2018 Lexus LS 500 - The World Most Luxury World Sedan
2018 LS STYLES
“The most dramatic Lexus sedan yet.” - Miles Branman, Robb Report, 2018
Built on the platform of the high-performance LC coupe, the new LS 500 features our first-ever twin-turbocharged engine and offers meticulous craftsmanship like three premium wood trim designs so unique they can take up to four months and 32 steps to complete.
416 HP1 / 4.6 0-60MPH (sec.) / 28 HWY MPG2
LS 500 F SPORT
Featuring an F SPORT front fascia and mesh grille, LFA-inspired gauges, bolstered sport seats, aluminum pedals, and our most advanced vehicle dynamic control system, the LS F SPORT offers a design as exhilarating as its performance.
416 HP1 / 4.6 0-60MPH (sec.) / 28 HWY MPG2
Pairing a potent engine with two powerful electric motors and a self-charging lightweight lithium-ion battery, this is the highest performance LS Hybrid yet.3 Delivering instant torque and the direct, instinctive feel of a 10-speed automatic transmission, it is efficiency at the peak of luxury.
354 HP1 / 5.2 0-60MPH (sec.) / 33 HWY MPG2
1 Ratings achieved using the required premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher. If premium fuel is not used, performance will decrease.
2 Preliminary mileage estimates determined by Lexus. EPA mileage estimates not available at time of posting. Actual mileage will vary. Specs for RWD model shown.
3 Claim based on average horsepower from Lexus LS Hybrid line year over year vs. 2018 Lexus LS Hybrid line.
It seems so long ago now. But once upon a time, the Lexus LS revolutionized luxury cars; establishing a blue-chip brand, shaking Mercedes-Benz to its core, and becoming, almost overnight, the best-selling flagship sedan in America. By kneecapping the Mercedes S-Class on price, the LS400 captured not only sales, but the public’s imagination. The name “Lexus” became synonymous with unparalleled quality and dealership service that made German showrooms seem as welcoming as a DMV office.
Lexus sold a remarkable 42,000 LS sedans in the car’s first full year of 1990, and as late as 2007, the Lexus still managed to recruit 35,000 buyers—but it’s been a brutal slide since the last all-new model arrived for 2008, including a record low of 4,094 units last year. And if the standard, blandly-styled LS found it increasingly hard to make friends, don’t forget the disastrous LS 600h L hybrid: Between its insanely inflated price—at $105,000, a $32,000 premium over the V-8 version—and invisible fuel economy gains, the LS 600h hybrid became an industry punch line. As such it, was the perfect car for a certain bumptious, image-conscious Hollywood type, including Larry David's character on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
With marching orders from Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda—whose mantra became “no more boring cars”—Lexus is on a well-publicized mission to spice up its designs and add a performance pulse. One major mea culpa was the new 2017 LC 500 coupe—the chassis mate of this all-new LS sedan—whose stun-gun looks and sophisticated performance bowled me over during a test in Spain. But even then, I was utterly allergic to the hybrid version of the coupe, as opposed to the excellent 5.0-liter V-8 model with a stonking 471 horsepower.
Alas, the LS 500h hybrid sedan is the one I’ve tested first. (I’m eagerly awaiting a shot at the LS 500 sedan, which skips the coupe’s V-8 in favor of a new, twin-turbo V-6 with 416 horses and 442 pound-feet of torque). And I wouldn’t wish this Lexus hybrid on my worst enemy, despite its ample mileage gains: An official 25/33 miles per gallon in city and highway, respectively, versus a still-solid 19/29 mpg for the basic gas-only LS500 or 18/27 for its AWD and F Sport versions. (The AWD hybrid loses 2 mpg in both city and highway, turning in 23/31 mpg.)
It’s too bad. Because the new LS, despite its controversial spindle grille (which still looks better on the coupe), is a major upgrade in style, luxury, and handling versus the old one. Pictures don’t do it justice: This Lexus looks rich and imposing at the curb, and drew admirers everywhere it went. Stretching 206.1 inches, it’s just 0.4 inches shorter than a Mercedes S-Class. But its visual vibe is lean, low and sporty, more in the vein of a Jaguar XJ than the typical conservative luxobarge.