The 2020 Lexus LS is riding high off a 2018 redesign and a couple strong sales years. It returns with only one major change: a new Inspiration Series edition, which adds a unique and eye-catching color combination to the base LS 500 trim. The LS is the third model in Lexus’s lineup to receive the treatment, following the LC coupe and the LX SUV.
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2020 Lexus LS Overview
Choosing Your Lexus LS
The Lexus LS is available in three varieties: LS 500, LS 500h, and LS 500 F Sport. Pricing starts at $76,475 including destination for the LS 500 and only rises to $82,475 for the LS 500 F Sport.
The LS comes with two available powertrains. The LS 500 and LS 500 F Sport feature a traditional gas engine, an impressive 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6. The LS 500h hybrid keeps the V6 architecture, but drops the turbos and adds electric power for better fuel efficiency.
|Engine Type||Horsepower||Torque||Fuel Economy (Combined)|
|3.5L Twin-Turbo V6||416 hp||442 lb-ft||23 mpg|
|3.5L V6 Hybrid||354 hp||261 lb-ft||28 mpg|
The gas engine uses a 10-speed automatic transmission, while the LS 500h gets a nifty four-speed automatic designed for its hybrid powertrain. All trims come standard with rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available for $3,220 extra.
The hybrid is down on power compared to its twin-turbo stablemate, but that doesn’t mean it’s slow. The 500h hustles from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, a half second slower than the LS 500. Given the substantial bump in fuel economy, that’s impressive.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The 2019 redesign stretched the LS’ wheelbase by more than in inch, resulting in a cavernous interior that seats five passengers in comfort. Lexus goes above and beyond to make occupants comfortable – an optional air suspension raises the car more than an inch to make ingress easier.
Cargo capacity is an impressive 16.95 cubic feet, which is excellent for the class and compares favorably against rivals like the Genesis G90 or Audi A8. The hybrid loses some capacity thanks to its batteries, but still manages 15.19 cubic feet.
The Lexus LS hasn’t been crash tested, but its safety résumé is impressive. A full suite of active safety tech comes on every car, which includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road sign assist, and automatic high beams.
The optional Lexus Safety System Plus A package ($3,000) adds front cross-traffic alert, an active steering assist system, and lane change assist.
Every LS comes with a 12.3-inch infotainment screen running Lexus’s touchpad-based software. This system has gotten better over time, but it’s still a little clunky compared to the touchscreens of some competitors. If you’d rather not bother, the system is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Echo.
Don’t let the LS 500 fool you: this is no ordinary base trim. Included with every LS 500 is leather upholstery, heated and power adjustable front seats, a power moonroof, and navigation. The wheels are 19-inch alloys, and the cabin comes with active electronic noise cancellation.
A host of packages can take the cabin to the next level, covering everything from four-zone climate control to exotic trim materials. If you prefer to ride in the back, the Executive Package ($17,100) will turn one chair into a shiatsu massage-capable throne with an ottoman, 22-way remote adjustment, and a four-zone climate concierge. The bundle also brings heated and ventilated front and rear outboard seats, butterfly power-retractable headrests, 28-way power front seats, and a 7.0-inch rear touchscreen.
Among the options, standouts include a panoramic glass roof ($1,000), the adaptive air suspension ($1,500), a 24-inch head-up display ($1,220), and a remarkable 23-speaker Mark Levinson sound system ($1,940).
The 2020 Signature Series is a version of the LS 500. It comes in a striking red-brown Lexus calls “Deep Garnet” with 20-inch black chrome wheels and a white leather interior. For those features, mirror-mounted puddle lights, and handcrafted glass interior trim, Lexus will charge you $22,215 over the standard car. The Signature Series will be limited to just 300 units in the U.S.
Commanding a $4,510 premium over the gas-powered LS 500, the LS 500h earns back the money at the gas pump. Other than its hybrid powertrain, it closely resembles the LS 500, sharing nearly identical packages and options.
For unknown reasons, the Executive Package on the hybrid is only available with elaborately patterned Kiriko glass, which is hand-pleated in geometric patterns on the interior door trim. The price? A cool $23,080.
The LS 500 F Sport is Lexus’s gesture toward performance, but it doesn’t add any power. The suspension does get a sharper tune, and the F Sport gains new drive modes for more spirited pilots.
But the LS is still a cruiser, and the F Sport is about aesthetics as much as anything else: 20-inch wheels, suede headliner, aluminum trim, and an exclusive gauge cluster.
If you’d like to double down, the Performance Package ($9,700) adds variable gear-ratio steering, active stabilization, and four-wheel steering.
The 2020 Lexus LS 500 F Sport doesn’t fundamentally change this model's comfort-first persona. Instead, we’d stick with the hybrid, which combines sumptuous luxury with miserly fuel economy.
2020 Lexus LS Review
Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
- Expressive lines
- Exquisite interior
- Available hybrid
- Imprecise steering
- Annoying infotainment
- Middling ride comfort
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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