Lexus adds sportier F Sport package to its range-topping sedan

Lexus’ oldest nameplate, having been launched in 1989, the LS moved into its fifth-generation in January 2017 at the Detroit Auto Show. Redesigned after a record ten years of minor changes, the LS is now sportier and more stylish than ever, and its interior is on par with what the competition has to offer. But, unlike its predecessor, a V-8 is no longer under the hood, having been replaced by a more powerful, yet more efficient V-6 drivetrain. Offered in both gasoline and hybrid variants, the LS is now also available in F Sport trim. But even though it has a somewhat more aggressive exterior and acts as a range topper, the F Sport isn’t as special as Lexus wants us to believe.

The reason for that is that the F Sport badge doesn’t bring much beyond the blacked-out exterior trim and a few special features on the inside. Sure, there are a few chassis tweaks to talk about, but the engine and transmission are as stock as they get. The problem with this is that the F Sport badge deserves a bit of extra oomph and it’s imperative that Lexus comes up with a way to give Mercedes-Benz and BMW a run for their money in the performance department too. With the new BMW M760Li and Mercedes-AMG S63 around with fresh gear, the LS 500 F Sport will have a hard time making a name for itself.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lexus LS 500 F Sport.

  • 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    415
  • Torque @ RPM:
    442
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    90000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.8/10

Exterior

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 712551
The F Sport package is by no means extreme, but it gives the LS 500 that subdued, somewhat sporty look.

A quick glance at the LS 500 F Sport is enough to notice that we’re dealing with a slightly beefed-up version of the standard sedan that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show. So, we’re looking at a longer and wider LS with a stretched, ground-hugging appearance, and a sportier stance due to its engine hood and trunk lid sitting closer to the ground.

Up front, there’s a massive "Spindle" grille flanked by Z-shaped headlamps and deeply sculpted air intakes in the bumper. Around back, the larger taillights extend well into the rear fender and are shaped almost like an X, a feature borrowed from many recent concept cars.

So what does the "F Sport" badge add to the LS 500?

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
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For starters, the "Spindle" grille has a different mesh pattern and is finished in gloss black instead of chrome.

For starters, the "Spindle" grille has a different mesh pattern and is finished in gloss black instead of chrome. The same goes for the intakes in the bumper, with each surround insert painted black. The side profile features a dark chrome trim insert just above the side skirts, while the wheels carry an exclusive, 20-inch alloy design. Around back, the chrome trim between the tail lights has been darkened too, while insert at the bottom of the rear fascia that surrounds the exhaust outlets is also finished in gloss black. Needless to say, the black accents make a great contrast with the white paint of the presentation model, but it probably won’t look as good on a black sedan. On the other hand, black trim works with just about any color for silver and gray to red and blue.

All told, the F Sport package is by no means extreme, but it gives the LS 500 that subdued, somewhat sporty look that many premium full-size sedan buyers are looking for.

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Lexus LS 500 Exterior High Resolution
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Exterior comparison F Sport with standard model.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 123
Overall length (Inches) 206.1
Height (Inches) 57.1
Width (Inches) 74.8

Interior

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Interior
- image 712545
The standard front seats have been replaced by special F Sport units that provide enhanced support for dynamic driving.

The interior of the new LS has also been redesigned from the ground up, and you’ll find all the new features inside the F Sport model too. There’s low-slung dashboard with horizontal lines and a split design between the massive infotainment screen placed on the upper section and the A/C control on the lower side, and unlike most cars in this class, the center stack and center console are separate units.

There’s also a new seating design with 28-way power front seats, which also comes with heating, cooling, and massage function. The revised Active Noise Control provides a quieter ride and improved comfort. A new 12.3-inch screen gives access to all the features of the infotainment system as well as the standard navigation.

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Interior
- image 712550
2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Interior
- image 712554

Options include a rear passenger seat that can be reclined up to 48 degrees, a 3D-surround Mark Levinson audio system with in-ceiling array speakers, and a massive, 24-inch heads-up display.

On top of that, the F Sport gets a few extra goodies to make the badge worth the extra investment. The standard front seats have been replaced by special F Sport units that provide enhanced support for dynamic driving. They also include a perforated grille pattern on the seating surfaces and bespoke aluminum trim elements. The steering wheel is also of the F Sport variety, as is the instrument cluster. The latter includes a movable meter with a ring that slides to display information, a design adapted from the LFA supercar. Further highlights include aluminum pedals, perforated shift handle and footrests, Ultrasuede inserts on the seats and headliner, and an exclusive, but optional Circuit Red interior theme.

