LEXUS

LEXUS LS SALOON 500h 3.5 [359] 4dr CVT Auto [Premium pack]

Fuel

FuelPetrol/Electric Hybrid

Transmission

TransmissionAutomatic

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph5.5s

WLTP - CO2 (g/km)

WLTP - CO2208 g/km

With the improved fifth generation version of its large luxury saloon, the LS, Lexus looks to showcase all it can be. As before, there's a non-Plug-in hybrid petrol 3.5-litre V6 beneath the bonnet and the option of AWD if you want it. But ride and refinement and drive technology are all improved. And as ever, luxury, refinement and sheer attention to detail get top billing.

LS IS MORE

The ultimate Lexus is this one, the LS luxury saloon, now usefully improved. This comes only in LS500h hybrid form these days and it'll be a rare sight on our roads. Jonathan Crouch takes a look at what's on offer.

Ten Second Review

With the improved fifth generation version of its large luxury saloon, the LS, Lexus looks to showcase all it can be. As before, there's a non-Plug-in hybrid petrol 3.5-litre V6 beneath the bonnet and the option of AWD if you want it. But ride and refinement and drive technology are all improved. And as ever, luxury, refinement and sheer attention to detail get top billing.

Background

The Lexus LS. Back in 1989, the launch of the original version of this model redefined what a luxury saloon should be, the engineers behind it tasked to create nothing less than 'the best luxury car in the world'. Few would argue that they succeeded. It seems rather ridiculous now to remember that back then, the European makers who ruled the flagship four-door market sector defined luxury as being as much about wood and leather as it was about ride and refinement. Thanks to this Japanese brand, cars of this kind were finally transformed from boardroom barges to the technological showcases buyers had a right to expect from their inflated price tags. Today, the LS is still a technological showcase, but it isn't the obvious segment choice that it was for a brief period in the early Nineties until the European opposition caught up. The engineers have been working on that though, the result being the improved version of the fifth generation model we're going to look at here, a boardroom segment full-Luxury saloon that claims to offer a rather unique blend of design, technology and performance, extending the boundaries of automotive luxury. That's quite a claim when other rivals in this segment include contenders as accomplished as the Mercedes S-Class, the BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8.

Driving Experience

In the past, Lexus hasn't ever bothered to make the LS feel in any way sporty - and doesn't see any need to start now. Most owners spend 90% of their drive time in the most normal of the provided drive modes, using light throttle inputs - usually around town. So this improved LS model's 3.5-litre V6 full-Hybrid petrol engine aims to be better in that environment, where it most matters. The engineers have increased the level of assistance delivered by the hybrid system's lithium-ion battery. That in turn reduces the amount of throttle the car needs to accelerate, resulting in what the brand calls a 'smoother and more linear' acceleration curve. More comfortable city driving is the result, though Lexus claims there are also benefits when it comes to winding roads and hill starts. That greater battery output allows the petrol engine to operate at lower revs, reducing vibration and noise. There have been other changes to the drive experience too. The 'AVS' 'Adaptive Variable Suspension' system has been updated to improve ride quality. Plus the engine mounts have been changed. And thicker seat bases have been added and tyre sidewall stiffness reduced, so occupants are less likely to feel tarmac vibration. To suit the current zeitgeist, there are also more autonomous driving features. Otherwise, things are much as before. The 3.5-litre petrol V6 fitted to the single LS500h model puts out 295bhp but is boosted by a hybrid system to produce a 'total system output' of 354bhp. This package powers the rear wheels in most models which are suspended at each corner by multi-link suspension units. There's also an AWD version available for those wanting it. In other markets, this powerplant comes fitted with twin turbochargers; unfortunately, we don't get that version here, which means that the engine has quite a job on shifting nearly 2.5-tonnes of Oriental real estate. Still, 62mph from rest is dispatched on just 5.4s in the rear-driven variants, en route to a top speed that as usual in cars of this kind is artificially restricted at 155mph.

