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2019 Lexus LS 500 - Living The Life Of Luxury Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO - It's E15 Approved

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2019 Lexus LS 500
Living the Life of Luxury

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Lexus’ flagship, the LS — large/luxury sedan, is all new for 2018. Now rolling into its second year there have been a few updates.

The LS was made longer, lower and wider with the 2018 re-do. It now rides on 123-inch wheelbase and stretches out at 206.1 inches in overall length. The LS covers up a good bit of real estate but on the plus side there’s plenty of room in the cabin to travel in comfort.

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You not only travel in comfort but in style. There’s lots to like about the interior cabin of the LS. Enter the driver’s seat and close the door and the floating armrest immediately catches your attention. Glance across the instrument panel following the smoothly flowing chrome trim that takes your eye right across to the other side.

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There’s lots of “wow” factor. So much so that the Lexus LS 500 interior was named to Wards 10 Best Interiors list. A high level of craftsmanship, high quality materials, soft touch surfaces and fine design details are very much present. The driver and passengers are very much rewarded with the overall ambiance of the beautiful finished cabin while on a journey.

The LS is offered with the choice of two powertrains. The LS 500 is equipped with a 416 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 coupled to a 10-speed automatic. Rear-wheel or all-wheel drive models are available. There’s plenty of performance with zero to 60 mph taking a mere 4.6 seconds (RWD) and top speed leveling out at 136 mph.

EPA test-cycle ratings for the rear-drive model are 23 mpg combined with 19 city mpg and 29 highway mpg. AWD models are rated one mpg lower in the city test and two mpg lower in the highway test. The 21.7 gallon fuel tank makes for a theoretical nearly 630 mile cruising range.

The available AWD system features a Torsen limited-slip center differential that works to enhance grip, traction and cornering stability. The torque distribution can vary from 31 percent front / 69 percent rear on dry roads to as much as 48 percent front / 52 percent rear on slick surfaces.

For 2019 the LS 500 is priced at $75,300 with RWD and $78,520 with AWD.

The other powertrain is the hybrid LS 500h. A new Multi Stage Hybrid System combines a naturally aspirated Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators and uses a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery. Combined system output of the engine with the electric traction system is 354 horsepower. A multi-stage transmission combines a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a stepped 4-speed-automatic gear set for better operation over wider speed ranges.

The LS 500h can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds (RWD). EPA test-cycle ratings are 28 mpg combined with 25 city mpg and 33 highway mpg. AWD models are 2 mpg lower in both test ratings. And a large 22.2 gallon fuel tank makes for a theoretical 732 mile driving range. The 2019 LS 500h is priced at $81,300 for RWD and $84,520 with AWD.

An F-Sport package is available for the LS 500 priced a $79,820 and $83,030 for RWD or AWD versions, respectively. The F-Sport adds some unique exterior styling elements including the spindle grille, rocker moldings and 20-inch wheels. Unique seat coverings, aluminum trim bits and instrument cluster enhance the interior. Enhanced chassis tuning and larger brakes front and rear round out the performance.

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For my drive evaluation of the LS I drove a 2018 LS 500h AWD, the hybrid, which is technically identical for 2019. For 2019, minor updates include infotainment and some option revisions.

Timing is everything and the LS 500h AWD was the road trip car for my wife and me to see her family over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The trunk was plenty roomy for luggage for two along with a cooler of Thanksgiving meal contributions. We were most-comfortable with the myriad of adjustments for the front seats. The cabin is absent of road, tire or wind noise. Tunes of choice played on the 23-speaker 3D surround Mark Levinson QLI Reference Surround Sound Audio System.  

I’m no hypermiler but I am a “get there quickly” guy. The LS 500h gave back 26 to 27 mpg on our 250 mile drive, each way. The large fuel tank made me happy, making mid-trip refueling unnecessary.

The LS is loaded with advanced driver-assist safety (ADAS) systems. On our trip, lane keep assist, blind spot monitor, active steering assist and dynamic cruise control all helped make for a more relaxed and less fatiguing drive.

If you should want to take the LS 500 over the top, the optional “Executive Package with Kiriko Glass” features Kiriko glass interior door trim, hand-pleated interior door trim, 22-way power rear seats with butterfly headrests, and memory and multifunction massage with heat. The added price of $23,100 will push an LS 500 into the realm near $90,000 and over $100K with all-wheel drive.

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More information, data and specification on the Lexus LS 500 and 500h can be found at

If you happen to be in or have a visit planned to New York City you can pay Lexus a visit. A new initiative and place to visit is “Intersect by Lexus.” Intersect guests will be able to engage with Lexus through events, activities, food and culture. This lifestyle hub just opened in this its third global location.

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I appreciated the comfort and serenity of the LS 500’s interior. I did give thought to letting someone else do the driving so I could enjoy the executive class rear seating.

© 2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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