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Interior
- image 712545
2018 Lexus LS 500 Interior High Resolution
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Interior comparison F Sport with standard model.

Drivetrain

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
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The engine carries over unchanged, but the F Sport package comes with some chassis upgrades.

The new LS came with some big news under the hood, with the old 4.6-liter V-8 removed in favor of a modern 3.5-liter V-6. The twin-turbo unit cranks out 415 horsepower and 442 pound-feet, a 29-horsepower and 75-pound-foot increase over the previous V-8. On top of the extra oomph, Lexus also promised enhanced fuel economy, and even though mpg figures aren’t yet available, it’s safe to assume that the V-6 should return more miles for the gallon. As for performance off the line, the LS 500 needs 4.5 seconds to hit 60 mph, which is pretty good for a big, rear-wheel-drive sedan. The transmission is the company’s latest 10-speed automatic.

As you might have already guessed, the same 3.5-liter V-6 helps the F Sport move about too, but the no-so-fortunate news is that output hasn’t changed a bit.

The F Sport update is also available for the LS 500h hybrid model.

On the flipside, the F Sport package comes with some chassis upgrades. There’s an updated VDIM system, which integrates ABS, traction control, stability control, EPS and a few other functions. VDIM controls all vehicle subsystems including braking, steering, powertrain functions, and the suspension system, meaning the F Sport should be significantly more dynamic than the standard LS 500. If it’s not, Lexus has a big problem on its hands.

The F Sport update is also available for the LS 500h model, which combines the 3.5-liter V-6 and an electric motor into a highly efficient hybrid drivetrain. The V-6 is rated at 295 horsepower and 258 pound-feet on its own, but when the batteries kick it, the system output increases to 354 horses. Charging from 0 to 60 mph takes 5.2 seconds in rear-wheel-drive configuration, while AWD data isn’t yet available.

Drivetrain Specifications

LS 500 LS 500h
Engine 3.5-liter V6, direct fuel injection, twin turbochargers 3.5-liter V6 hybrid engine
Valve mechanism 24-valve, DOHC, chain drive (with Dual VVT-i) 24-valve, DOHC, chain drive (with Dual VVT-i)
Cylinders 6 6
Layout Front engine, RWD and AWD Front engine, RWD and AWD
Transmission 10-speed automatic Multi Stage Hybrid Transmission
Max engine output (hp) 415 295
Max engine torque (lb-ft) 442 258
Total System Output (hp) - 354
Battery Type Lithium-ion
Battery Voltage 310
Acceleration (0-60) 4.5 sec (RWD) 5.2 sec (RWD)

Prices

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 712544

As the range-topping model, the F Sport is obviously the most expensive version of the LS. While the LS 500 retails from $75,000, the LS 500 F Sport comes in at $81,000. For this amount, you get the rear-wheel-drive model. Upgrade to AWD and the sticker jumps to $84,220. In addition to the usual options, the F Sport can be fitter with the Performance Package. Available for $9,700, it adds dynamic rear steering, variable gear-ratio steering, and active stabilizers. However, this package isn’t available for the all-wheel-drive version.

Competition

BMW 7 Series

2016 BMW 7 Series High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2016 BMW 7 Series High Resolution Exterior
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Brand-new for the 2017 model year, the BMW 7 Series is one of the full-size sedans that Lexus wants to steal customers from with the LS. The 7 Series is pretty slick in standard form, but if you’re looking for a more unique exterior you can select the M Sport package. The bundle is available on all trims, so you can have it on both the 740i and 750i in the States. The former is powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet, while the latter uses a 4.4-liter V-8 that’s good for 445 horses and 480 pound-feet. As you can see, the LS 500 F Sport slots right between the two as far as output goes. WThe same goes for pricing, as the 740i will likely be more affordable at $81,300, while the 750i should fetch considerably more at $97,400. If you go with the M Sport package, add a few thousand dollars to the sticker.

