For 2019, the gas-powered LS 500 and hybrid LS 500h gain a few new features. Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay up the LS's connectivity quotient, and the Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) 2.0 bumps up its safety content with some new optional advanced features.
The new LSS+ has a more advanced pre-collision system that can now detect pedestrians day or night and adds a daytime bicycle detection function. As well, the radar cruise system now boasts enhanced forward-facing sensors and more reactive acceleration and deceleration functions. Those additions join the existing suite, which includes expected functions like lane departure alert with steering assist and automatic high beams.
Other changes to the LS are in trim, while powertrains are carried over from 2018.
The LS 500 uses a turbo 3.5L V6 that makes 416 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, which goes to all four wheels through a 10-speed transmission.
The LS 500h hybrid trades that for a naturally aspirated V6 that works with an electric motor to generate a total of 354 hp. All-wheel drive is standard here too, but the transmission is a nifty continuously variable automatic with a traditional four-speed gearset that Lexus says expands the transmission's overall gearing.
This is a new approach to luxury sedans for Lexus, which previously used conventional V8 power for the gas LS. All Lexus lacks here is a high-performance LS F variant to compete with cars like the BMW M760Li and Mercedes-AMG S 63 and S 65 models. Ultimately, we're not sure Lexus has aspirations beyond the meat of the prestige car market, and that's okay, because this latest LS has the basics nailed.
Standard features in the LS 500 include a heated wood steering wheel with power adjustment, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a 23-speaker sound system, 12.3-inch infotainment display, heated front seats with 28-way driver and 20-way front passenger adjustments, heated rear seats, power windows with variable speed control, power rear door sunshades, head-up display, fully digital gauge cluster, auto-dimming rearview mirror, triple LED headlights, suede headliner, woodgrain trim, hands-free trunk open/close and passive keyless entry.
Safety kit includes the basic pre-collision system, automatic high beams, lane departure alert with steering assist and dynamic radar cruise control.
LS 500 option packages are F Sport, Luxury and Executive. They include some and/or all of the extras that come standard in the LS 500h, whose extra equipment includes four-zone climate control, 20-inch wheels, power-folding side mirrors, adaptive headlights, infrared body temperature sensor, soft-touch heater controls, a rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment system, heated and ventilated front seats with massage and a whole bunch of extra adjustments, a 28-way front passenger seat, 22-way rear seats and an extended set of power rear sunshades for the rear doors, rear quarter windows and back window.
Here, Lexus throws at the LS its full suite of advanced safety items, like front and rear cross traffic assist, pre-collision with day/night pedestrian and bicycle detection, and lane trace assist.
Lexus's fuel consumption estimates for the LS 500 are 13.1/8.7 L/100 km (city/highway); the LS 500h's ratings are 10.3/7.7.
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