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2019 Lexus LS 500 F Sport combines high-end luxury and power Featured

Posted On Thursday, 24 October 2019 04:55 Written by
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The 2019 Lexus LS 500 has stiff competition, but competes well in the full-size luxury sedan segment. The 2019 Lexus LS 500 has stiff competition, but competes well in the full-size luxury sedan segment. Photo by Matt Myftiu/AutoTechReviews.com

It’s important to be unique when you reach the upper echelons of the vehicle food chain. 

Prestigious luxury brands must offer a flagship vehicle that stands out from the competition in a segment where all competitors are going to have a quality offering, by definition.

Lexus is one of those brands competing for the luxury car buyer’s dollar, and its LS 500 full-size sedan is quite the specimen. I recently spent some time in a 2019 LS 500 and I’m back with a full report on whether it holds up to the crème de la crème.

LOOKS

Lexus is up against some extremely heavy hitters in the luxury realm, folks who’ve been at it for much longer that Lexus has been around. 

So Lexus has made the decision to boldly style its grilles in a large spider-web design that takes up most of the front of the vehicle.

This is in sharp contrast to the competition, which are typically more sedated and classically designed. The exterior of the LS 500 also features very sharp, attractive sidelines and a low profile.


Heading to the interior, you will find high-end materials throughout. It’s clearly a luxury ride from the moment you sit down.

The interior is roomy all around, back seat is very comfortable, and the front dash has a unique and attractive swooping design that you won’t see in other vehicles.

The LS 500 typically comes with 19-inch alloy wheels with dark silver and machine finish, and run-flat tires. The F SPORT trim level boosts that up to 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with a dark graphite finish.

An upgrade to the F SPORT brings other updated looks and driving enhancements, including: Mesh Grille, Rear Diffuser, Front brake calipers with 15.7-inch ventilated discs, Four-piston rear brake calipers with 14.1-inch ventilated discs, F-SPORT-Tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension, perforated leather-trimmed interior with leather-trimmed steering wheel, shift knob with ultrasuede headliner, 28-way power adjustable F SPORT front seats and embossed headrests, aluminum pedals and interior trim.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The 2019 Lexus LS 500 F Sport features a thrilling, powerful ride that you’ll look forward to every day. This experience comes courtesy of a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine, paired with a 10-speed sequential automatic transmission.

The numbers are an impressive 416 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, and AWD is optional. Despite this power, the interior stays very quiet at all speeds and on all roads.

Drive modes include Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+. 

You won’t want to drive in Eco, not with those kind of horses available, but even Normal mode offers some major get-up-and-go. Moving up to Sport S or Sport S+ and the fun factor rises even higher.

It could be argued that some of the LS 500’s German rivals have an even more enjoyable and sporty ride to offer, but even so, the difference is not massive.

Handling is superb and you can maneuver exactly as you wish, with instant response to your efforts. And you won’t be bothered by inferior road quality, as the ride remains smooth without fail.
   

TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY 

The Toyota/Lexus family tends to delivers on the safety front, and the LS500 is no exception.

Pretty much every way you and your family can be kept safe is either standard or offered as an option on the vehicle.

The LS 500 features 10 airbags, Vehicle Stability Control, Anti-lock brakes, Road Sign Assist, Daytime Running LIghts, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, rain-sensing wipers, and more.

The Lexus Safety System + 2.0 includes Pre-Collision System with Cyclist and Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.

An optional Heads-Up Display will run you just north of $1,200.

The technology is strong in the LS 500, too, for the most part. The infotainment system at the center of it all is displayed on a wide 12.3-inch screen, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto, oddly), as well as Amazon Alexa.

The screen can be split into three parts so several functions can be viewed.

Voice commands worked well for navigation, music and phone calls, but maneuvering the controller via the touchpad setup in the center console is tricky and not an ideal setup — and it’s harder to use than luxury competitors’ infotainment systems.

You get three months of SiriusXM satellite radio included with the LS 500, and a 12-speaker premium sound system is standard (you can upgrade to a 23-speaker Mark Levinson audio system for about $2K). Bluetooth allows you to stream music from your phone.

MPG

Official fuel mileage numbers on the LS500 are 18 city/27 highway/21 combined. I wasn’t riding around in economy mode, far from it, so I only averaged about 17 mpg. Just face facts: You’re not going to save a lot of gas with a vehicle this powerful.

PRICE  

My test vehicle came in at $88,605; Base price starts in the low-$80K range. Base price on the non F-Sport LS starts around $75K. Those numbers are pretty high, but believe it or not they are actually quite low when compared to the full-size sedan offerings from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. So that may work on Lexus’ favor when decisions are made.

BOTTOM LINE 

Flagship sedans at the luxury level are all things of beauty, and the LS 500 is no exception. 

The in-your-face design of the LS is a shot at the bow of the German competitors, who tend to take a more classic design approach, and an attempt to draw in younger and more adventurous luxury car buyers.

Add in the rip-roaring yet smooth driving experience that it offers, and the LS can stake a claim as one of the most impressive vehicles in this class.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found
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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Lexus LS 500 F SPORT     
  • Price as tested: $88,605  
  • Best feature: Exquisite design, sporty performance       
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars       
  • Who will want this vehicle?: High-end luxury sedan buyers wanting a roomy, attractive, smooth and speedy ride.
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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