 500 sounds like it’s got the potential to not only be a first-class luxury cruiser, but may have even gained some of the LC 500’s sporting expertise. To find out, we spent some time in an all-wheel-drive model with the F Sport package, which adds a meaner-looking grille, sporty seats and the trick sliding gauge ring to remind us of the LFA supercar that first used such a cluster. The only thing it lacks is the handling upgrades exclusive to the rear-drive gas-only LS.
Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: I love the Lexus LC 500, like, a lot. It was my favorite car I drove last year because it has the perfect combination of style, comfort and performance. So knowing that the LS has LC roots, I was excited to drive it, hoping it would basically be a four-door version of that car.
It certainly looks the part. Though not the gorgeous beast the LC is, it’s still a looker. It’s aggressive and intimidating, particularly with the black F Sport grille. And when you get in, you’re greeted by hip-hugging leather seats and a flashy instrument cluster. Everything around you is leather, suede or metal in really interesting, unique shapes that make this Lexus feel like something different and special to most luxury cars. I particularly like the floating arm rest/grab handles in the doors.
While I agree with Joel’s assessment of the drive experience (if you want a great twin-turbo V6, check out the Cadillac XTS V-Sport we drove recently), I honestly don’t care that it’s not an exciting car to drive, despite the engine under the hood. It creates a comfortable space that’ll cruise comfortably and quickly to your destination. In style, no less. I just plopped it in Eco Mode, fired up the cruise control, and enjoyed my surroundings.