Test drive

YOU’LL NEED CLOSE TO $200K TO JUMP IN THE NEW FIFTH-GEN­ER­A­TION LEXUS SEDAN. THANK­FULLY THAT IN­CLUDES FREE MAS­SAGES AND A PUNCHY V6.

GQ (Australia) - - GQ TASTE+TRAVEL -

STYLING

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.

EN­GINE

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.

DRIV­ING

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.

IN­TE­RIOR

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.

PRICE/ DE­LIV­ERY

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’.

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