NYIAS 2017: Does the LS 500 Really Need an F-Sport Badge? Lexus Thinks So

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Lexus is giving its flagship sedan the F-Sport touch for the New York International Auto Show. While it isn’t likely to rival AMG’s super sedans in terms of power, Toyota’s premium brand is promising improved handling to go with a platform it claims is the “stiffest that Lexus has ever developed.”

The next-generation LS 500 premiered in Detroit back in January and was followed by the Lexus 500h hybrid in Geneva last month. Lexus is unlikely to unveil a tuned powerplant for the LS, but the F-Sport should be more than just a handling package and unique badging.

Despite being a performance-oriented model, it should still closely resemble the other LS sedans — the teaser photo doesn’t suggest much in the way of unique styling, either. However, it would be surprising to see any F-Sport without a model-specific grille and a more sport influenced interior. The majority of Lexus’ go-fast lineup enjoys subtle enhancements like blacked out mirrors, aluminum pedals, and premium wheels.

There is also reason to believe this 500 LS will receive Active Sound Control, which beefs up engine noise through some electronic trickery. It’s a pointless gimmick, but it is a fun one.

The LS 500’s GA-L platform has stretched the model’s wheelbase by 1.3 inches and allows a lower ride height than its predecessor. However, the updated car has done away with old 4.6-liter V8 in exchange for a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 making 415 horsepower — which is likely to remain unchanged for the F-Sport model. Handling and steering feedback will be a different story, though.

The automaker promises that 2018 F-Sport variants will exist for both standard and hybrid versions of the LS. Both will have a world debut at the New York International Auto Show on April 12th.

[Image: Lexus]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

More by Matt Posky

Join the conversation
4 of 8 comments
  • TwoBelugas TwoBelugas on Apr 05, 2017

    The last ES350, a 2015 one, I rode in was noticeable harsher over bumps and potholes than my 1500. Are the white hair crowd buying hard riding cars to feel "alive" or something?

    • See 1 previous
    • Bd2 Bd2 on Apr 06, 2017

      Toyota tried to make the ES "sportier" and merely made the ride harsher (did the same for the Camry and Avalon). Since then, they have dialed back on the spring rates and the rides have gotten closer to their old norm.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Apr 07, 2017

    Lexus uses F-Sport as a bait and switch. In the GS they use it to avoid giving you the V8 unless you pay with blood to get the GS-F. As another poster said they need to stop chasing the Germans on model/trim proliferation and get back to being Lexus, which is quality first, quality last.

  • Jeff Self driving cars are not ready for prime time.
  • Lichtronamo Watch as the non-us based automakers shift more production to Mexico in the future.
  • 28-Cars-Later " Electrek recently dug around in Tesla’s online parts catalog and found that the windshield costs a whopping $1,900 to replace.To be fair, that’s around what a Mercedes S-Class or Rivian windshield costs, but the Tesla’s glass is unique because of its shape. It’s also worth noting that most insurance plans have glass replacement options that can make the repair a low- or zero-cost issue. "Now I understand why my insurance is so high despite no claims for years and about 7,500 annual miles between three cars.
  • AMcA My theory is that that when the Big 3 gave away the store to the UAW in the last contract, there was a side deal in which the UAW promised to go after the non-organized transplant plants. Even the UAW understands that if the wage differential gets too high it's gonna kill the golden goose.
  • MKizzy Why else does range matter? Because in the EV advocate's dream scenario of a post-ICE future, the average multi-car household will find itself with more EVs in their garages and driveways than places to plug them in or the capacity to charge then all at once without significant electrical upgrades. Unless each vehicle has enough range to allow for multiple days without plugging in, fighting over charging access in multi-EV households will be right up there with finances for causes of domestic strife.