2019 Lexus LS F Sport Review - Luxury With a Twist

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
Fast Facts

2019 Lexus LS 500 F Sport AWD Fast Facts

3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (416 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 442 lb-ft @ 1,600-4,800 rpm)
10-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
18 city / 27 highway / 21 combined (EPA Estimated Rating, MPG)
13.1 city, 8.7 highway, 11.1 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$84,420 (U.S) / $103,150 (Canada)
As Tested
$88,605 (U.S.) / $110,450 (Canada)
Prices include $1,025 destination charge in the United States and $2,175 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2019 lexus ls f sport review luxury with a twist

The days of the stately, sedate, and silent luxury provided by the Lexus LS are over.

As it’s done with virtually every vehicle in its lineup, Lexus has made an F Sport trim available. Whether this is done to combat the stereotype of Lexus as staid or to give well-heeled buyers a chance to have their cake and eat it too, or both, I don’t know. I do know that whatever spring the F Sport puts in the LS’s step, it’s still more of a luxury cruiser than an all-out flagship sports sedan. And that’s not a bad thing.

Take the key to a so-equipped LS, and you’ll find that the initial experience is still what one expects from this car. Quiet interior, smooth-as-silk ride, artificial and light steering.

A switch of a knob to put the car into Sport S or Sport S+ livens things up, and suddenly the LS becomes moderately fun to dance with an on-ramp, though it doesn’t fully change the car’s character. It’s still a mile-eating freeway machine, just with a bit of a wild side. The ride gets a bit firmer, the steering a little tighter, the throttle slightly more responsive, but you never forget it’s a nearly 5,000-pound luxury machine.

[Get new and used Lexus LS pricing here!]

No matter what mode you pick, acceleration isn’t much of an issue, thanks to a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 making 416 horsepower and 446 lb-ft of torque. There’s a 10-speed automatic transmission getting that power to all four wheels via an AWD system with a limited-slip center differential.

There’s more to freeway cruising than just big power or a mostly supple (but occasionally firm, especially in the Sport S modes) ride. Noise, or lack thereof, plays a big part, and like many an LS of yore, the modern car is nice and isolated from outside racket, even with the F Sport intent.

Plentiful legroom, check. Plentiful headroom, also check. Comfortable back seat that almost makes you wish you weren’t driving? Oh yeah.

Flagship luxury cars are expected to be well-equipped, and the LS F Sport is no exception. Standard features include rain-sensing wipers, Lexus Safety System Plus 2.0 (cyclist/pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, and automatic high beams), road-sign assist, 19-inch wheels, LED lighting, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Lexus Enform apps, Wi-Fi, satellite radio, leather seats, heated steering wheel, wood interior trim, power trunk, moonroof, and Bluetooth.

The F Sport package adds a rear diffuser, various styling cues, six-piston front brake calipers with 15.7-inch rotors, four-piston rear brake calipers with 14.1-inch rotors, adaptive variable suspension, “ultrasuede” headliner, interior F Sport badging, aluminum pedals, and “sliding” gauges.

Other options included 20-inch wheels, a F Sport version of the heated steering wheel, head-up display, and Mark Levinson premium audio.

All this, for under six figures!

For the well-heeled CEO who wants a luxury cruiser with true attitude, I’d recommend the BMW M8. That’s because, as of now, there’s no Lexus LS F. The F Sport doesn’t truly get down and dirty at the flip of a switch, but it does become more entertaining.

It’s notable that F Sport’s only mechanical changes are the adaptive variable suspension, the 20s, and the beefier brakes. This car remains the choice of the more buttoned-down. It’s just better at letting its hair down than the regular LS is.

That will work for some of you C-suite types. The ones who want to be coddled while commuting but who occasionally need to blow off some steam on that one on-ramp, right before settling down in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

If the mission is luxury with a twist, Lexus has done well. We’d still love to see an LS F, though.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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  • Johnster Johnster on Jun 06, 2020

    I gather that these are not selling terribly well and that sales are down considerably from the previous version. Understandable. It is kind of cramped for a flagship and probably not as hip as say, a Tesla Model S or a Porsche Taycan. A lot of taller drivers won't fit in this newer version. I understand that this car is supposed to be the basis for the next generation Toyota Mirai.

    • Carmaker1 Carmaker1 on Jun 08, 2020

      That is not accurate. Mirai is unrelated to this car. Mirai was once the 2020 GS in petrol form, repurposed as the 2021 Toyota Mirai FCEV midway through development in late 2016. Both the larger 2021 LS-FC and 2020 GS product plans were cancelled in favor of the 2021 Mirai.

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Jun 08, 2020

    I miss the days when you could tell that an LS was an LS at a glance, almost out of the corner of your eye. Now I have to study it or look for the badge. Is that an ES? No wait a GS? Hmmmmmmmmm...

  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.
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