This Flagship Sedan Nonetheless Believes in Buttons

Sitting behind the 2023 Lexus LS 500’s unfold of controls took me again to childhood. Particularly Christmas 1998—after I delightedly pulled the wrapping off a stereo the dimensions of an engine block. Keep in mind these? So many buttons, so many lights! I felt such energy and coolness. What an awesome sensation to stoke.

I’ve pushed loads of spectacular, high-end automobiles and whereas I’m actually not about to let you know the LS sedan is superior to all of them, there’s a uniquely compelling vibe to the human-machine interface right here. The cockpit appears to be like high-tech with out being chintzy or gimmicky. It’s fashionable, however I’m assured it’ll age fairly gracefully.

Andrew P. Collins

Sleek just isn’t a phrase I’d use to explain the best way the LS 500 carries itself on an aggressive assault of mountain roads, however it’s acquired greater than sufficient juice to get out of its personal manner—double the pace restrict within the time it takes you to tug a sip of espresso. You’ve acquired your self a nice govt categorical right here.

2023 Lexus LS 500 Specs

  • Base worth (Government Bundle as examined): $80,785 ($110,535)
  • Powertrain: 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 | 10-speed automated | all-wheel drive
  • Horsepower: 416 @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 442 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
  • Seating capability: 5
  • Curb weight: 5,129 kilos
  • Cargo quantity: 17 cubic ft
  • High pace: 140 mph
  • EPA gas economic system: 17 mpg metropolis | 27 freeway | 21 mixed 
  • Fast take: Supremely stylish and cozy with a considerate inside that may look good for years to return; however appears to be like enormous and handles accordingly.
  • Rating: 8/10

The Fundamentals

The Lexus LC grand touring coupe is flashier than this, and the LX SUV is heavier. However the LS 500, an immense old-school sedan, nonetheless looks like a model flagship. And it actually is gigantic—at over 17 ft lengthy tip to tail, I saved considering a celeb’s spaceship had gotten misplaced and landed in my driveway after I caught glimpses of it out my window.

In the present day’s LS design has been round for a number of years, and naturally, the nameplate has been a staple of the Lexus lineup because it dropped in 1990. The unique automobile continues to be thought of a excessive watermark of Japanese luxurious, and whereas I don’t assume the present mannequin will likely be as huge of a bullet level within the annals of automotive historical past, it’s a rattling nice high-class conveyance.

Within the again, a small display screen for controlling local weather caught my eye as I lowered myself into the again seat. That interface doesn’t appear totally essential however it’s elegantly executed and undoubtedly illustrates the purpose that you simply’re driving in one thing fancy. With it, you may tweak temperature controls and fine-tune your seat’s orientation. Should you’re in the precise rear seat of an LS 500 with the precise choices package deal, you may even use a deployable ottoman-style stool to actually drive house the vibe that you simply’re flying top notch.

Andrew P. Collins

You gained’t fairly discover the extravagance in presentation that you simply’d see in a Rolls-Royce, Bentley, or Maybach, however the room for leisure is beneficiant and the inside design is soothingly clear. 

A 3.4-liter V6 might sound slightly small for such a hefty (about 5,000 kilos) automobile. However with twin turbochargers boosting the output declare to 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, I can’t say I ever discovered myself considering “Shucks, I positive want this might transfer sooner in a straight line.” However it doesn’t precisely snap off shifts with the urgency you’re feeling in a efficiency automobile, making the paddle-shift expertise slightly unsatisfying.

The LS’s engine is totally lined, however not less than the overlaying is slightly clever. Andrew P. Collins

The engine stays pretty quiet, even underneath laborious charging, and the feeling of pace is fairly nicely muted bodily as nicely. It appears clear that the facility is barely a part of the LS 500 package deal for sensible functions. You need to have the ability to make a move and merge boldly in a high-end automobile like this, which you actually can, however everybody contained in the automobile is fairly nicely insulated from the work the engine, transmission, and suspension are doing to make the machine transfer.

For if you’re not going straight, Adaptive Variable Suspension is designed to supply max consolation whereas retaining grip and the automobile may even change its experience top only a smidge at low speeds.

Driving the Lexus LS 500

To not preserve harping on the automobile’s measurement, however it does really feel giant taking place the street. The tip of the expansive hood appears far-off, as do the rear seats. That’s not a nasty factor—quite the opposite, I discovered it felt type of cool and gave driving the factor a way of event.

It made me wish to drive the automobile intentionally, and, at a brisk or modest tempo, the car makes its manner down a street in distinctive consolation and serenity. 

If you flip very laborious, no matter drive mode, the factor actually tilts. Angrily punishing the LS 500 up and down mountain roads virtually had me feeling like I used to be in an ’80s film chase scene, the place the sedans all tip and dip dramatically. Besides, grip was by no means missing. The automobile’s competent sufficient in spirited driving, however quickly altering course simply felt discordant with the car’s vibe.

What I undoubtedly didn’t really feel had been potholes. My take a look at loops round New York’s Hudson Valley function many roads which can be about as mangy because the deer that wish to patrol them, and this automobile just about floated over all of them.

The Highs and Lows

I completely underestimated how superior the present Lexus consumer interface is—the buttons, shows, and normal controls of this automobile are without delay intuitive and cool-looking. I take into account that extraordinarily excessive reward for any automobile and truthfully, a ok motive by itself to wish to drive considered one of these each day.

