2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport AWD – High Caliber Sedan

by Editorial Staff

The Lexus LS 500 F Sport is being billed as a luxury sports sedan, but does it deliver?

Lexus manufactures a lot of sedans, but the latest version of the LS is more akin to a true sports sedan. Lexus has often been criticized for not being exciting enough, but with the 2019 LS 500 F Sport they added a spindle grille and a host of other features such as better suspension tuning and more.

 

 

Performance and Specs

The LS 500 F Sport is equipped with a 442 lb ft V6 twin turbo 416 hp engine. This is not supercar material but the LS 500 F Sport isn’t designed to be one. From 0-60 it takes 5.2 seconds, and if you take it around a few laps, the average speed is 25.7 seconds which isn’t that far off from other sedans in its class.

Fuel economy has been improved to 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. The powertrain has also been upgraded from the previous models so it offers more speed and greater capabilities.  Going back to the grip it is more efficient than its predecessors and is one of the biggest selling points.

Driving

The LS 500 F Sport provides a smooth driving experience and is ideal for a drive around town or just cruising. It rolls gently and while the turbo could use some improvement it’s more than serviceable. The LS 500 F Sport is equipped with a ten speed automatic and it engages properly going forward or reverse.

There are multiple modes and shifting to Sport+ enhances the transmission and throttle response. This mode is especially useful when you accelerate. One thing to keep in mind is the F Sport won’t default to any sport mode.  The system does recall comfort and normal modes so that’s a plus. Even if it doesn’t remember Sport+ it’s easy enough to adjust the knobs.

No matter what mode you choose the driving experience is smooth and consistent. Compared to other luxury sedans the LS 500 F Sport handles better and with greater consistency. Even on rough, uneven roads the LS 500 F Sport glides along and disposes of the rough spots easily.

For a sedan this size it handles better than most, and it is also responsive and tight.  As has been made clear in this review, the quality is good. The throttle and brake pedals respond well and lives up to the claim of being efficient.

Suspension

The LS 500 F Sport is fitted with a coil variable damping suspension and it integrates in the system well. You feel it slightly when switching modes but it’s not a big deal. Overall the suspension keeps the riding experience smooth whether you’re cornering, accelerating or braking.

Interior

The seating has been revamped but there’s no mistaking this is still a Lexus.  The materials, layers and curves are eye catching, and there’s leather around the gauges. The vents are partly concealed and together with the leather gives the interior an attractive appearance.

The seats are comfortable as expected, and you can fold the front passenger seat all the way to the dash. This innovative approach gives the passengers at the back more legroom, and that’s not something you see everyday in these sedans. Another advantage of these front seats is they don’t obstruct the mirror’s views.

The seat behind the driver offers the same legroom as other models. While there’s not a lot of change here, the leather seats make a long trip worthwhile. Even driving at top speed you’ll be impressed by how quiet it is.

The Controls

The knobs handle the driving modes, the infotainment system and stability setup. There’s a track pad controller and a generously sized screen. The large display is a welcome feature since there are more options now on the menu.

The additional controls and menus mean some features inevitably get buried. The cooling and heating options require a few swipes or taps. It might take some getting used to but you’ll get the hang of it. There is also a luxury package if you prefer additional options.

The Luxury Package has power reclining seats that you can adjust via the center armrest touchscreen. Compared to the standard set up, the screen is more intuitive so it’s something you may want to consider.

The HUD is extra large for better visibility while you drive. Speed, lane keeping and other useful information are there. A cross traffic alert is displayed, a useful feature that ensures you don’t pull out when there’s another vehicle coming along.

The lane keeping system and the adaptive cruise control integrate in the system well and eases long hours on the road. The rear seat system is solidly made and complements the rest of the car.

Verdict

The LS 500 F Sport takes Lexus to places where it’s never gone before. As a sports sedan the LS 500 F Sport isn’t as expensive as other models. Aside from the base model there are variants coming up so there is going to be plenty to choose from.

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