The fifth generation Lexus LS debuted in 2018, introducing a new generation of luxury in the flagship sedan segment, with the LS 500 the first LS powered by a V-6 engine.
This latest generation is about 0.6-inch lower, while the hood and trunk are approximately 1.2- and 1.6-inches lower, respectively. An available air suspension package ($1,500) has an access function, activated by unlocking the car with the smart key, which raises the vehicle for easier entry/exit.
With the redesign, the LS features six-sided windows – a first for Lexus sedans – integrated smoothly into the pillars. A new optional panoramic glass roof ($1,000) helps provide sufficient headroom and lots of natural light, along with a low roofline.
LS for 2019 brings new safety features, updated technology, and more available exterior and interior colors.
New standard features include the Lexus Safety System with a pre-collision system, cyclist and pedestrian detection, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane-tracing assist, lane-departure alert with steering assist, intelligent high-beam headlights, and road-sign assist.
Lane-tracing assist works with the cruise control to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane with subtle steering assist. Lane-departure alert can recognize the margins of straight roads, even without white line markings, warning the driver if the vehicle deviates from its lane.
The Lexus Safety System +A (exclusive to the LS, $3,000) now includes lane-change assist, along with pre-collision with active braking, active steering assist, pedestrian alert, and front cross-traffic alert. Lane-change assist can help automatically change lanes when it is safe to do so.
Amazon Alexa and CarPlay functionality are new features. With voice control, the driver can access audiobooks and Amazon Music, make lists, check the weather, get news, and much more.
Alexa can also control smart-home devices such as lighting, thermostat, and security. In-vehicle, Alexa syncs with the navigation system for on-the-go recommendations.
Lexus Enform Remote brings smartphone/smart watch and Alexa skill integration, allowing remote start/climate control, lock/unlock, checking fuel level, window status, vehicle location, and more. If someone else is driving your Lexus, alerts can be received if preset speed or distance limits are exceeded.
The LS is powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbo, 416-horsepower V-6 engine with continuously variable valve timing with intelligence, designed specifically for this car, utilizing a 10-speed sequential automatic transmission. Drive Mode Select includes Eco/Normal/Sport S and Sport S-Plus. Just enough exhaust note comes through to enhance the LS’s dynamic nature.
Three trims are available, with standard rear-wheel or optional all-wheel drive ($3,220 extra): base LS 500, $75,300; LS 500h, $79,810; and LS F Sport, $81,200.
My LS 500 F Sport tester was a stunning Atomic Silver (shiny pewter), riding on equally stunning 20-inch split-five-spoke (deep, sculpted) alloy wheels with satin Dark Graphite finish.
The F Sport trim offers 10 standard exterior colors (depending on configuration), including Liquid Platinum, Manganese Luster (medium gray), Caviar (dark gray), Autumn Shimmer (brown/pecan), new Satin Cashmere Metallic (beige/wheat) and Matador Red mica (deep red).
An F Sport Performance Package ($9,700) brought the massive signature front bumper/spindle grille; black L-shaped mesh grille inserts; dark chrome lower door trim; rear diffuser; F Sport interior styling with perforated-leather-trimmed seats, steering wheel and shift knob; 28-way power front seats with enhanced bolsters and embossed headrests; passenger seat power cushion adjustment; ultrasuede headliner; LFA-inspired instrument panel with movable display; aluminum pedals and interior trim; variable-gear-ratio steering; active rear steering and stabilizer; 15.7-inch front ventilated/14.1-inch rear ventilated brake discs; and F Sport adaptive variable suspension.
Exclusively for the F Sport, the digital tachometer inspired by the Lexus LFA two-seater supercar, also shows G-forces on a meter behind the movable display.
Nine exclusive artistic interior color schemes are available, along with nine special wood and metal applications. For example, Flaxen leather with Shimamoku Espresso wood trim features black wood layered with aluminum strips, while the Parchment leather with Art Wood Organic trim features black- and brown-grained wood.
The interior of my LS 500 F Sport was Circuit Red with Naguri Aluminum on the doors, and subtle dark metal door handles, door trim, dash, and the heated F Sport steering wheel. Naguri refers to an ancient Japanese wood-shaving technique, in this case a creased-look diamond pattern pressed onto the metal. Gloss black covered the center console, and a small strip of gray satin-look trim separated the center stack from the center console.
Thin, curved aluminum strips swept from door to door across the dash, integrating the middle air vents. The same curved design was stitched on the door panels, sweeping from the back to the front over the “suspended” red armrest – quite dramatic.
Perforated leather on the seating surfaces echoed the design of the grille, while black ultrasuede accented the seat seams, side bolsters, and “F Sport” embossed headrests.
Standard features included magnesium paddle shifters, a power rear sunshade, active sound control/noise cancellation, hands-free power trunk, power driver’s seat thigh extension, 4GB Wi-Fi, Smart Stop technology, intuitive parking assist with auto-braking, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing variable wipers, luggage net, first aid kit, and triple-projector ultra-compact LED headlights with cornering lamps and daytime running lights (signature L shape).
Ambient lighting brightened and dimmed based on whether the vehicle was moving or parked.
My LS had a 24-speaker Mark Levinson 3-D surround audio system ($1,940) with in-ceiling speakers and special graphic speakers in the rear door panels. HD radio and SiriusXM were standard, along with a single disc CD/MP3/WMA player.
The standard Lexus Enform Dynamic Navigation had a 12.3-inch screen with traffic information, backup camera, and voice command. A Panoramic View Monitor ($800) projected a bird’s eye view of the ground around the vehicle. The touch pad on the center console had controls for nearly all infotainment functions. But I found the pad to be very sensitive and frustrating, with too many steps to achieve a simple function such as turning on the seat heater.
A 24-inch full-color Head-Up Display ($1,220) projected audio information, speed, current gear, and RPM onto the windshield. One of the world’s largest, it is also one of the first to project pedestrian alert and front cross-traffic alert in the form of large arrows moving from side to side from the direction of the person/vehicle.
Lexus Enform Safety Connect with emergency assistance button (SOS), roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, and stolen-vehicle notification is complimentary for 10 years, with service available at any time.
Additional options included a Cold Weather package ($220) with windshield-wiper deicer, headlight washer, and enhanced interior heater for faster output; and LED headlights with adaptive front lighting system ($300).
The LS 500 F Sport is amazing to look at, smooth and easy to drive, and very comfortable with lots of plush surfaces and plenty of head and leg room.
Its interior is beautifully appointed with dramatic top stitching, subtle metallic trim, and attractive wood/metal trim across the dash.
With $19,680 in options and $1,025 destination charges, my luxurious 2019 Lexus LS 500 F Sport delivered for $101,905.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com.