2018 Lexus LS 500 Review: Craftsmanship that impresses, tech that depresses

    If there’s one factor Lexus has perfected over time, it is the luxurious expertise. Its vehicles are extremely quiet and comfy and set excessive benchmarks for the Japanese luxurious set.

    But when there’s one space the place Lexus continues to fail, it is with infotainment. Whether or not it is the corporate’s new touchpad or earlier mouse-type contraption, Lexus’ infotainment choices have struggled with clunky interfaces for years, and it does not seem that’ll be altering anytime quickly.

    Each of those attributes come to a head within the 2018 LS 500. Lexus’ newest big-body sedan is so good in so some ways, however I really feel it is being held again from its full potential. I am unable to lay all the blame on the infotainment, thoughts you — simply most of it.

    Polarizing exterior, plush inside

    Whereas its German rivals proceed to err on the facet of conservative design, Lexus continues to double down on its love-it-or-hate-it strategy. The 2018 LS 500 has a entrance finish that is principally grille, the again finish is generally creases and the edges are all wavy-gravy strains. If you need a big automotive with character, the expressive design will work in your favor.

    However the correctly great things lies inside. The LS 500’s inside is the most effective of any Lexus but. Recent type abounds, from the quasi-floating armrests and the layering on the door panels to the way in which each line on the dashboard heads someplace with objective. I do not even thoughts the bizarre little artwork set up factor happening in entrance of the passenger seat, even when it feels slightly chintzy whenever you contact it. The F Sport trim brings a singular sort of seat, one which I discover to be endlessly comfy and supportive.

    All kinds of supplies are on supply in a number of completely different colours, and I particularly benefit from the brown-leather getup with herringbone wooden trim — one thing you may’t get on F Sport fashions. The Kiriko glass trim choice, which provides maybe essentially the most visually spectacular trim of any automotive available on the market, requires a $23,000 choice package deal that features an govt rear seat setup. As a lot as I like that cup, I am unable to say it is price that value.

    Nearly in every single place you contact feels very, very good.

    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    Sacrificing softness for sport

    If the Lexus F Sport trim have been merely an look package deal with greater brakes, that’d be high-quality. Nevertheless it additionally provides sport-tuned adaptive dampers that really forestall the LS 500 from exhibiting off its max potential.

    The journey is not unhealthy, not by a protracted shot. Even with the F Sport trim, the LS 500 is lots plush, absorbing unhealthy roads with nary a peep making its approach via to the occupants — Lexus’ noise isolation is second to none. I discover that one of the best ways to drive the LS 500 is to disregard the sportier drive modes and simply depart it in Consolation on a regular basis. That is the place it feels most at dwelling. I simply by no means really feel rewarded driving the automotive in a sporty method, so why trouble with stiffer dampers?

    Gone are the times of the V8-powered LS. Now, each LS 500 packs a twin-turbocharged V6 placing out 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. It is not the best-sounding engine on the planet, however its 10-speed automated is programmed to swap cogs shortly and easily, so the revs keep low and the expertise stays hushed. The EPA charges the LS 500 at 18 mpg metropolis and 27 mpg freeway with all-wheel drive, however I got here up quick by about 2 to three mpg on each fronts.

    Good tech, unhealthy tech

    There are a lot of good issues to say concerning the LS 500’s complement of in-car expertise. There are 4 USB ports, two up entrance and two for rear occupants. The elective 24-inch head-up show is huge, vivid and usually simply spectacular to behold. Lexus continues to strike gold with its Mark Levinson sound methods, too — the 23-speaker association within the LS has glorious constancy and is price each penny of the $2,000 premium.

    The infotainment system, nonetheless, is abhorrent. The trackpad by no means feels pure, and it’s extremely straightforward to by accident swing the cursor previous the supposed goal. It is practically unattainable to make use of whereas driving the automotive, and it is nonetheless fairly irritating to make use of whereas stationary. The heated seat controls are additionally infuriating. The one option to flip them on is to wade via two menus that require use of the trackpad. Why does one thing this easy should be so difficult?

    In case you’ve been driving Lexus automobiles for years, you may need a grasp on the Distant Contact system, however new consumers may have a tough time getting comfy. Even a easy touchscreen interface can be an enormous enchancment, however Lexus provides no such tech.

    How I would spec it

    Skip the F Sport trim. Doing so opens up further trim choices and it permits the LS 500 to experience its gentle, stately existence. Dropping the F Sport trim additionally slices the beginning value from $85,000 to $78,000 when you retain all-wheel drive.

    To begin, I might keep on with rear-wheel drive, since a automotive of this dimension is lots steady with out 4 pushed wheels. I might go for a brown leather-based inside with attractive herringbone wooden trim to make up for the F Sport’s monochromatic getup. This has the additional advantage of requiring an inside package deal that features massaging entrance seats. I would maintain the bottom 19-inch wheels so as to add a bit extra softness to the journey high quality.

    Including Lexus’ suite of security methods brings the value up $three,000, and it requires the addition of air suspension, LED headlights, a surround-view digicam system and the head-up show. That brings us to $87,715 for what I feel is a way more cohesive package deal than the $88,000 take a look at automotive you see right here. Dropping the additional $2,000 on the Mark Levinson system is elective, however price it. You are still nicely underneath six figures both approach.

    All the way down to brass tacks

    Whereas the Lexus LS just isn’t low cost, it is inexpensive than its competitors. Base variations of the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series kick off round $80,000 and commonplace choices aren’t precisely plentiful. A Mercedes S-Class does not get off the bottom for something lower than $90,000 — and once more, the good things is hidden away behind much more price.

    The Lexus LS 500, then, presents a worth play in its section. Its journey high quality continues to be probably the greatest within the class and it may be spec’d simply as luxuriously as any of its dearer rivals.

    You will should be cool with the look, and you will actually should be cool with some of the irritating infotainment methods in all the automotive business. However if you’re, the 2018 Lexus LS 500 will not allow you to down. Simply be sure to set your heated seat earlier than driving away.

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