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2020 Lexus LS Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.5

The 2020 Lexus LS accelerates quickly and has plenty of power, whether you stick with the gas-only model or opt for the hybrid. This luxury sedan also provides a firm yet mostly comfortable ride, especially with the available adaptive suspension, and it has decent handling. Fuel economy is about average in the nonhybrid LS, while the hybrid model gets great gas mileage for the super luxury car class.

  • "Even though the 2019 LS isn’t particularly sporty, among the selectable driving modes is a Sport Plus setting that sharpens responses of the steering, throttle, transmission and suspension for extra liveliness while remaining essentially comfortable. The F Sport treatment in the LS 500 doesn’t add power but includes a firmer suspension, quicker transmission shifts, and stronger brakes that feel confident without being grabby." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "Even after spending just a few minutes behind the wheel, it's plainly obvious that the … 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 … 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." -- Left Lane News (2018)
  • "Gear changes from the new 10-speed transmission are smooth and imperceptible, but the pedal feels numb and shift response is slow when more power is needed. Handling is stable, neither sporty nor floppy. … The LS traditionally prioritizes comfort over performance." -- Edmunds (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The Lexus LS comes standard with a 416-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine. A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard. The engine feels strong in most driving situations, and the transmission's shifts are smooth, making it a worthy companion to the V6.

The Lexus LS Hybrid features a 3.5-liter V6 engine and two electric motors that combine to make 354 horsepower. Hybrid models are mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Though it isn't as powerful as the gas-only model, the LS Hybrid still feels energetic.

According to EPA estimates, the LS 500 gets 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those are typical ratings for the class. LS hybrid models have even better fuel economy. Those get 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

  • "The turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 in the new LS has more than enough muscle, which is evident when accelerating off the line or executing a passing move. The 10-speed automatic transmission is beautifully refined, its shift actions barely perceptible." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "Like the gasoline-only model, the hybrid is also plenty quick to move about, though you'll want to twist the instrument-cowl-mounted stalk to engage Sport or Sport+ modes to liven up the transmission so you're not caught waiting, perpendicular to fast-moving traffic, for the car to accelerate." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "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. … Shifts were fast and smooth, and we didn't notice any hesitations, despite the multitude of gears on offer. Moreover, the LS' gearbox has been equipped with a form of artificial intelligence that learns your driving habits the more you drive." -- Left Lane News (2018)

Handling and Braking

The LS isn't exactly a sports sedan, but it handles with composure and is reasonably enjoyable to drive, though the ride falls on the firm side at times. It's not uncomfortable; it’s just not as cosseting as you'd expect a large luxury sedan to be. An adaptive air suspension is available that delivers an impressively cushioned ride. Both the LS and LS Hybrid come standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The F Sport treatment in the LS 500 doesn't add power but includes a firmer suspension, quicker transmission shifts, and stronger brakes that feel confident without being grabby. Even the regular LS has selectable driving modes that include a Sport Plus setting that sharpens responses of the steering, throttle, transmission and suspension for extra liveliness while remaining essentially comfortable. However, such sporty additions seem to take the LS into an area that isn't its strong point. For ultimate comfort, an adjustable air suspension is available." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While there's no denying that the … 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 (2018)
  • "During this event, I drive a few version of the LS, including one with the standard adaptive coil suspension and another with air suspension. The ride in the former feels mediocre, communicating bumps and roughness in the road similar to much less expensive cars, but an example with the air suspension makes a huge difference, bringing the LS 500 closer to the ride quality of the benchmark Mercedes-Benz S-Class." -- CNET (2018)
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2020 Lexus LS

MSRP: $75,450 - $100,865

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