No other car in the Lexus lineup has the heritage of the 2023 LS luxury sedan. It’s been around since the brand’s inception, but its competitive edge and desirability have waned since the first LS disrupted the luxury car market in 1990. Unlike that original LS, which deemed a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, this latest LS is a rugged individualist that has its own way of doing luxury. While most other large luxury sedans offer at least a V-8 engine, the LS does without with a twin-turbo V-6 and an unrefined hybrid powertrain option. In the past, the LS sported a conservative, matter-of-fact set of clothes, but this latest generation has gone with a more expressive and aggressive style. That look doesn’t match the LS’s soft-riding demeanor, though, and even the F Sport model doesn’t dial in any noticeable athleticism. While its rivals – such as the Audi A8, the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class – offer more well-rounded packages, the Lexus feels as if its manufacturer has simply misjudged what it takes to compete at the top of this . expensive segment.
What’s new for 2023?
Lexus’ new user interface made its way to the LS luxury sedan this year. The new software is more logically laid out and has fast response. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included and can be connected via a wireless signal. Lexus also says its flagship sedan now has more USB ports—up to six—throughout its cabin.
Prices and which one to buy
We’d stick with the standard twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and rear-wheel drive, if only to reserve cash for the LS’s coolest features. We’d like to go for the Luxury package—it’s pricey, but worth it—because it adds heated and cooled front and rear seats with semi-aniline leather upholstery; 28-way power-adjustable front seats with massage; rear buckets; a rear center console with touchscreen controls for climate, audio and seat functions; four-zone automatic climate control; and power rear sun visors. The optional adjustable air suspension, 20-inch wheels, a 360-degree camera system, real wood interior trim and a wood-and-leather-trimmed heated steering wheel are all needed to add to the luxury package.
Engine, transmission and performance
The standard engine in the LS is a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V-6 that produces a silky-smooth 416 horsepower. It sounds refined and powerful while under heavy acceleration, but muted when cruising. A 10-speed automatic transmission handles gear changes unobtrusively. Performance is more than enough for this car’s luxury mission, but V-8-powered variants of the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class was faster on the test track. Models with LS500h badge features a hybrid powertrain that uses a 3.5-liter V-6 and two electric motors to produce 354 horsepower. While the standard twin-turbo V-6 runs smoothly, the hybrid arrangement feels unrefined and completely unluxurious. The engine sounds raspy and rough, and the transmission – a mash-up of a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a regular four-speed automatic – steps through predetermined gear ratios with all the crispness of a soggy corn flake.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Fuel economy estimates for the hybrid are indeed better than the non-hybrid LS500’s numbers, so if you’re looking to save some money at the pump, we suppose this is the one that redeems the quality of the LS500h’s powertrain. While the rear-wheel-drive LS500 claims 30/19 mpg highway/city, the rear-wheel-drive LS500h earns 33/25 mpg ratings from the EPA. In our real-world testing, an all-wheel-drive LS500h returned 30 mpg on our 200-mile highway fuel economy test. An all-wheel drive non-hybrid model managed 29 mpg. For more information on the LS’s fuel consumption, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, comfort and cargo
A combination of flowing lines, intricately patterned fabrics and rich leather upholstery fills the cabin of the LS, but the interior design is disjointed. To maximize the luxury, specify the real wood trim, artful glass inserts and pleated door panel fabric. Passenger space is spacious for four adults. Adding a fifth person in the standard three-over rear bench would deny passengers a true luxury experience, so we recommend opting for the optional rear bucket seats. The rear seats are fixed, so bulky cargo items may not fit easily in the LS. However, the trunk is spacious and can hold six carry-on bags. Both those Audi A8 and the Genesis G90 accommodated the same amount of luggage.
Infotainment and connectivity
All LS models come with Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay capability, navigation and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, all controlled by a new 12.3-inch touchscreen. This means that the fussy touch panel on the center console is no longer the only way to adjust vehicle settings, switch audio sources or set a destination in the navigation menu. The system also recognizes some voice commands. That said, is it too much to ask for physical buttons for things like heated seats? Lexus apparently thinks so. To activate this feature, users need to rotate the screen.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
As with most other Lexus models, the LS comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 series van driver assistance features. A more advanced semi-autonomous driving mode feature is an option. For more information on the LS’s crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane departure warning with lane keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control with lane centering assist
Warranty and Maintenance Cover
Lexus offers longer drivetrain coverage than BMW or Mercedes but does not fit Genesis’ plan of 100,000 miles of coverage. At least the first interview visit is provided free of charge.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles
2022 Lexus LS500 AWD
Vehicle type: front engine, four-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base/As Tested: $80,500/$110,030
Options: Executive Package (semi-aniline leather trim, massaging front seats, and power-reclining and massaging rear seats, suede headliner, four-zone climate control), $17,380; Lexus Safety System (front collision with pedestrian alert, intersection turn assist, front cross traffic alert, lane departure assist, active cruise control, lane assist, road sign assist, active high beam headlights, lane departure warning), $3200; Mark Levinson stereo, $1940; adaptive air suspension, $1400; head shield, $1200; 20-inch 10-spoke wheels, $880; premium wood interior trim, $800; illuminated door sills, $450; wood and leather heated steering wheel, $410; carpet, rug, $120
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 210 inches33445 cm3
Power: 416 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 442 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 14.0-in ventilated disc/13.1-in ventilated disc
Tires: Bridgestone Turanza EL450 RFT
Size: 245/45R-20 99V M+S
Wheelbase: 123.0 inches
Length: 206.1 inches
Width: 74.8 inches
Height: 57.5 inches
Passenger volume: 99 feet3
Hull volume: 17 feet3
Curb weight: 5129 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.4 sec
100 mph: 12.8 sec
1/4-mile: 13.7 sec @ 104 mph
130 mph: 22.3 sec
Results above show 1 foot deployment of 0.3 sec. away.
Roll start, 5–60 mph: 6.2 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.1 sec
Top speed (gov ltd): 140 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 185 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 371 ft
Road holding capacity, 300-foot skid road: 0.83 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 22 mpg
75 mph highway driving: 29 mpg
75 mph highway range: 620 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 21/17/27 mpg
C/D TEST EXPLAINED
More features and specifications