Not solely does the LS have breadth of laborious buttons for important features, however they’re drawn fairly artfully into the design of the dashboard and cockpit. In the identical vein, the totally digital gauge cluster show is clear and cohesive with the remainder of the automobile.

Andrew P. Collins

Whereas some fashionable luxurious automobiles really feel slightly like cubicles, with plenty of empty surfaces and tacked-on screens, the LS inside actually looks like that of a car, a companion, a machine with some character which you could join with as a driver.

There’s a vaguely nautical vibe to the cabin—I feel it’s the ornamental stitching and light-weight coloring on a number of the inside mushy items optioned on my loaner automobile—bringing to thoughts issues I’ve seen on high-end oceangoing automobiles. I’d additionally been enjoying plenty of Bioshock proper across the time I take a look at drove this, and virtually felt like a number of the laborious trim components (particularly a billet grille-esque horizontal piece spanning throughout the sprint) had a whiff of that underwater-art-deco design fashion that permeates these video games.

I actually appreciated this design factor that spans the dashboard—it appears to be like gentle and robust on the similar time. Andrew P. Collins

Again in actuality—you’re most likely not going to finish up operating down tires attacking backroads in Sport S+ mode all that usually, however you’ll be sweeping your eyes and fingers across the inside on each drive. And when the cockpit appears to be like this cool, it’s laborious to not have time no matter your tempo.

The LS 500’s principal weaknesses, as I used to be in a position to deduce in a few hundred miles of testing, are actually simply the inherent limitations of a luxurious sedan. It’s costly, it’s thirsty, and it’s too good for a muddy canine to experience in. I guess there are different reviewers who would additionally say it feels outdated, however I feel it’d be extra precisely described as ageing gracefully.

I’m not notably electrified by Lexus’ present spindle grille or paper-creased bodywork, however I’m extraordinarily assured that the 2023 LS 500’s cockpit will nonetheless look good (and be enjoyable to make use of) in a decade.

Lexus LS 500 Options, Choices, and Competitors

The Lexus LS 500 has a decrease base worth than the Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 Collection at round $80,000. However when you begin deciding on all of the cooler options like hand-pleated inside trim and 28-way adjustable therapeutic massage seats, you’ll be ringing up at over $100,000.

The leanest you’d wish to spec an LS can be with simply the Inside Improve Bundle, which provides $3,530 to your record worth however will increase the fanciness of virtually each inside floor.

The Government Bundle provides additional niceties that notably come in useful if the automobile’s getting used for limo responsibility—that’s if you get into options just like the right-rear “energy recliner” seat with a sliding ottoman and Shiatsu massager. In fact, such luxurious provides virtually $17,000 to the worth.

For absolutely the max-boss spec LS, you may add a $23,000 package deal that options the inclusion of Kiriko glass. It is a Japanese artwork type of etched glass that Lexus appears very proud to have the ability to promote you. I’ve to confess I’m a sucker for that type of factor—why not inject slightly summary artistry right into a luxe automobile inside?

The Genesis G90 might be this automobile’s closest actual rival. That automobile is much less cash, and I feel a powerful case might be made that it’s higher trying. Having pushed solely the smaller Genesis G70 I can’t converse to how the 90 stacks up precisely, however I can’t deny that the switchgear within the Lexus did really feel significantly extra sturdy than the final Genesis I used to be in a number of weeks in the past.

If I had been spec’ing out an LS 500 for myself, I’d be tempted to splurge on the flamboyant glass however that’s solely accessible with a black inside. The seats and door panels seemed so pretty in white leather-based on my loaner automobile that I’d must suggest operating a light-color inside.

Andrew P. Collins

I do know I’ve a behavior of outing myself as a luddite in each evaluation, however, I’d skip the $3,200 Lexus Security System+ … not that I advocate for un-safety, I simply don’t like head-up shows and infrequently use cruise management.


The electrified model of this automobile—the LS 500h—is an all-wheel drive hybrid with a 7 out of 10 smog rating and an official EPA ranking of 25 mpg in mixed driving. This gas-only LS 500, with rear-wheel drive and a twin-turbo V6 will get a 5 out of 10 smog rating and is predicted to burn 567 gallons of gasoline per 12 months versus the hybrid’s 500.

Andrew P. Collins

These figures (from are slightly summary to me, however it looks as if the hybrid doesn’t prevent all that a lot juice. Each variations are supposed to have the ability to get 29 mpg on the freeway, which is first rate for a automobile this measurement however not notably excellent on the whole.

Emissions, in fact, is among the causes a number of Toyota and Lexus automobiles are pivoting from V8s to turbo V6 engines. However, frankly, in case your carbon footprint is actually one thing you’re going to inform folks you care about, it could be laborious to justify feeding a 400-plus hp engine. screenshot

Worth and Verdict

I actually didn’t thoughts driving this automobile, however I actually liked being in it. For a big luxurious craft, that’s a wonderfully affordable place to land. It’s tremendous easy in on a regular basis driving and is able to unholster sufficient acceleration if you wish to sneak in an aggressive move or merge.

I’m positive you gained’t be shocked that the costliest sedan in Lexus’ lineup is a pleasant luxurious automobile. However what cements it as actually value your consideration is the eye that was spent designing the interface and inside. 

I’ve seen different reviewers lavish reward on the comparable Genesis as attaining a lot of the identical luxurious objectives as this automobile for much less cash. However in the event you’re critical about six-figure sedans, don’t purchase one earlier than inspecting the LS 500’s inside for your self.

Andrew P. Collins

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