Design and Build

The LS has always been understated and this updated version of the fifth generation model is no different. You'll certainly struggle to spot the changes made to this facelifted design, even if you're amongst the rare few who chose the original version of this MK5 model. So, to help, we'll tell you that there's a darker radiator grille, a re-profiled front bumper - and fresh alloy wheel designs for the 'F-SPORT' model. The headlights are a little different too, subtly re-shaped and now incorporating the 'Bladescan Adaptive LED' technology we first saw on the RX, which uses moving mirrors rather than projectors to adjust the headlamp beam. Inside, the main change lies with the new 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is now (at last) compatible with 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' and features a useful 'call-up' switch which gives the driver instant access to the most frequently used controls. A key improvement you can't see is the more supportive urethane rubber that undergirds the seat padding, that chair as before trimmed in exquisite leather and featuring 20 or 28-way-adjustability, as well as a range of massage functions from 'stretch' to 'Shiatsu'. There's also now a digital rear view mirror to improve rearward visibility. As before, when you get in, the seatbelt presents itself and its holder even extends by 50mm to receive the buckle. Lovely. The rear compartment is beautifully trimmed, though headspace could still be more generous. Less surprising (given that this is a hybrid) is the relatively modest levels of boot space - the quoted figure is 430-litres.

Market and Model

As before, prices sit in the £80,000-£115,000 bracket and the range begins with standard 'LS' spec, which together with the 'LS F-SPORT' variant, can only be had in rear-driven form. A mid-range 'LS Premium Pack' variant is offered with the choice of rear-wheel drive or AWD. And the top 'Takumi' models (which start from around £105,000) only come in AWD form. Equipment levels of course are generous, with 20-inch wheels, four-zone climate control, leather upholstery, 20-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated seats and the Lexus Premium Navigation system all standard. Most models get a seat massage programme for the front chairs too. Avoid entry-level trim and you also get a thumping 23-speaker Mark Levinson Reference surround sound audio set-up too. Adaptive Variable Suspension is standard and above entry-level trim, you get full air suspension too. Safety-wise, all models get the 'Lexus Safety System+', which includes 'Pre-Collision' autonomous braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Sign Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Sway Warning and Automatic High Beam and Adaptive High beam features for the Triple-LD headlamps. There's also a Blind Spot Monitor and a 'Rear Cross Traffic Alert Brake' system to warn you of oncoming traffic when you're reversing out of a space. A new safety package called 'Lexus Teammate' allows the car to automatically change lanes and overtake other vehicles. Our favourite new feature though, is the fully automated parking system, which can recognise spaces you use regularly, store details on them and guide the LS into the required bay, even if the space hasn't been marked with lines and there are no adjacent vehicles.

Cost of Ownership

Ultimately, you don't buy a huge V6 petrol-powered luxury saloon like this and expect it to be an inexpensive thing to keep on the road. Which is also the case here, despite all that hybrid badging. Self-charging hybrid technology we should point out: this LS500h doesn't have plug-in PHEV tech; Lexus doesn't think that's needed. Even so, this LS returns 35.3mpg on the combined cycle and 182g/km of CO2 in rear wheel drive form. Go for the minority-interest AWD version and those figures fall only slightly - to 31.4mpg and 214g/km. The insurance group is a top-of the-shop 50E rating across the range. To maximise your returns, you'll need to make frequent use of the 'Eco' setting in the Drive Mode Select system. This reduces throttle response and engine power output in relation to use of the accelerator pedal to maximise fuel efficiency at the same time as limiting the voltage of the power control unit. The best part of owning a Lexus is that you can be almost certain that nothing will go wrong. Even if such a thing ever happened, so efficient and pleasant are the dealers that you'll be almost glad it did.

Summary

The LS is - and has always been - the car its brand is built upon. The day that Lexus can't bring us a credible large luxury saloon to challenge the best of the premium European makers will be a day the company will have taken its eye off the ball with too much of its focus on sports saloons, compact executive hatchbacks and SUVs. This improved fifth generation LS reassures us that that time is unlikely to ever come. While this isn't a class leader, it's still a desirable and very different class contender in so many ways, primarily when it comes to refinement and cabin luxury in this segment. Driving one of these is an experience, but one that few boardroom buyers will ever get to try. They'll dismiss this car for its lack of Plug-in hybrid technology, EV tech or diesel power. They'll bemoan the doubtful residual values. Or assume that driving one will be like piloting a waterbed. Which is a pity because for all its faults, this LS is a car that many top executives would really enjoy owning. It ought to make your short list - and if it does, there's the added appeal that no one else in the boardroom will have one.