Learn more about the BMW 7 Series here.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class High Resolution Exterior
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No premium full-size comparison is complete without the star of this segment, the mightly S-Class. Launched back in 2013, it became the most modern premium vehicle on the market. BMW finally managed to catch up with the redesigned 7 Series, but S-Class returned with an important upgrade for 2018. Although the styling is pretty much the same inside and out, the Merc sports more tech, including semi-autonomous drive, a smart steering wheel that can detect swipes, and upgraded engines. In the U.S., the German sedan now comes with a biturbo, 3.0-liter V-6 that cranks out 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet and a 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 463 horses and 516 pound-feet. Again, the LS 500 F Sport slots right between the new S450 and S560 models. Pricing-wise, the latter should be a bit more expensive at nearly $100,000. On the other hand, the S450 should cost less than the F Sport before options.

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class here.

Genesis G90

2017 Genesis G90 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2017 Genesis G90
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Still fresh having debut in 2015, the G90 also marked Genesis’ arrival on the market. Hyundai’s luxury arm, Genesis has big plans and the G90 is its biggest offering to date. Two engine options are offered, including a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6, which produces 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque, and a 5.0-liter V-8 making 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Standard appointment is RWD, but there’s also the option for AWD, while the gearbox selection is limited to an eight-speed automatic. Pricing starts at $68,100, which makes the G90 by far the most affordable car in this comparison.

Read more about the Genesis G90 here.

Conclusion

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
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I was pretty impressed with the new LS when it first arrived in early 2017. Its unique “Spindle” grille is a work of art, the Z-shaped headlamps are unlike anything else on the market, and the new beltline has a coupe of sexy rear haunches. This thing is unique styling-wise and a breath of fresh air compared to the somewhat dull 7 Series and S-Class. Not to mention that the retro-inspired dashboard and the leaf pore pattern speakers add more character to the interior. The F Sport model is pretty much the same deal, but with a more stealthy look on the outside. It’s nice overall, but I have this feeling that Lexus wasn’t exactly inspired here. A more aggressive aero kit together with a few engine tweaks would have been brilliant.

  • Leave it
    • * No engine upgrades
    • * Better options from BMW and Mercedes-Benz

Press Release

Having debuted its reinvented flagship sedan earlier this year—the all-new 2018 LS 500—Lexus is putting an exclamation point on this signature model with the new F SPORT model. The LS 500 F SPORT, unveiled today and on display this week at the New York International Auto Show, moves the driving emotion needle even farther with handling enhancements and a performance-infused design outside and in.

The original luxury disruptor when it debuted to launch the brand, the Lexus LS has for nearly three decades set benchmarks for powertrain smoothness, ride quietness, craftsmanship, attention to detail, and long-term quality. The 2018 LS 500 will offer the most dynamic driving experience in the model’s history; now it has the possibility of being enhanced further with the new F SPORT model.

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
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Within the Lexus lineup, the F models, including GS F and RC F, are the track-tuned maximum performance machines. The F SPORT versions, meanwhile, imbue the standard models with a more engaging driving spirit through carefully applied chassis tuning and enhancements, while still emphasizing exceptional comfort. On the new LS, the F SPORT model will be available with gas and hybrid powertrains, and those choosing the RWD V6TT model will have the option of adding the F SPORT Handling Package to bring a level of liveliness never before seen on the flagship sedan.

F SPORT Look
Lexus designers didn’t hold back when giving the LS 500 its coupe-like silhouette and dramatic rendition of the Lexus signature spindle grille that shows even greater intricacy in the design. Developing the F SPORT grille took computer-aided design (CAD) operators some five months to achieve the desired texture and interaction with light. Even then, they adjusted 7,100 individual surfaces to achieve the desired look and texture (compared to 5,000 for the standard model’s grille). And when combined with the sporty enlarged side grille, it is functional as well, helping to maintain the vehicle’s cooling performance.

The special F SPORT front grille, rocker panel, and trunk moldings accentuate the sedan’s rakish profile, while F SPORT badging on fenders and exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels complete the exterior transformation. For those looking to really stand out, Ultra White is offered as an F SPORT-exclusive exterior color.

F SPORT Inside
As it did with the exterior, Lexus shifted the LS 500 cabin into F SPORT spec by applying trim and features exclusive to this version. A common thread through all LS models remains: Omotenashi, the concept of Japanese hospitality. Applied to the LS 500, it means taking care of the driver and passengers, anticipating their needs, attending to their comfort and helping to protect them from hazards. The F SPORT adds a performance attitude to the mix.

