The Lexus LS brand has existed through four generations and has traditionally been a luxury sedan that rewarded its owner with a super-quiet ride, terrific performance, smooth handling, along with a roomy, comfortable interior.
Instead of expanding on the very capable LS 460, Lexus decided instead to unveil the new LS 500 in 2018. The Lexus LS 500 and the LS 500 hybrid are wider, longer and sit lower than the LS 460. Weighing more than 5,000 pounds, the attractive-looking LS 500 features dramatically angled front headlights with the brand’s signature large spindle front grille.
The styling doesn’t stop there. It also includes some sharp side angles and curvy areas, giving it an overall handsome appearance.
The 2020 Lexus LS driven here for nearly 10 days was equipped with a very powerful twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter, V6 that generates 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, paired with a 10-speed manual transmission. The rear-wheel drive LS 500 goes 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds. With that kind of acceleration, we found the LS 500 exhilarating to drive on the open road. For winter use, the sedan has all-wheel drive as an option.
The standard engine is a twin-turbo 3.5-liter, V6 with 354 horsepower. It gets better fuel economy (23-33) than the upgraded engine (18-30 mpg).
Either version of the LS 500 delivers a very smooth, effortless ride that is quiet and serene at all speeds. We were also impressed by the handling in any driving situation. Depending on the mood, having the option of driving in Eco, Comfort or Sport drive modes is a nice touch by Lexus. We particularly enjoyed the Sport drive that added even quicker acceleration.
There’s practically no chance of feeling uncomfortable in the stylish LS 500 cabin. It has 16-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats that also includes an optional massage function. Seating is also comfortable in the back, although the low roofline does hinder the driver’s rear view a bit. Trunk space is 15.5 cubic feet in the gas-powered model and 15.2 in the hybrid.
2020 Lexus LS 500
- Performance: twin turbocharged, 3.5-liter, V6, 354 horsepower; twin-turbo 3.5.-liter, V6, 416 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 23-33 mpg; 18-30 mpg
- Price estimate: $75,600 to $101,000
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 4 years/unlimited; corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
There’s a high tech feel that comes with the LS 500 interior. The technology includes Wi-Fi hotspot, Lexus Enform smartphone app integration, a 12.3-inch color display, and navigation system. The touch pad will be challenging for some drivers and we found it far too distracting. Lexus replaced the previous wood accents with Kiriko-cut glass. Apple CarPlay is now available for iPhone users, but Android Auto is still missing.
Music lovers can pass on the standard 12-speaker audio system and go with the exceptional 23-speaker, Mark Levinson sound system. The cost for the premium sound is an extra $2,000.
The Lexus LS brand has been around for nearly 30 years and remains a top-notch luxury sedan. The overall improvements should make the 2020 Lexus LS 500 a tempting buy for luxury car shoppers.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.