The 2019 Lexus LS 500 is the flagship of the Lexus lineup, this one being the model’s fifth generation. There are 3 choices to choose from the LS 500 is the base model, but you would hardly call it that, there’s also a hybrid Lexus 500h and a sporty Lexus LS F, available in rear or all-wheel drive. At first glance the big Lexus (just over 17 feet) is striking to look at and boldly chiseled, with that spindle grille the showpiece mixed in with a host of creases and sharp angles. It works, the car looks long and slender but never bulky and is more aggressive than any previous edition.
Previous versions have been powered by V-8s, however, that’s now gone to be replaced by a twin-turbo V-6, alas I hear you say but wait, the V-6 has more power, 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft. @ 1,600 rpm mated to a deliciously smooth 10-speed automatic.
Despite the added power the LS 500 still weighs in at a hefty 4,707 lb but this doesn’t stop it from going from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, quick enough and with plenty of power for all occasions. The best part it does it in near silence, unless you turn the round knob to Sport or Sport +, then a better than expected exhaust sound tingles your ears. This car wants to play.
Lexus has moved the LS in a much more athletic direction, which is definitely well received, and in my opinion hasn’t compromised ride quality in Comfort or Normal mode. Handling response and steering is greatly improved especially the steering which actually has some feedback. There’s an edge to the suspension in Sport and Sport + mode which equates to fun when things get twisty. Yes, this Lexus will hustle if asked to and in Sport + it holds onto gears nudging the rev limit, eager to please.
What astounded me was not so much the acceleration off the line but the power and torque at speeds above 70mph, it pulls like a train. There’s one particular incline East of San Diego as you head into the mountains on the way to Tecate. There’s a straight bit with broken lines where the Lexus was able to pass 4 or 5 cars in a row and still kept pulling all the way to the top.
Take the speeds down to comfortable cruise and this car has the A8, 7 Series of S450 beat. The ride is pillowy, the cabin is supremely quiet and with the delightful Mark Levinson’s 23 speakers cranked up, you are in a world of you own. What Lexus has done here is created one of the best big luxury sedans on the market……..Save the sedans please!
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