2018 Lexus LS 500 Review
Edmunds expert review
Don't let the sharp angles and bold style fool you: The 2018 Lexus LS 500 is traditional Lexus throughout. A comprehensive redesign inside, outside and underneath places the LS once again in the same rare air as recently updated large luxury sedan designs from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. The cushioned ride and whisper-quiet interior are made to pamper, and the cutting-edge tech delivers increased driver safety. The LS 500 reminds you that Europe doesn't have a lock on world-class luxury.
The new fifth-generation Lexus LS 500 is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, the LS 460, with a new coupelike profile that makes it look slimmer and more lithe — no small feat for a car that weighs more than 5,000 pounds. A new suspension design yields sportier handling, but we use that term loosely. This is, first, a luxury sedan better suited to arcing through turns than attacking them.
An all-new turbocharged V6 engine delivers more horsepower than the outgoing model, and it pairs with a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. The new LS 500's longer wheelbase, longer even than that of the earlier extended model, ensures a cabin roomy enough to cosset weary leaders of industry or even just visiting in-laws, especially when you spring for the seats with up to 28 separate adjustments.
Even a base model LS 500 comes with enough appointments to satisfy most buyers, but those with a more discerning eye can opt for enhancements such as a lowering suspension to ease entry and exit, advanced driver safety aids, and an audiophile-grade sound system.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Lexus LS 500 is a full-size luxury sedan with seating for five passengers. It comes in a single, well-appointed trim level with a handful of stand-alone options and options packages. Even without a single option, the LS 500 comes loaded with the safety and comfort features you'd expect of this class. A hybrid version is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment on the LS 500 is extensive and begins with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine (416 horsepower, 442 pound-feet of torque) paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive comes standard; all-wheel drive is optional.
Highlights include 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, LED headlights, a sunroof, a hands-free trunk, power-closing doors, leather upholstery, power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, magnesium paddle shifters, 16-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, and a power rear sunshade.
Technology features include a 12.3-inch color display, a navigation system, a trackpad-style interface, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Lexus Enform smartphone app integration, Enform emergency and convenience services, Bluetooth and a 12-speaker audio system. Finally, standard driver aids include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and rain-sensing wipers.
The LS 500 can be further tailored to your taste with a comprehensive options list. The Interior Upgrade package adds leather upholstery with quilted stitching, 28-way power-adjustable driver seat, and heated rear seats, among other items. The Luxury package adds a 28-way adjustable seat for the passenger, 18-way adjustable and reclining rear seats, four-zone climate control, power rear side sunshades, an armrest-mounted touchscreen controller for climate and seat functions, and rear-seat knee airbags.
Drivers seeking a more sporting flavor can equip the LS 500 with the F Sport package, which adds 20-inch wheels, larger brakes, a retuned suspension, unique styling trim, exclusive leather upholstery, and 28-way power-adjustable seats. The Performance package bundles all that and adds variable gear-ratio steering and rear-wheel steering.
The Executive package truly transforms the LS 500 into a luxury shuttle, adding butterfly rear headrests, individual climate control settings, heated and ventilated rear seats with massaging function, and an extendable ottoman footrest for the right-side rear passenger. The cabin is further touched with hand-pleated trim and stylized glass materials.
Additional safety aids come with the Safety System+ A package, which adds adaptive cruise and automatic steering that can detect and "trace" the path of the vehicle in front, for a semiautonomous driving experience. Other features include forward cross-traffic alert, road sign recognition, an enhanced head-up display, and a panoramic rearview monitor.
Notable individual options include an adaptive air suspension, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive LED headlights, upgraded wood trim, and a premium 23-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.
Noise & vibration8.0
Ease of use4.0
Getting in/getting out7.5
Child safety seat accommodation7.0
Audio & navigation7.0
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.