  • Windscreen wiper de-icer
  • Sundym side windows and rear screen
  • Rain sensor windscreen wipers
  • Rear defog timer
  • Water repellent glass in front side windows
  • Acoustic laminated side glass
  • Front electric windows with auto up and down function

  • Hill start assist control with hold switch
  • Electronically controlled braking
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Brake assist function
  • Anti-lock brake system
  • Traction control
  • Electronic brake force distribution

  • Front and rear textile carpet mats

  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
  • Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management
  • Adaptive variable suspension

  • Bluetooth telephone connectivity
  • Voice control system

  • Lane departure warning system
  • Electric power steering
  • Lane keep assist
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Emergency stop signalling system
  • Drive mode selector
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • 6 driving modes Eco/Normal/Comfort/Custom/Sport S/Sport S+
  • Pre-collision system (PCS)
  • 360 degree panoramic view monitor
  • Drive mode select switches - snow and EV mode
  • Rear multi operation panel
  • Rear cross traffic alert and auto braking
  • Dynamic radar cruise control

  • Power boot lid with kick sensor
  • Power boot closing
  • Push button starter
  • Remote fuel cap release

  • Service interval indicator
  • Trip computer
  • Driver monitoring system
  • Blind spot monitor
  • Remote touch interface
  • Road sign assist - RSA
  • Lexus navigation system
  • Analogue clock with GPS function
  • 24" colour head up display
  • MM19 multimedia system including apple carplay and android auto

  • Reverse tilting door mirrors
  • Black mirror caps
  • Automatic dimming door mirrors
  • Automatic dimming rear view mirror
  • Door mirror integrated indicators
  • Electric adjustable/heated/folding door mirrors
  • Door mirror memory

  • Instrument panel and door trim illumination

  • 8" TFT multi information display in instrument panel
  • 23 speaker Mark Levinson sound system with DVD
  • 12.3" colour touch-screen display
  • Auxiliary input socket
  • DAB Digital radio
  • Steering wheel mounted controls
  • 2 front USB and 2 rear USB charging points

  • Aluminium boot scuff plates
  • Electric sunroof
  • Body colour bumpers
  • Easy door and boot soft shut closing
  • Pop up hood

  • 3 eye LED headlights with adaptive high beam system with bladeScan
  • Roof mounted LED brake light
  • LED Indicators
  • LED door illumination
  • Rear fog lights
  • LED rear combination lights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Adaptive high beam assist
  • Front fog lights
  • Automatic headlamp levelling
  • Headlamp cleaning system
  • Adaptive front lighting system
  • Cornering light

  • Clean air filter
  • Individual driver/passenger temperature controls
  • Climate concierge
  • 4 zone climate control air conditioning with Nanoe technology

  • 3 spoke heated wooden/leather steering wheel
  • Sunshade - power back and rear sides
  • Self charging hybrid
  • Active sound control
  • Suede roof lining
  • Gearshift paddles
  • Electric adjustable steering column with memory
  • Semi-aniline leather upholstery
  • Front centre armrest with storage
  • Front door pockets
  • Through load facility
  • Rear armrest with storage
  • Leather front centre console
  • 3 x 12V power sockets
  • Rear cupholders
  • Coin tray
  • Aluminium scuff plates
  • 2 cupholders in front centre console
  • Sunglasses holder
  • 2 bag hooks in luggage compartment
  • Rear electric sunblind
  • Leather gearlever gaiter

  • Glovebox light
  • Boot light
  • Door puddle lights
  • Illuminated entry system
  • LED interior illumination with touch sensor map lights

  • 3 point seat belts with pre tensioners
  • Pedestrian monitor
  • Rear seat cushion airbags
  • Front thorax airbags
  • Seatbelt warning
  • Rear side airbags
  • WHIPS whiplash protection system - front
  • Dual stage Driver/Passenger Airbags
  • Driver/front passenger side airbags
  • Front safety belt with retractor
  • Tyre pressure warning
  • Side curtain airbags
  • 3 point seatbelts on all rear seats
  • Drivers knee airbag
  • Front passenger airbag deactivation
  • Passenger knee airbag

