2019 Lexus LS500 4 DR. Sedan

Susan Frissell, publisher, Women With Wheels

What can one say about the infamous, beautifully designed and executed Lexus LS500 sedan? It’s the best of the best and stands above most others in this somewhat fading category. The Lexus500 “prestige” luxury sedan is available in three iterations: LS500, LS 500F-Sport and LS500h. Our LS was equipped with Lexus’ 3.5-liter Twin Turbo engine, V8 matched to a CVT transmission.

The week’s drive included both city driving, short trips and over the highway, between Indianapolis and Chicago, in mild weather. What can be said about this luxo-boat when traveling across the highway. It goes without saying as there are few who match this vehicle. One can tell by our review this is a favored sedan, although its practicality is questionable, in today’s car price world.

The twin-turbo V6 is also available and new to the brand. The LS500h hybrid edition ups the mpg to about 33 mpg, with 354 horsepower. What was noticeable on Indy’s pothole-filled streets was the way the LS navigated the rough roads. Gingerly going over local side streets took some concentration (over protective!), but the Lexus’ tuning made it possible to take these concrete pavement and potholes with confidence.

As one would expect the interior is constructed of the best materials, including fine leather seating, with 28-way adjustable seats. A match with to its European rivals, the LS is top-notch. We especially liked the updated Z-styled headlights, supremely comfortable luxury features.

The LS’ new wheel design is particularly handsome and we’re growing very fond of the darker wheels; in this case the dark-silver alloy machine finish. Trying to miss low curbs and any other obstructions made this writer nervous.

Rear-seat passengers can expect lots of rear-seat space, for legs and arms. Passengers can easily sit back and work on their laptop while enjoying the ride. As expected in all Lexus products, the LS’ interior is over the top, but appreciated, and it’s new, updated shape is a knockout. In years past, it was hard to justify the price of this rather bland 4-door, large sedan. But for 2019, it’s finally come into its own and shouts “luxury-prestige-class.”

What we didn’t like was the LS’ infotainment menagerie. The driver has a difficult time trying to find a radio station, change the temperature inside the cabin or do anything else while driving. Too dangerous. Too complicated.       

There isn’t a lot to dislike about the LS500, but one nit-pick might be the spring-like ride; not as sophisticated as we would expect, although hardly worth crabbing about. Steering resembles that of a large sedan; a tad floaty and somewhat imprecise, but then, we’re not driving a “performance” car. And again, the difficult to figure out infotainment system.  There isn’t anything to dislike about the Mark Levinson 23 audio system with 23 speakers. We regret not taking more time to just sit and listen to the Levinson, exploring different types of music.

Our test LS500 included the F Sport Package which we very much favor. Included in the package is the F Sport exterior styling, front bumper, mesh grille inserts, rear diffuser and lower door trim, six-piston front brake calipers w/15-7-in ventilated discs, four piston rear brake calipers with 14.1-inch variable suspension (AVS), LFA-inspired sliding instrumentation, F Sport trimmed steering wheel and shift knob with Ultrasuede headliner, F Sport 28-way power-adjustable front seats and embossed headrests, aluminum pedals and interior trim. It’s a beauty.

There is a little more engine noise, improved handling and additional sport drive select modes if you prefer to change your driving feel. The newly designed LS does feel smaller than it’s size and when stepping out of it, a look back reminds you how big it really is. It resembles, somewhat, the sedans (“boats”) of old, yet not floaty.

Options on our press vehicle included just two packages: The Mark Levinson audio system with 23 speakers ($1,940), and 24-inch heads-up display (HUD), which more than once talked back to me. Someone who drives two-footed, more than once I was told that my brake pedal and gas pedal were being pressed simultaneously!! I loved it.

The F-Sport leather heated steering wheel came at no extra charge. Nice on cold days.

The freshly designed 2019 Lexus LS500 now includes Apple CarPlay compatible with Amazon Alexa, and amazon Echo and Android Auto. A 12.3-inch infotainment display with touchpad interface is standard. Responses are slow when operating the touchpad, and as mentioned, awkward while driving.

If you’re interested in a hybrid, the LS is offered in one with a 3.5-liter V6 engine with two electric motors, 44-KWH lithium-ion battery, trick 4-speed auto transmission made just for the hybrid version. One motor is in use at lower speeds while the gas and second electric motors kick in for more power at higher speeds. The hybrid cannot be plugged in, and the small battery can only handle a few miles of electric-only operation. Average mpg is 33 mpg.

The 2019 LS500 sports a 1.3-inch longer wheelbase, up from the previous generation. Seats are heated and cooled, and a 22-way option with a raised ottoman is standard. If your back gets a little sore, you can choose from multiple massage styles!

One can choose from 10 exterior colors; ours was the elegant Liquid Platinum (silverfish). And of course, all the most up-to-date features are standard, some of which include driver/passenger folding mirrors when car is turned off, integrated key remote, cruise with dynamic radar, cruise center lane dis., navigation, 12-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, USB, active noise cancellation. Because so much is included in a base LS500, few options are available: The Mark Levinson Audio System, F Sport trim, Executive Pacakage.

SPECS

MSRP: $84,420; total vehicle price $88,605; delivery $1,025; Options $3.160

Engine: 3.5-liter Twin Turbo 416 hp., DOHC 24-valve, V8 engine with CVT Timing with intelligence

Transmission: A@D w/Torsen Limited Sliip Center Differential D-4S Direct Cylinder Injection System, 10-speed Sequential Automatic, Drive Mode Select; Eco/Normal/Sport S and Sport S+

Steering: Electronic-power

Tires: 245/50R19 AS, V-rated Run Flat Tires; optional: 24/45RF20 + 275/40RF20 All Season

Wheels: 19-inch alloy with dark-silver, machine finish standard; option 20-inch Split Five Spoke Alloy Wheel w/Dark Graphite finish

EPA MPG: 25/33 mpg

Two trims, 4 configurations

Pricing $75,300-$84,520

Midsize car, Prestige Luxury Sedan, 4-door, 5 seats

Length: 206.1 in.

Width: 74.8 in.

Wheelbase: 123.0

Height: 57.5 in.

Curb Weight: 4,707

Trunk Capacity: 16.95 cu. Ft.

Fuel Tank Capacity: 21.7 gal.

Warranty: 48/50,000-miles Bumper-to-Bumper, 72 mths/70,000-miles Roadside Assistance, 72 mths/70,000-miles Powertrain.

Competitors: 2019 Maserati Ghibli, Acura TLX, Tesla Model S

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