2018 Lexus LS

Performance


$75,000 MSRP
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2018 Lexus LS Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The redesigned 2018 Lexus LS features an energetic twin-turbo V6 engine that gets OK gas mileage. There’s also an LS Hybrid that gets terrific fuel economy and doesn’t sacrifice much in the way of performance. The LS provides a cushioned ride, and it handles better than you might expect of a car this size.

  • "Even after spending just a few minutes behind the wheel, it's plainly obvious that the 2018 LS is a deviation from the four generations that came before it. Whereas those previous cars coddled occupants with a soft and supple ride, the 2018 LS feels taut and hunkered down. In fact, Lexus is so serious about making the LS more of a driver's car that they've even include a Sport+ setting. Those madmen! The amazing thing is, they kind of pulled it off. The 2018 LS500 feels surprisingly confident on winding backroads. Obviously a vehicle as large as the LS is never going to feel like a sports car, but it behaves like a bona fide sports sedan." -- Left Lane News
  • "These days it's more about the software than hardware. But nestled under this unassuming cover is a 416-horsepower twin-turbo V6 and 10-speed automatic drivetrain that offers bristling performance." -- New York Daily News
  • "As the LS 500 includes Sport and Sport Plus modes, I hit the twisty bits with enthusiasm, but quickly realize the car's weight and understeer inhibit any real performance. Likewise, it's too slow to downshift for engaging throttle response." -- CNET

Acceleration and Power

The LS features a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 416 horsepower. It’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This engine delivers plenty of power, and it does so with smooth, linear precision. Acceleration is also decent for a car this size. There are selectable driving modes (Normal, Sport S, and Sport S+) that alter powertrain response for improved performance.

The LS 500h Hybrid has a 3.5-liter V6 and two electric motors that combine to produce 354 horsepower and a continuously variable transmission. The hybrid may not be quite as powerful, but it doesn’t feel slow in the way that other hybrids can. Lexus claims the LS will zoom from zero to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, and the LS 500h makes the sprint just a few ticks slower.

Lexus estimates the LS 500 will earn 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Those are typical fuel economy ratings for the class. The LS 500h gets some of the best ratings in the class: 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

  • "Lexus' new twin-turbo V6 also appears to be a peach of an engine. Peak torque comes in at a low 1,600rpm, meaning the LS has plenty of low-down grunt. And, unlike some turbocharged engines, the LS doesn't seem to lose any steam in the upper portion of the rev band, so there's available power all the way to redline. It even sounds darn good when you really start to whip it." -- Left Lane News
  • "For this generation, Lexus rides the economy trend, so dropped the former V8 in favor of a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine in the LS 500, using Lexus' unique fuel system that chooses between direct and port injection for different driving circumstances. That engine … moves this 4,700-pound plus luxury sedan well. The automatic transmission boasts a whopping 10 gears, and it shifts seamlessly …" -- CNET
  • First impressions of the V-6 are that of an easygoing companion that overdelivers on thrust. Lexus claims a zero-to-60-mph time of only 4.6 seconds for the rear-drive LS500, and that's in a dreadnought that weighs nearly 5000 pounds. We think Lexus's claim is too quick, considering 4.6 seconds is all we could get out of the more powerful and lighter LC500." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking 

Rear-wheel drive is standard in the LS, and all-wheel drive is available. You’re not going to confuse this luxury cruiser with a sports sedan, but the LS still provides sharp steering and is plenty capable on winding roads. Even the LS Hybrid moves well. F Sport models feature a more sport-tuned suspension to provide more agile handling.

In addition to its pleasantly surprising handling abilities, the LS rides smoothly. An adaptive air suspension is available, which aims to deliver improved ride comfort by adjusting to road conditions on the fly.

  • "The Lexus LS 500 F Sport feels a little robotic. But it does get you through the twisties with what might be, in a new interpretation of the word, fun." -- Autoweek
  • "How does it all work? Well, the LS (at least, in non-F Sport form) has long been known for its ability to isolate occupants from both noise and road irregularities. And though our preview route mainly utilized the smooth, twisting asphalt surrounding San Francisco, it seems that's still the case. But those same twists also showed a surprisingly agile side to the LS – even in non F Sport models. … As might be expected, F Sport models come off as even sportier." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 2018 LS overcorrects for that perceived deficiency. While there's no denying that the 2018 LS is the best handling LS Lexus has ever made, it does so at the expense of ride comfort. Unlike the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, you seem to feel every bump and crack in the road in the LS. There's even a bit of flex that we weren't expecting from a brand new vehicle architecture." -- Left Lane News
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