The F SPORT persona shines throughout the cabin, starting with the F SPORT-exclusive front seat, which provides enhanced support for dynamic driving. A perforated-grille pattern on seating surfaces and unique scored aluminum trim elements add additional sporty flair.

The driver faces a special F SPORT steering wheel as well as a speedometer and tachometer in a movable meter with a ring that slides to display information—a design adapted from the limited-production Lexus LFA supercar and a further expression of the car’s dynamic intentions. Attention to detail shows in the aluminum accelerator, brake and footrest pedals, as well as the F SPORT perforated shift handle and footrest. Ultrasuede in the seats and headliner is the crowning touch. For those desiring the ultimate sporty look, a new Circuit Red interior is available exclusively on F SPORT models.

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 712541

LS 500 Chassis Details
2018 LS F SPORT models feature the latest generation of the brand’s advanced chassis control technology, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), which has been refined since its debut more than a decade ago.

In 2004, Lexus introduced the first integrated control system that combined the previously independent ABS, traction control, vehicle stability control, and EPS, as well as other functions, into a single system. In 2012, the brand adopted the four-wheel active steering integrated control system—known as Lexus Dynamic Handling, or LDH—from the GS for enhanced safety and driving performance that responds to the driver’s intention.

The new VDIM system implements cooperative control of all vehicle subsystems – braking, steering, powertrain, and suspension – to control basic longitudinal, lateral and vertical motion as well as yaw, roll and pitch. Optimal control of these motions helps to enable exceptional ride comfort, enhanced traction and safety and handling agility, and allows for enriched flat vehicle posture during cornering as well as a more comfortable and stable ride overall.

Sporting Genes
The LS 500 is based on an extended version of the brand’s premium global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA–L) platform from the new Lexus LC 500 coupe. The stiffest platform that Lexus has ever developed, GA-L sets the stage for enhanced handling, ride smoothness and cabin quietness. The LS F SPORT capitalizes on the platform’s responsiveness and agility.

Equipping the LS 500 F SPORT with standard 20-inch wheels and 245/45RF20+ 275/40RF20 tires, (summer tires for RWD) along with larger front and rear brakes (6-piston calipers on front and 4 pistons on rear), unlocks more of the platform’s intrinsic performance capability. Opting for the available F SPORT Handling Package (RWD gas model) equips the LS 500 F SPORT with Lexus Dynamic Handling (Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Active Rear Steering), Active Stabilizer, and sport-tuned air suspension with rapid height function. The result is a full-size premium luxury sedan that responds more like a sports coupe through curves, helping to underline what F SPORT stands for.

415-Horsepower Heart with a 10-Speed Partner
Lexus designed an all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine specifically for the new 2018 LS 500, using twin turbochargers developed through the company’s F1 technology. This new twin-turbo V6 offers V8-level performance – 415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque – paired with the first-ever 10-speed automatic transmission in luxury sedan.

The engine yields a broad torque curve and, perfectly in tune with the F SPORT spirit, the new engine and transmission deliver instant acceleration and a constant buildup of torque toward the vehicle’s redline. The LS 500 is undeniably quick, with a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds (gas RWD). An electric wastegate is among the features that contribute to the engine’s rapid responses. The driver can tailor powertrain response and feel by choosing from Normal, Sport S or Sport S+ modes, and just enough of the exhaust note is heard to enhance the sporty feel.

2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport High Resolution Exterior
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F SPORT Performance, Hybrid Efficiency
The LS 500h F SPORT infuses high efficiency into the sporting formula. The new Multi Stage Hybrid System combines a naturally aspirated Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators and uses a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery. The V6 engine uses D-4S direct fuel injection, and lightweight valvetrain components, with Dual VVT-i ensuring ample torque across the engine speed range. Combined system output is 354 hp.

The new system adapts the planetary-type continuously variable transmission from Lexus Hybrid Drive and also adds a unique four-speed automatic transmission. Working in concert, the two gearsets alter output in four stages to utilize the V6 engine across the entire speed range.

In manual mode, the two gearsets act together to provide the effect of 10 ratios, giving the LS 500h F SPORT an enhanced dynamic feel on the road and allowing the driver to shift through the ratios with paddle shifters. The Multi Stage Hybrid System allows for more electric assist at lower vehicle speeds. What’s more, this system allows the RWD LS 500h to propel from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds – which is on par with the previous-generation V8-powered LS 460 and 3 /10th of a second faster than the AWD LS 600h.

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