2023 Lexus LS 500 AWD F SPORT

The Lexus LS is the large luxury sedan from Toyota’s upscale brand. It’s a lovely car but the problem is that it’s up against some stiff competition from the likes of Audi, BMW, Genesis, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. It’s tough for the LS to stand out in this crowd.

Base Price: $83,235
As Tested: $88,545
Horsepower: 416
Mileage: 17 mpg city/27 mpg highway/21 mpg combined

The sumptuous cabin is filled with high-end materials, features and tech. But the LS just doesn’t have the dynamic performance of the top contenders. On top of that, the infotainment system is clunky, although it is better than the outgoing version.

The LS has been around for more than three decades. LS stands for “luxury sedan” and the LS was launched way back in 1989 as the flagship sedan of Toyota’s new luxury brand.

For 2023, the LS gets some tweaks including an updated infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, more USB ports, and the addition of two driver assistance systems in the hybrid version:  the Lexus Advanced Drive semi-autonomous driving system and Advanced Park.

The five-passenger f2023 Lexus LS comes in three trims: LS 500, LS 500 F Sport, and LS 500h, which is the hybrid. Starting prices range from $77,385 to $113,485. These prices are on the lower end for a large luxury sedan. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available.

The LS 500 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V6 that makes 416 horses and 442 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is a 10-speed automatic. The LS 500h has a 3.5-liter V6 and two electric motors with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Total output for the hybrid is 295 horses.

Lexus is known for making cars with cushy and comfortable rides, and the LS mostly delivers. The ride is smooth over all but the bumpiest roads. An available adaptive air suspension system brings the ride more in line with most rivals. The LS 500 accelerates quickly and effortlessly after a bit of turbo lag – Lexus says it can go from zero to 60 mpg in 4.6 seconds while the hybrid takes 5.2 seconds. Speeding up for merging and passing at freeway speeds is easy. The LS 500 corners smoothly. The big takeaway is that the LS 500 is all about being a comfy cruiser and not about providing thrilling performance. While my tester, the F Sport, is billed as the performance-oriented LS 500, it’s not particularly athletic.

Fuel economy is about average for a large luxury sedan. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with a combined rating of 21. I got 20 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The rear-wheel drive LS does a little better at 18 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with a combined rating of 22. Fuel efficiency for the hybrid is disappointing at 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with a combined rating of 25.

The cabin is luxurious and upscale with excellent fit and finish. Every details looks well executed with every stitch in place. It’s a welcoming place to be. Seats are spacious, supportive and ultra-comfortable. Adults have plenty of leg- and headroom in both rows of seating, and three adults can comfortably fit in the second row.

Standard features include proximity keyless entry, push-button start, rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, 16-way power-adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, infotainment system with 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, 12-speaker Lexus premium audio system, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, several USB ports, Wi-Fi hot spot, voice activation, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power rear sunshade, and a power moonroof.

Available features include surround-view camera system, rear-camera mirror, 24-inch head-up display, quad-zone automatic climate control, quilted leather upholstery, semi-aniline leather interior trim, 28-way power-adjustable and massaging front seats, front sport seats, heated rear seats, Ultrasuede headliner and sun visors, wood and leather-wrapped center console, wood steering wheel, 18-way power-adjustable and reclining rear seats with memory settings, 22-way power-adjustable and massaging rear seats, power-retractable headrests, rear passenger-side seat with a power footrest, 23-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, rear-seat seven-inch touchscreen, power rear side-window sunshades, and a panoramic roof.

Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane-centering assist, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian and cyclist detection, Intersection Assist (tech that helps prevent crashes in intersections), traffic-sign recognition, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.

Available driver assistance technologies include front cross-traffic alert, automatic lane change, park assist and Lexus Advanced Drive (Lexus’s semi-autonomous driver assistance system).

The infotainment system gets Lexus’s new interface and a 12.3-inch touchscreen which is a big improvement over the outgoing system. Menus are more logically arranged and easier to navigate, and response times are quicker. However, you still have to wade through many menus and submenus which can be clunky. On the plus side, there are many physical buttons and knobs, making it easy to adjust common functions. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are wireless.

Cargo space is generous for the class. The trunk has 17 cubic feet; however, the rear seats don’t fold which limits hauling large and/or bulky items. The LS 500h has 15.2 cubes. A power trunk lid is standard.

The good:

Cushy, comfortable ride

Beautiful cabin with excellent fit and finish

Many standard and available features and tech

Updated infotainment system

Standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Less expensive than many luxury rivals

The not-so-good:

Not very athletic

Tough to compete with some other large luxury sedans

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $83,235. The head-up display is $1,220. The 23-speaker Mark Levinson audio system is $1,940. The panorama glass roof is $1,000. Delivery fee is $1,150 bringing the grand total to $88,545.

Bottom line:

The 2023 Lexus LS is a tried-and-true luxury sedan. But it does have shortcomings when compared to its rivals. Still, it can cost less than competitors and its cushy ride, sumptuous cabin, and extensive list of standard features and tech should continue to make it attractive to would-be buyers who want a luxury sedan without the ultra-high price tag.

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