The 2020 Lexus LS500 is Japan’s best flagship full-sized luxury sedan that cruises amongst competition from the likes of the American Cadillac CT6, England’s Jaguar XJ, Germany’s Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and Korea’s Genesis G90. Many more full-sized luxury sedans are crowding the waters in the segment as well.
Competition in the full-sized luxury sedan segment is fierce, and Lexus faces a challenge in keeping the Lexus loyal interested in the brand while at the same time swaying new owners to consider the brand over other attractive offerings. The good news is Lexus continues to compel buyers with a premium experience in the fifth-generation LS sedan.
On the exterior, the 2020 Lexus LS500 is understated elegance. The signature Lexus “spindle” grille and aggressively styled front LED headlamps help give the front end of the LS500 a lot of presence.
A view of the LS500’s side profile reveals a long hood with pronounced wheel arches that yield way to an impressive prestige gap (dashboard to front axle distance), and body lines highlight the light and shadows as the car moves.
The rear taillights have the signature Lexus look to them, but in a larger application to highlight the size of the LS500. The car looks long but never massive. Every angle projects subdued athleticism that leaves the LS500 with a fantastic stance no matter which side you are looking at.
The interior of the Lexus LS500 continues the same understated elegance as the exterior. Bold swooping lines on the door cards and premium wood dashboard evoke a feeling of fluidity and movement. Seats forward and aft are comfortable for even the tallest adult, and of course, come equipped with heated and cooling functionality for front passengers.
Our tester was equipped with the $3,730 Interior Upgrade Package, which added quilted-stitch semi-Aniline leather, a 25-way power driver’s seat with massage, suede headliner, and heated rear seats. Rear seats can be fitted with an optional executive package that adds recline functionality and an ottoman.
Other interior upgrades on our tester included a panoramic glass roof, a heated wood and leather steering wheel, and the $1,940 23-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. The sound system is worth every penny and gives the LS500 a huge boost with fantastic highs and deep lows. The LS500 isolates passengers from the outside and provides a nearly silent ride, so loud tunes with excellent sound quality are appreciated.
The only drawback on the interior is the fussy Lexus trackpad that they insist on pairing with the somewhat dated feeling infotainment system. It gets the job done but is bested by any number of other infotainment systems in the segment.
Nitpicking aside, the interior of the LS500 feels every bit as expensive as it costs, which is something many luxury sedans fall short on. The interior of the LS is quiet, comfortable, big on passenger amenities, and elegant. Not much more you can ask for out of the LS except for an updated infotainment system.
Driving wise, the LS500’s GA-L (Global Architecture – Luxury) is solid and provides a smooth ride without being floaty. Selectable drive modes allow owners to choose between more comfort-focused drive or one that stiffens up the car and provides a more sporty feel.
The 416-horsepower twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine is a gem and makes the 4,700lb LS500 feel more like a rocket ship than a luxury cruiser when sport mode is engaged and the pedal is pushed to the floor, all the while doing so in near silence within the cabin.
I walked away from my week with the 2020 Lexus LS500, extremely impressed with what Lexus has managed. This is a big, plush sedan that somehow manages to retain some of the much smaller sport sedan’s enthusiastic feelings. It’s not the most flashy nor the techiest full-sized luxury sedan on the market, but it does provide a consistently comfortable and understated luxury experience.
Our LS500 tester has a starting price of $75,450 and a price-as-tested of $94,075, including a $1,025 destination fee. This is a lot of car for the money and one of the few in the segment that delivers a fantastic all-around experience for under six-figures. The 2020 Lexus LS500 is definitely something luxury buyers should keep at the top of the shopping list.
Vehicle provided to Speed:Sport:Life with a full tank of gas by Lexus for review