- Published On: 16 February 2018
- 5 min read
Lexus takes on the luxury segment with the LS 500h, and it’s unexpected.
What is it?
As we know, the Japanese are hard-working and can almost do everything a little bit better. Be it cars, bikes, fashion, chocolates they can take up any challenge. How about the luxury car? Toyota first took on this segment back in the 1980s. The plan was to outdo the Germans and this lead to the birth of the LS 400. The car was well-received and it was more technologically advanced than its German rivals. The V8 motor was smooth and had loads of torque, with the cabin being extremely silent.
Lexus sold around 45,000 cars in the first year, which made the Germans fret. The Lexus continued to use this formula while adding some hybrid tech and individual styling. This fifth-generation model, however, is an evolution and this was pretty obvious looking at it. It looks nothing like a German car and the styling isn’t understated at all. The car’s overall proportions looked more like an Italian car instead of a German, and it sat low unlike its rivals.
On the outside
The first thing that comes to sight is the huge, aggressive grille. It is built of around 5,000 pieces and looks like a modern art piece. The ‘Z’ design headlights look unique and so do the large 20-inch chrome wheels the car rides on. Once you get to the side you realise the sheer length of this car, in total it is 3,125mm in wheelbase. The side profile of the car looks impressive and appears to be designed by a Japanese calligraphy artist instead of an automotive designer. At the rear, however, the design looks simple but the chrome finished taillights look cool.
Under the hood
The Lexus is quick, especially when you put your foot down. Being a hybrid, low-end torque comes from a 60hp electric motor. However, the top speed performance comes from a V6 that revs all the way up to 7,000rpm. This motor produces 299hp and is naturally aspirated while being paired to a 10-speed automatic. This being saloon reaches 100 in 5.4 seconds and surpasses speeds 200kph with ease. The 10-speed gearbox means there is always a gear for every speed, it even has a super high gear for when one is cruising.
How does it drive?
After we had a go in the LS from the driver’s seat, we decided to experience the rear seat. This is where majority of owners will spend their time and the car has a lot of clever tech here. To begin with, the rear seats look like individual thrones with a thick arm rest between them. However, this large armrest can flip up and to seat a third passenger. Furthermore, the rear seats can be reclined an impressive 48 degrees. If that wasn’t enough, you can cool the seats and activate the massage function. The manufacturer claims that they worked with experts to get the pressure points correct.
We tried the massage and it really did feel something like a deep tissue massage. Other features include the air-suspension lifting up to allow the car to handle more dramatic terrain. Interestingly, the climate control system uses sensors to measure your body temperature. The music system in the sedan has a 16-channel amplifier that produces impressively high audio output.
However, there are areas where the Lexus doesn’t do too well. The ride is extremely good but lacks the suppleness of the S-class. The Lexus also isn’t as close to quiet as the Mercedes. Lastly, the overly complicated screen is difficult to operate.
Should I buy one?
In the world of high-end luxury sedans, the new Lexus comes as a breath of fresh air; it delivers something rare – a different take on luxury. It may not be as technologically advanced like its previous generation models were, but its objectives are different. Nonetheless, the car is for those looking at trying out something new.