Luxury and quality intersect. The 2020 Lexus LS is evocative, even provocative in design. The spindle grille supplies a love-it-or-hate-it look, but the remainder of the body is much less polarizing. Its long hood expanded greenhouse, and tapered trunk imparts a stately appearance.
Thanks to much attention to detail, the LS is beautifully executed with a serene cabin. The cabin is made for the luxury set, with thickly-padded leathers, real wood trim, and metal touches evident throughout. The available Inspiration series adds 20-inch wheels, a unique color combination, and hand-cut Kiriko glass trim.
But the pièce de résistance is with the roomy back seat, especially with the optional Executive Package. Here, you’ll find 22-way seat control, an ottoman, and your own screen. This package raises the LS to Mercedes-Maybach levels for about half the price.
Twin-turbo performance. Up until the previous-generation model, the Lexus LS has always relied on a V8 engine. These days, however, a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine provides the power.
It brings 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque at your disposal, a sharp increase over the V8. These numbers also keep it in line with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series. Your 0-60 mph time is about 4.6 seconds.
On the other hand, the LS doesn’t offer the same planted feel as its German rivals, even with the available air suspension system. It feels comparably soft, with average steering, but with an excellent turning ratio.
The F Sport improves on the base arrangement, but we could do without the synthetic exhaust noise pumped into the cabin.
Available hybrid. The Lexus LS offers a true hybrid variant, the LS 500h. This one utilizes the same V6 engine as the standard model, but without the turbochargers. The hybrid powertrain includes two electric motors, allowing for 354 hp, which is excellent for a hybrid.
What’s also impressive about the hybrid is its EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway, and 28 combined, which is outstanding. The LS hybrid is no slacker either, as it goes from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
We've seen better infotainment systems. Lexus pushes the tech envelope with each of its models. In the LS, you’ll find an infotainment system that’s difficult to use, even after weeks of driving.
A scratchpad controller manages the screen and it can prove difficult to use and distracting too. That’s why it's so important to access either Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility to bypass some of the functions. It’s unfortunate that it’s this way, but it is.
The LS has a long list of standard features, what we’d expect with a sedan cost $75,000 on up. A 12.3-inch screen is joined by a 12-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, USB inputs, and navigation. We recommend upgrading to the Mark Levinson audio package, as it delivers the concert hall sound befitting this sedan.
Final thoughts. The automaker pulled out all the stops to develop, engineer, and execute the 2020 Lexus LS and it shows. The current powertrain is the best yet, although the chassis still lags behind Germany’s finest sedans. The LS seems more like a throwback to traditional big American luxury sedans, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The hybrid is a $4,510 upgrade, but a worthwhile investment for anyone with long trips in their future. It’s a fantastic alternative to the diesels that once occupied this segment, delivering comparable fuel economy.
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