“2018 Lexus LS 500 F-Sport RWD”
An Elite Luxury Performance Flagship Sedan
Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division has upped their game of late to a level that’s on a par with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, and some might even be inclined to include Genesis. The top of the Lexus luxury line is represented by the 500 series. There are variations of the Lexus LC 500, with the “C” designating Coupe models. There are also variations of the Lexus LS series, with the “S” standing for Sedan models. Here we’ll review the 2018 Lexus LS 500 F-Sport RWD model, the sportiest of the sedan family.
This flagship status sedan sets a new mark for luxury sedan value. This is the 5th generation LS sedan to bow over a nearly three-decade time span. The base model LS sedan begins with an MSRP of $75,000, – a base price that is $3,820 less than its current long wheelbase predecessor despite offering more power, comfort and safety than before. But our pre-production test vehicle, the Lexus LS 500 F-Sport RWD model starts at $81,000. before factoring in options and Destination charges.
The newest LC 500 sedan is longer, lower and wider than the sedan that it replaces, and it’s sexier as well. It is based on Lexus’ premium GA-L rear-wheel drive platform first appearing on the 2018 LC 500, which offers a more dynamic driving experience without compromising its comfort level.
Visually the new Lexus LS 500 blends bold expressive lines with a coupe-like profile, with blacked-out “B” and “C” pillars, displaying the latest Lexus family design formula, leading off with a bolder spindle grille, flanked by the Polaric Ellipsoid System compact lens LED 3-projector headlamps and lower air intakes. The grille features a progressively graduated mesh pattern, enlarged from top to bottom, with a bright surround trim, and the headlamp assemblies form light rows that point to the grille.
There are short front and rear overhangs and pronounced wheel well arches that seem to hug the wheels and tires, with a rising lower rocker character line in between. The low, dramatically sculpted hood rises to meet the sharply angled windshield that melds into the gracefully arched and sloping cabin roof that meets the short rear deck with its integrated spoiler effect. The headlights and taillights are literally works of art that work themselves into the elegant body styling. Finishing off the rear are the dual bright exhaust outlets.
Entering the greenhouse, one experiences the inspiration of the “ omotenashi” principle that welcomes and envelops the occupants, showcasing craftsmanship, comfort and cutting-edge design. The interior ambient lighting is inspired by Japanese lanterns while the “Shimamoku”-inspired wood patterns feature bold contrasts between light and dark, giving the wood a more vibrant look. An extra 3.4-inches of legroom is added compared to the previous LS. “Takumi” (translated as Master) craftsmanship is evident through out
Advanced Safety Features and Driver Support are provided by the Lexus Safety System+, which comes standard on every LS. It includes: a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent High Beam headlamps, Lane Departure Alert, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Lane Keep Assist. Delivering even more is the newly available Lexus Safety System+ A that adds Pedestrian Alert, Active Steering Assist, Front Cross Traffic Alert, Road Sign Assist, Lane Departure Alert with road edge detection and Lexus CoDrive, which bundles Lane Trace Assist and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control together. Connectivity and Infotainment are provided through Lexus Enform.
Performance is enhanced for 2018 by the standard all-new 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 twin turbocharged V6 engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence and Electronic intake valve timing that delivers 416 horsepower at 6,000 rpm while also developing 442 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,600-4,800 rpm. The longitudinally front mounted engine’s energy reaches the rear wheels via a ten-speed automatic transmission with Direct Shift, manual mode and paddle shifters. Both horsepower and torque represent significant gains over the outgoing LS model’s naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V8 that produced 386 horsepower and 367 pound feet of torque.
My Pre-production test LS 500 sedan was in a rear-wheel drive configuration and came with an Atomic Silver exterior finish, and a Flare Red and Charcoal interior. The base sticker was set at $81,000., while the final price tag before tax and license came to an estimated $91,695. Individual Individual option pricing was not available at the time of this writing. Known options included the F-Sport Package and Luxury and Convenience features. Estimated actual cost could possibly reach $100,000 plus.
SUMMARY: the 2018 Lexus LS 500 RWD definitely rates flagship status with its sophisticated and elegant, design appeal. In terms of its performance attributes, the turbocharged V6 power is unquestionably more than adequate and delivers a pleasingly raucous note, blipping the throttle during downshifts, when set in the sport + setting of the Drive mode Select knob. One may enjoy the automatic mode for a more relaxing and smooth sojourn or pump up the old adrenaline by manually selecting gears in the Sport Plus mode and nailing the throttle.
The driving dynamics are superb, providing a solid, planted feel, with spot-on steering responsiveness and road-holding grip.
The interior styling showcases not only a smoothly flowing elegance, but delivers a comfortable and most supportive ride quality.
In the final scheme of things, the 2018 model Lexus LC 500 RWD luxury performance sedan provides entry into an exclusive class of luxury sedans. Test driving one, consumers will enable consumers to “Experience Amazing” enveloped in seductive technology – that according to Lexus insiders. It is indeed an elite luxury performance flagship sedan.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Lexus LS 500 F-Sport
Base Price: $81,000.
Price as Tested: $91,695. * Individual Option pricing not available (F-Sport Package, Luxury and Convenience features) Estimated actual cost – $100,000 plus.
Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter DOHC, 24-valve V6 twin turbocharged V6 with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence and Electronic intake valve timing.
Horsepower (bhp): 416 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 442 @ 1,600-4,800 rpm
Transmission: Ten-speed automatic with Direct Shift, manual mode and paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally front-mounted engine / RWD
Suspension: Available height-adjustable Adaptive Variable Air Suspension with electronically controlled air springs and rapid height function.
Front – Adaptive Variable Suspension; independent, double-joint multilink with forged aluminum components, coil springs, electronically controlled linear-solenoid shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Rear – Adaptive Variable Suspension; independent, multilink with forged aluminum components, coil springs, electronically controlled linear-solenoid shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with Electronic controlled braking, four-sensor, four-channel ABS, EBD and BA
Tires: Bridgestone Turanza T005 – P245/45 R20-rear / P275/40 R20 front mounted on 5-“”V”” sculpted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 123.0 inches
Length Overall: 206.1 inches
Width: 74.8 inches
Height: 57.5 inches
Curb Weight: 4,707 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 21.7 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 19 mpg city / 30 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.28
0 – 60 mph: 4.6 seconds – Top Track Speed-136 mph
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.