All-new Lexus LS500h F Sport a sumptuous, efficient and fun to drive limousine
What is it?
The all-new Lexus LS, and more specifically, the hybrid LS500h F Sport grade as tested here and the Lexus LS has long been Japan’s answer to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Jaguar XJ.
What’s it cost?
The Lexus LS range starts with the LS500 F Sport which starts from $190,129 plus on road costs, and tops out with the LS500h Sports Luxury at $195,500 plus on road costs.
As aforementioned, which sampled the LS500h F Sport, which is priced from $190,500 plus government charges. Standard equipment on the LS500h F Sport includes pretty much everything you could want in a luxury limousine. Features include but are not limited to: 23 Speaker, 2400W Mark Levinson stereo, satellite navigation, traffic sign recognition, heads up display, heated and cooled front seats and heated and cooled outer rear seats, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, 28 way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, electric rear blind and a whole lot more. Being an F Sport there’s special sports seats, sports pedals, white stitching and F Sport embellishments about the place.
What’s it go like?
We’ll let you in on a little secret – this big, luxurious and lavishly appointed hybrid limousine is a joy to drive. Really. That hybrid drivetrain consists of a naturally aspirated 3.5 litre V6 an electric motor and a battery pack. Total power and torque comes to 220kW @ 6600rpm and 350Nm @ 5100rpm. That power is fed to the rear wheels via a complex 10 speed automatic.
The LS500h is properly quick. Lexus claims a 0-100km/h time of just 5.4 seconds, and the LS feels that quick. Pop it into Sport or Sport + mode and it even emits a lusty mechanical growl. It feels and sounds well, sporty.
Handling is surefooted and tidy. The steering is crisp and direct and that adjustable suspension keeps the body taut and the ride ever so smooth. This means that the LS500h is just as good at wafting you along to your high-powered business meeting as it is hustling down your favourite back road on a weekend – or perhaps you take back roads to your business meetings. Either way.
Oddly enough, it feels more athletic and nimble than the smaller ES300h.
Now, back to the ride quality. It’s soft and luxurious without being wafty or vague. Lexus has truly struck the ideal balance between sports and comfort.
A great drive.
What’s it like inside?
Distinctly Lexus and distinctly Japanese. Lexus has gone its own way with the LS interior décor and it works a treat. There are varying surfaces and textures, a digital instrument cluster and that enormous infotainment screen.
Perhaps disappointingly, you need to operate the infotainment system via a track pack pad or voice control. Again, as with all other Lexus models, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are not offered. Although the Lexus system appears dated – which it does – it is simple enough to use after a while. That Mark Levinson stereo is a stand out. It envelopes occupants in rear, clear sound and with enough power to satisfy the most fussy of audiophiles.
All materials are of excellent quality, and we even like the digital trim above the dashboard.
As you’d expect seating comfort is top notch. The front seats deliver infinite adjustment and a soft and supportive. Space in all directions is excellent.
Moving into the back, and you’ll get three across that bench without a fuss. Headroom is generous, however, although beyond adequate, rear legroom could be a touch more commodious. Still, the rear seats of the LS500h are a wonderful place to relax and luxuriate. Rear seat passengers also have access to their own climate controls, to help ensure things are just so.
What we like:
What we don’t:
- That infotainment system feels dated and clunky and is lacking the user friendliness and connectivity of many rivals
- Rear legroom could be better
- It’s not cheap
- We don’t have one.
Lexus LS500h F Sport is a fast, plus and well-rounded limousine. If you’re in the market for a full-size limousine, give the new LS a look.