Focused on the Lexus line in 2019, I took the time to test and review almost every Lexus performance sedan and coupe for a better understanding of what Lexus is now all about. Plenty of mixed reviews and I was never completely sold on any of the models until the 2019 Lexus LS 500 F Sport arrived.
To be clear, I’m the type of car buyer who looks for a well-balanced vehicle, a car that has a specific purpose and components to support that purpose, and at the appropriate price. If that vehicle doesn’t exist from the factory, I’m also the type who will customize it to be so.
To my surprise, the LS 500 checked all the appropriate boxes, and at an appropriate starting price of $81,450.
Featuring a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6, the LS 500 F Sport boasts 416 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 442 pound-feet of torque at 1,600. It has a 10-speed automatic transmission and weighs 4,839 pounds.
I thought it would have a hard time getting around, but I was pleasantly surprised by the balance of power to weight. The low-end torque was impressive and got the sedan moving quickly and smoothly, quite a surprise after reviewing the sluggish LC 500 or GS F with their naturally aspirated V8s.
The LS 500’s 123-inch wheelbase is longer than the GS F at 112.3-inches, and I expected uncomfortable body roll through corners with a slow recovery. Perhaps due to the combination of weight, length and low-end torque, each corner was taken swiftly and the car emerged out of the turn fluidly while staying planted. Another surprising difference from the GS F: 10-speed automatic utilized the V6 very, well getting through gears with ease; I felt no power loss between gears.
At first glance I wasn’t sold on the size of the car. Honestly, I was a little put off thinking it almost had too much of a “family car” feel to it. Maybe if I hadn’t already had the opportunity to review the RC F and LC 500 sport coupes I may not have felt the same. Note to self: review the bigger cars first. Body lines are very similar to the GS F but with a more elongated rear and a less angular curvy design.
The F Sport package includes the diamond-shaped grille nestled between the angular triple-beam LED headlamps. Also included are larger, more aggressive wheels and darkened trim pieces. One front feature I could do without is the aggressive air ducts on either side of the bottom of the front bumper that look a bit out of place due to the straight edges almost framing the grille.
While I found the exterior lackluster, I was pleasantly surprised by a beautiful red and black leather interior that is probably my favorite dash design. Elegant and eye catching, the dash seemed to continue the body lines into the interior with the chrome accents along the air vents to the stitching in the door panels. Even the door handles felt and looked like a continuation of the exterior design.
I will admit the red leather took a bit to get used to, but it balanced well with the all black dash.
One feature I wish was different is the touchpad on the center console behind the shifter. I found myself avoiding it as often as I could. There’s a bit of a delay in its responsiveness to movement and never seems to land where you’d expect it to. Almost as if the overall calibration is off and in need of refinement.
Functional for the day-to-day routine, brilliant drivability with a decent amount of exterior style and an Easter egg-like surprising interior, the LS 500 F Sport would be my pick if I were on the market for a new Lexus.
Read our recent review on the 2019 Lexus NX300h.
Vehicle type: 5-passenger, 4-door sedan, Rear-wheel drive
Base price: $81,450 Price as tested: $85,948
Engine: 3.5-liter V6, 416 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, 442 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 123 inches Overall length/width: 206.1 inches / 74.8 inches
Curb weight: 4,839 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 19 city / 30 highway / 23 combined
Assembled in: Fukuoka, Japan