  • Massage function for front seats
  • Electrically adjustable rear headrests
  • Electric front head restraints, adjustable-drivers with memory
  • Isofix child seat preparation
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • 4 way electrically adjustable lumbar support for front passenger seat
  • Variable climate control front and rear seats
  • Heated and ventilated rear seats
  • 4 way electrically adjustable lumbar support for drivers seat
  • 4 way electrically adjustable lumbar support on passenger seat
  • 18 way electriclly adjustable rear seats
  • 28 way electrically adjustable front seats with memory
  • Butterfly protection front and rear headrests

  • Hands free key card
  • Anti theft alarm with incline sensor and glass break sensor
  • Easy access power system
  • Smart card entry
  • Double locking
  • Security window etching
  • Engine immobiliser
  • Locking wheel bolts
  • Automatic door locking

  • Driver/passenger sunvisors and LED vanity mirrors

  • Run flat tyres

  • 20" Alloy wheels

  • CO2 (g/km): 162
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • Noise Level dB(A): 68
  • CO: 0.381
  • NOx: 0.005
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: 0.0003
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low: 276
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium: 207
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High: 183
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High: 204
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 208
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - Min: 273
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - Max: 277
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - Min: 204
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - Max: 209
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - Min: 182
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - Max: 185
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - Min: 202
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - Max: 209
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Max: 209
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Min: 208

  • Cylinders: 6
  • Cylinder Layout: V6
  • Number of Valves: 24
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: NORTH SOUTH
  • Compression Ratio: 13.0:1
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • Gears: 10 SPEED
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 94
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 83
  • CC: 3456
  • Engine Code: 8GR-FXS

  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 12.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 9.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 8.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 9.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Min: 12.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Max: 12.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Min: 9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Max: 9.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Min: 8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Max: 8.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Min: 8.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Max: 9.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Min: 9.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Max: 9.2
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • EC Urban (mpg): 33.2
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): 42.8
  • EC Combined (mpg): 39.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 23.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 30.7
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 34.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 31.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 30.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Min: 23.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Max: 23.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Min: 31.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Max: 30.7
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Min: 35.3
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Max: 34.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Min: 31.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Max: 30.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Min: 30.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Max: 30.7

  • Coin Series: N
  • Coin Description: h
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Manufacturers Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Generation Mark: 4
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Service Interval Mileage: 10000
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: N
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: N
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • Badge Power: 359
  • Badge Engine CC: 3.5
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 47E
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False

  • Engine Torque - MKG: 35.7
  • Engine Power - KW: 264
  • Engine Power - RPM: 6600
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 258
  • Engine Torque - NM: 350
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 5100
  • Engine Power - BHP: 359
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 5.5
  • Top Speed: 155

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP

  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False
  • Tyre Size Rear: 245/45 R20
  • Tyre Size Spare: RUN FLAT TYRES
  • Wheel Type: 20" ALLOY
  • Tyre Size Front: 245/45 R20

  • Width (including mirrors): 2160
  • Height: 1460
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 5235
  • Width: 1900
  • Wheelbase: 3125

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 2275
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2800
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 82
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 430
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: N
  • Max. Loading Weight: 525
  • Max. Roof Load: N
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 12

  • Additional special metallic paint: £3,115
  • Metallic paint: Included
  • Solid paint: £0
  • Special Metallic paint: £500

  • Metallic - Deep blue: £0
  • Metallic - Mesa red: £0
  • Metallic - Graphite black: £0
  • Metallic - Manganese lustre: £0

  • Solid - Velvet black: £0

  • Special metallic - Sonic titanium: £500
  • Special metallic - Sonic white: £500
  • Special metallic - Sonic silver: £500
  • Special metallic - Sonic agate: £500
  • Additional special metallic - Lunar silver: £3,115

  • Semi-aniline leather - Black with Ash open pore inlay: £0
  • Semi-aniline leather - Hazel with walnut open pore inlay: £0

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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