By Eric Peters- Lexus did something very daring when it redesigned the LS, its top-of-the-line (and full-size) luxury sedan. It gave it an engine the same size as a Camry’s, Toyota’s midsize family sedan. And it no longer offers the LS with anything bigger than the Camry’s V-6. But sometimes, size doesn’t matter. Horsepower (and torque) does.
What It Is- The LS 500 is Lexus’ largest, most opulent and powerful sedan. vIts standard 3.5-liter V-6 is almost as strong as the optional 4-liter V-8 in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, one of its primary rivals.
And it is much stronger than the six-cylinder engines that come standard in its two other rivals, the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series.
The LS is also a deal. Lexus asks $75,300 to start for the LS 500 with rear-wheel drive and $78,520 with the optional all-wheel-drive system.
It costs $84,520 for a top-of-the-line F-Sport with AWD, which also gets an upgraded brake/wheel/tire package, 28-way power seats with pneumatic side bolsters that brace you during cornering and Naguri brushed aluminum trim upgrades.
Compare- The S-Class Benz starts at $91,250 — without AWD (or a V-8).
The Audi A8 comes standard with AWD but doesn’t offer more than 369 horsepower (vs. 416 for the Lexus), and its prices begin at $83,800.
You can get a 523-horsepower V-8 and AWD in the BMW 7 Series … for $102,560.
Lexus has value in its favor as well as power.
It also offers unique tech, such as the available 24-inch heads up display (HUD) – and amenities, such as the Executive Package Kiriko glass trim, which emulates a type of traditional hand-cut vJapanese glassware.
Amazon Alexa is now available as a factory option; it’s integrated with the LS 500’s Enform concierge system. You can use it to send commands to your Alexa at home — such as turn off the lights, adjust the thermostat and so on. The in-car Alexa can also sync with the GPS system and provide on-the-go recommendations about such things as nearby attractions and restaurants.
V-8 power from standard twin-turbo V-6. It’s opulent without being overwhelming.
It’s a better deal upfront and down the road. It holds value exceptionally well.
On the Road
It’s hard to say whether it is more enjoyable to drive the LS 500 or be taken for a ride in one. The back seat, which can be ordered with a recliner and an ottoman for your feet, as well as massagers for your back, is just as much a treat as the driver’s seat.
There is sport here, too — not just ultra luxury.