YOU’LL NEED CLOSE TO $200K TO JUMP IN THE NEW FIFTH-GENERATION LEXUS SEDAN. THANKFULLY THAT INCLUDES FREE MASSAGES AND A PUNCHY V6.
That grille. Much like the ongoing dad sneaker trend, it’s a look that divides opinion, and has done since first being introduced in 2010 . But it’s meant to be bold – and while we’re no fans of the so-called ‘spindle grille’ here it seems to work. Because this is a shouty corporate cruiser with immediate swagger and youthful charm – a three-piece suit coupled with Common Projects sneakers rather than the staid button-up two pieces still being sported by Audi’s ‘A8’, Merc’s ‘S-class’ and BMW’S ‘7 Series’. The new ‘LS’ is low, long and lithe – an appealing beast in looks, despite its heft.
This was the real surprise when belting the ‘LS 500’ about the east coast of Tassie – especially given the Japanese marque has dumped the former LS’S V8. We walked away impressed with just how damn good the new V6 is. A 3.5-litre twin-turbo, it produces 310kw/600nm via a 10-speed auto box – punchy and responsive and with an audible note out back when not sitting in ‘Comfort’ or normal settings. If you must know, the ‘LS 500h’ (hybrid) features a 220kw/350nm 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 (a different engine to the straight 500) plus two electric motors for a combined power output of 264kw.
There are bumps in them there country roads out Tassie way – not that we felt many given the brilliance of the LS 500’s air suspension and coupled tech. Things were a little more pronounced in sportier modes, but still nothing too jarring – and it’s these modes you need to engage if you want to feel anything other than the steering which is arguably a little light. And while both the ‘Sports Luxury’ and ‘F Sport’ variants aren’t exactly the desired weapons in which to attack a mountain of ascending turns, the handling was still responsive for a car of this size.
As expected, the cabin here is roomy, with class-leading refinement and some of the softest leather we’ve had the pleasure of meeting. While there’s still no Apple ‘Carplay’ nor Android ‘Auto’ connectivity’, there’s a beastly Mark Levinson surround-sound set up of 23 speakers to get lost in. Still, all you really need know is that the ‘LS 500 Sport Luxury’ offers a rear seat that reclines like a Barcalounger (replete with leg support) and features a series of massage options that actually help sort out the kinks. Commuting in traffic has never been so pleasurable.
The latest ‘LS’ is available to drive now - or, be driven in. We say this as realistically a lot of what it will be doing is ferrying about suited types buried in their phones. The ‘F Sport’ starts at $190,500 and the ‘Sports Luxury’ is yours from $195,500. That’s cheaper than the base outings of its direct Germanic competitors, though then there’s the additional options and things can be dialled up rather quickly - especially given we were rather partial to the Kiriko Glass with black door trim thats comes via a so-called ‘enhancement pack’.