Specifications of Lexus LS V (facelift 2020) 500h V6 (359 HP) Hybrid Automatic
General characteristics of Lexus LS V (facelift 2020) 500h V6 (359 HP) Hybrid Automatic
As a large luxury barge, the LS comes with impressive dimensions. The total body length is 206.1 inches, housing a 123-inch wheelbase. The overall width with the mirrors folded is 74.8 inches. The rear-wheel-drive model is 57.1 inches tall, while the all-wheel-drive model sits 57.5 inches from the ground. The lightest model is the standard RWD LS 500 with a curb weight of 4,696 pounds. A twin-turbo F Sport AWD with all the luxury trimmings weighs in at 5,104 lbs.
There are a total of nine colors available, including Eminent White Pearl, Iridium, Atomic Silver, Manganese Luster, Caviar, Obsidian, Matador Red, Nightfall Mica, and Ultra White. Certain hues are not available across the line-up, however, with Ultra White only available on F Sport models, while you can't have this model with Eminent White Pearl and Nightfall Mica. The two Mica colors are as exciting as it gets, but the available hues suit the car's upmarket nature well. All colors are available at no extra cost.
Sprint times are meaningless in this segment, but in case you're wondering, the twin-turbo V6 LS 500 can do 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 4.6 second, while the hybrid takes 5.1 seconds to do the same.
Traditionally this segment was limited to V8s and V12s, but the world is changing. Lexus is nearly at the forefront and only missing a plug-in hybrid derivative. Instead of using its 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine (a glorious engine), Lexus uses a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine. On the hybrid side, it also uses a V6 engine (not the same engine), sans turbochargers, but working together with two electric motors. Why not use the existing V8 engine? That particular powertrain does a stellar job in performance models as it loves to be revved. In a luxury barge, you want low-down torque for effortless acceleration from a standing start.
The twin-turbo delivers all of its torque from 1,600 rpm to 4,800 rpm, while the electric motors in the hybrid ensure you get a decent dose of pulling power from zero rpm. The V8s talents would have been wasted on this car, but the available engines suit the LS perfectly. All LS models are RWD, but AWD is available across the range.
The twin-turbo V6 engine offers impressive specs, delivering 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. That's more than enough for a luxury barge, though this particular engine does have a narrow powerband. Thankfully, it never feels stressed, thanks to a ten-speed automatic transmission. If you've ever wondered why you need more than six ratios, the LS's gearbox is the answer. It can hustle off the line when you want to but can also idle along at the speed limit in top gear.
The hybrid uses a more complex setup that doesn't work as well as we had hoped. Lexus claims this engine delivers 354 hp, but no torque figure is provided. Like other Toyota/Lexus hybrids, the LS uses a CVT transmission, but it also has a four-speed automatic bolted to its back. It sounds like a super-smart engineering solution, but it comes across as unrefined. In cars like these, the gearbox's main job is to provide power to the wheels effortlessly. Gear changes should not be felt or heard. Once you forget the car even has a gearbox, you know it's working perfectly. This is not the case with the hybrid. It looks like a good idea on paper, but it comes across as coarse and ungraceful in reality - two words you never want to see in the road test of a large luxury sedan.
Lexus always turned a blind eye to what the Germans were doing. While Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW were tuning some sportiness into their luxury barges, Lexus soldiered forth with the squishiest suspension setup possible. The current LS made a slight miscalculation by forgetting its roots. It arrived on the scene with an adaptive air suspension and driving modes called Sport and Sport+. Instead of being more dynamic, the LS 500 felt confused. It was the most fun LS to date, but the sudden onset of bumps into the cabin was disconcerting. We know what Lexus was trying to achieve, but was it a good idea? We don't think so.
Thankfully, the recent updates to the suspension and refinement overhaul of the current LS 500 are closer in execution to the original LS 400. Fine by us. Let the Germans compete amongst themselves to see who can build the sportiest luxury limousine. We prefer our barges soft, silent, and sofa-like. Cars like these should alleviate high blood pressure. They should be sensory deprivation forts of solitude for the wealthy, which is precisely what the LS now provides.
The interior seating and space send a mixed message. Rear passengers only get 38.9 inches of legroom and 37.3 inches of headroom, shrinking to 36.4 inches with the panoramic sunroof. This is perfectly ample for six-foot passengers but still below par in the segment. Even the Lexus ES 350 has more rear legroom.
Perhaps this is a sign that Lexus designed the LS to be driven and not driven in. Front passengers get 41 inches of legroom and 37.3 inches of headroom, or a slightly lower 36.8 inches with the sunroof optioned on. But then you get the optional Executive Package, which enables the right rear passenger to move the front passenger seat all the way forward, activating a built-in ottoman. If you're buying a new car to be chauffeured in, this isn't it.
Even S-Class owners will be blown away by the LS interior. The base LS comes with three no-cost options, including Chateau or Black leather with Open-Pore Black trim and Palomino leather with Open-Pore Brown Walnut trim. There are seven other options, each one requiring an extra feature of some sort. The Black leather with Artwood Organic Gloss trim requires you to also add the 19-inch ten-spoke noise-reducing alloy wheels for some reason. In addition to Black, Palomino, and Chateau leather trim, you can also have White leather, either with Artwood Herringbone trim or Laser Special Black trim, but note the additional extras you'll be required to add on. We love the Black leather with Kiriko Glass trim. It looks sensational and comes with an interesting story dating back to the Edo period. Utterly magnificent. Only five of these options are available on the hybrid model, which is a bit of a letdown, though.
The F Sport only has three no-cost interior options, all of them on the sporty side. Nagari Aluminum trim is standard across all three, and the leather color options include White, Black, and our personal favorite, Circuit Red.
Oddly, cargo capacity is almost always a letdown in this segment. The rear seats don't fold flat on any of the luxury barges, and some of the fancy optional extras take up what precious little space there is. A champagne fridge is a good example.
The hybrid model has 15.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity, dropping down to 14.1 cubes with a rear cooler. The claimed cargo volume for the twin-turbo model is 16.9 cubic feet. It easily beats the Audi A8's 12.5 cube trunk but is around one cube down on the rest of its German competitors.
As is expected of full-size sedans that may be used for families, there is enough space to store your bits and bobs. There are standard door pockets, a pair of cupholder front and back, and a large storage cubby underneath the center front armrest.