There is some kerfuffle that the new LS500 F Sport sticks with the 415HP V6TT from the standard car – versus bringing extra ponies like a proper F model might. But that misses the point of F Sport entirely.
Here is a style and handling upgrade that costs little and delivers big dividends. Outside, the unique look is dechromed and diipped in a sexy gloss black. More aggressive fascias, wheels and sill details complement the sharp new brakes. A BBK Big Brake Kit wishes it was as cool as these Lexus clamps.
A true performance mod for F-Sport are the six-piston front and four-piston rear stoppers. Sport suspension tune is included standard, but a super enticing option is the Handling Package. This brings air-ride with “rapid” ride height adjustment and yaw-based active stiffness. Active stabilizer (?) and Active rear wheel steering are also fantastic shares with the RCF and LCF.
The active rear wheels come on in Sport Plus to make the car into a nimble, darty and playful steer. This feature is a fave in the RC350 F Sport that few know about or appreciate for its effectiveness.
Performance mods abound inside: sporty seats with extra bolsters, dark finishes and headliner make for a very tempting M Sport alternative. One that actually looks sporty, unlike the latest 7 series. All USA 7 series wear the M Sport exterior. So, in a way, none look special.
That is not the case for the stunningly designed LS500. Can’t wait to feel if the new 10-speed and turbo drivetrain offer as much sportiness as Lexus is hinting. Big performance gains over the V8 are a sure thing. This F Sport LS500 makes the most of the fun new Lexus personality.
The new LS is in stores around October.
2018 Lexus LS500 F Sport
2018 Lexus LS 500 F SPORT Debuts in New York
•Includes exclusive F SPORT design touches, 20-inch alloy wheels, 6-piston front and 4 piston rear brakes.
•Available Handling Package for LS 500 RWD F SPORT enhances dynamic feel with chassis tech from LC coupe and helps to underline the “sport” in F SPORT.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.