Understatement of the year. You wouldn’t buy a Lexus to show off in the golf club car park – Toyota’s premium brand has always been a more understated marque. Its flagship LS is the ultimate embodiment of that ethos. In titanium gray, this 17-foot sedan almost disappears from view. Closer inspection reveals pleasing design details like the mirror-image taillights, but this is no poser unless you choose F Sport trim. We’d advise against that particular buying decision – contrasting leather trim and sports bumpers look out of place on such an elegantly unassuming vehicle.

Travel business class. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the equivalent of first-class air travel, all futuristic technology, and lavish comfort. The LS is more like business class – lacking in wow-factor, but a thoroughly nice place to be. And let’s not forget, even a fully loaded LS costs the same as an entry-level S-Class. It also offers the added reassurance of all-wheel drive, though cheaper models are RWD-only.

If you prefer to drive, you’ll find 28-way power adjustment for the front seats. If you prefer to be driven, the Executive package brings 22-way adjustment to the rear. Either way, you’ll be inhabiting a cabin whose meticulous shut lines and glorious material quality leave nothing to be desired. Apart, perhaps, from some customization. Lexus has you covered here as well, with the ability to specify etched glass or wafer-thin pressed foil finishes alongside the usual timber and aluminum options. Every seat is beautifully tailored and exquisitely comfortable, with more head and legroom than you’ll ever need. Every button is tactile, and the simple dash with its analog clock isn’t overly engineered or difficult to operate.

A cosseting companion. While driving purists will have more fun in a BMW 7-Series, the LS is a fine mile-muncher. We’d recommend the optional air suspension for smoothing out what can otherwise be a slightly wallowy ride, but it’s no skateboard even as standard. You’ll struggle to hear any wind or road noise, while the handling is compliant and neutral without doing anything to raise the hairs on your arms.

Another thing that won’t be hair-raising is the prospect of an accident. The LS is supremely safe, though limited production volumes mean it hasn’t been crash-tested. Its collision avoidance is second to none, while you can upgrade to a package that changes lanes when you tap the turn signal stalk. Despite sounding more basic than rival systems, it’s safer – and wonderfully fluid in operation. Standard equipment on every model includes heated leather seats, smartphone mirroring through a 12.3-inch touchscreen, and collision mitigation at both ends of the vehicle.

2022 Lexus LS Interior

Composed performance. Minor revisions for the 2022 model year have reduced engine noise, though this was hardly a raucous car to begin with. Nor is it likely to be driven aggressively – few drivers will ever floor the throttle and make that ten-speed automatic transmission work for a living. Instead, they’ll waft along in near-silence, whether they choose a 416 hp turbocharged V6, or another V6 that eschews the turbo for an electric motor and a battery pack.

Considering its size, and the number of microprocessors packed into it, combined fuel economy of 25 mpg is impressive in the hybrid LS. The turbocharged V6 returns 22 mpg combined in RWD guise and 21 as an AWD, which is still pretty decent by the standards of big sedans.

Final thoughts. Car buyers whose budget extends towards six figures usually fall into two categories. There are some who want their vehicles to thrill and entertain them, and others who simply want to arrive without incident or discomfort. The LS is no driver’s car, with relatively uncommunicative steering and a lack of handling dynamism, yet it’s wrong to regard it as a precision tool. This is an executive express, discreet enough to go unnoticed yet refined enough to rival the best German sedans – and at a lower price point, too.

We like the fact Lexus has kept the LS range simple. You can have rear or all-wheel drive, turbocharged or hybrid engines, two trim levels and a few options packages. In truth, there’s little reason to spend more than $76,100 on the base LS model – you and your passengers will be very happy, especially if you add air suspension. Just don’t expect to wake up ten minutes early and take the long route to work for the sheer thrill of driving.

Check prices for the 2022 Lexus LS »