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

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
nyias 2017 does the ls 500 really need an f sport badge lexus thinks so

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]

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  • 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.

  • Tassos Now as for the Z specifically, Car and Driver had a comparison test of the new Z400, a car that looks good on paper, with plenty of HP etc, but, despite the fact that the cars that win in those tests are usually brand new models that are more up to date than their aging rivals, the Z finished DEAD LAST in the test, to my ovbious surprise.
  • Arthur Dailey Sorry but compare that spartan interior to the Marks that Corey is writing about. 'A cigarette lighter'. Every Mark had 4 cigarette lighters and ashtrays. And these came standard with 'a 3.4-liter, 182-horsepower straight-six in the engine compartment and a five-speed manual transmission'. Those do not tick off many of the luxury boxes aspired to by 'the greatest generation'.Not sure about the 7 series but one of My Old Man's associates showed up once with a brand new 5 series circa 1977 and they gave him such a bad time that he traded it for a Fleetwood within a week.
  • Tassos I clearly have no sentimental attachment to any cars from the 80s. I myself drove a Dasher (passat) wagon with horrible reliability, and then a Pontiac 2000, very fuel efficient for its time with its 1.8 lt and 5 speed, but a small econobox crudely made, with no luxuries inside. But most other cars of the era were really CRAPPY, unsafe, both in terms of passive AND active safety, had very few options modern cars have, etc etc. The best car I owned then was a 1991 Honda Civic 5-sp hatch, but that was also an 80s design that was on sale from 1987-1991. Not just the domestics were crappy then, but so were m ost of the imports. As you can see, I have ZERO "nostalgia" for any of these, especially not for the unreliable, poorly made JUNK from DATSUN-NISSAN, which is widely reviled overseas as a maker of small pickup trucks that are the favorites of Gypsies selling watermelons from their bed.
  • Tassos While Acura was the first Japanese attempt to sell 'luxury' (or "premium") vehicles in the US market, and despite its original good success in the near-luxury segment with the Legend and the far smaller and less expensive Itegra (a glorified Civic), it later lost its momentum and offered a series of underwhelming vehicles. It sure is not a LUXURY maker, and as long as it offers FWD or AWD and NOT RWD vehicles, it will never be taken seriously as a serious sports cars maker. Infiniti is much worse, and if both of them go under, few will notice. Lexus was more successful, offering pimped up TOyotas for 10,000s more, but there is NO vehicle in their lineup, esp now that they scewed up the only serious entry (the LS), that I would care to consider. AND I say all this as a very satisfied owner of 5-speed Honda coupes and hatchbacks (a 1991 Civic hatch and a 1990 Accord Coupe).
  • Mike Beranek Yet another reason to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles charged with energy from wind & solar with modern, non-Monty Burns nuclear as a backup.