After just over a decade with few changes, which is about a century in car years, Lexus' flagship LS 460 has finally been replaced with an all-new model, the LS 500. It seems that the new model was worth waiting for — nearly everything has changed except for the size. The styling is radical and new, and Lexus has junked the traditional V8 engine in favor of a twin-turbo V6. There's even a performance-themed F Sport version, which has a bevy of electronic systems designed to mask the fact that this is a two-and-a-half-ton luxury sedan.
Not that the LS 500 has completely turned its back on tradition. The new LS still specializes in coddling its occupants, delivering a ride that is smooth, soft and quiet. Attention to detail and build quality extends down to subatomic levels, and we have no doubt that a well-cared-for LS 500 will last as long as the Yamato dynasty. This is a new-tech LS that is true to its legacy, and we know that it will continue to attract buyers who value comfort and quality over out-and-out performance.
Current Lexus LS 500
At publication time, Lexus had not released full details about the LS 500. We anticipate that the LS 500 and LS 500h will each be offered in two trim levels, base and F Sport models. Extra features — including air springs and an executive rear-seating package — are expected to be offered as option packages.
The new Lexus LS 500 is the first LS-series car not to offer a V8 engine. Instead, power comes from a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that delivers 415 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a new 10-speed automatic transmission. Hybrid versions use the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system as other Lexus models, built around a 3.5-liter V6. Total system output is 354 horsepower, though as with the previous-generation LS, fuel economy gains are modest. Lexus expects the LS 500h hybrid to realize just a 5 mpg increase over the rear-wheel-drive LS 500's EPA combined rating of 23 mpg. Both powertrains will be available with all-wheel drive.
Outside, the LS 500 features the controversial spindle grille that, for better or worse, Lexus has been grafting onto all its models. The grille gets a rather intricate chrome web pattern on regular LS 500s, and it is blacked out for the F Sport. The fastback profile clearly shows the influence of the Porsche Panamera, while the rear view shows distinct Lexus family cues. The LS 500 has a new interior that follows the trend set by the LC sport coupe. It's modern, to be sure, yet the control layout makes the technology fairly simple to use. Interior options include a backseat upgrade package that provides fully adjustable seats with heating, cooling and massage.
Used Lexus LS 500 Models
The Lexus LS 500 was introduced as an all-new model for 2018. It replaced the LS 460, which is reviewed separately.
Read the most recent 2018 Lexus LS 500 review.