Living with the 2021 Lexus LS500 F Sport
Introduction: Warp speed to Wagga
According to studies done by people in coats with an IQ far greater than mine, our eyes are drawn to pictures before text. So, I bet you’re looking at this page, seeing a 2.2-tonne limo parked in front of an excrement-coloured lake beautified by a rainbow and wondering if you’re still consuming MOTOR. Don’t worry. The not inconsequential matter of 310kW sits on the other side of the equation.
Here’s the thing. Being a driving enthusiast doesn’t mean you have to steer flat-chat every time you get behind the wheel. Sometimes the joy is in something altogether calming that delivers a different kind of driving satisfaction. Enter the $195,953 Lexus LS500 F Sport. A car tasked with fulfilling the luxe-limo remit for the Japanese marque. It’s a statement-maker.
That fact set in quickly as Enright, Kirby and I stood with jaws dropped as the LS arrived. We’d all expected a ho-hum silver hue given its luxury-car status. ‘My’ Vermillion (Red) LS500 F Sport, rolling on dark grey 20-inch wheels with a Moon White/Naguri-style aluminium interior, certainly isn’t a shrinking violet. It’s refreshing to see a rather bold colour combination adorn such an automotive indulgence.15
Yet it can’t just be a statement piece. The 5.2-metre long Lexus LS500 must be deeply soothing. And, within the first few days of ‘ownership’, 1RB2EF has its cross-country credentials well and truly tested. Bombing up the Hume to regional NSW (just before full border closure with Victoria), the air-suspended F Sport truly wafts over the myriad lumps and bumps of Australia’s busiest highway. It’s S-Class-like with a real sophistication to the damping.
The sound deadening, or Active Noise Control in Lexus-speak, is next level. The LS500 is a veritable cocoon, isolating you from the world outside its cowhide-clad innards. NVH levels are impressively suppressed and there’s little rumble from the Bridgestone Turanza hoops. The twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 is predictably hushed. I’ll speak to the creature comforts, technology, and upmarket feel in another update, but don’t for a minute think the F Sport shirks luxuries despite the badge inferring performance.
The seats offer slightly more bolstering than expected, and don’t get the massaging functionality found in the LS500 Sports Luxury, but prioritise comfort over body-hugging. My grandmother approves. So besotted with the warmth filtering into her bones via the heating elements she proclaimed that the big Lexus was indeed the best car she’d ever ridden in. To be fair, her benchmark for such things isn’t exceedingly high, bless her. But stating that her back and hips hadn’t felt better in weeks is a strong endorsement – trust me.15"The LS500 is a veritable cocoon, isolating you from the world outside its cowhide-clad innards"
Onlookers are also enamoured with the design – some saying the rear three-quarter has Tesla Model S vibes. It causes a fuss wherever I go. In my hometown of Wagga, simply driving down the main street summoned as many side-eye glances as if I’d been playing Mousse T’s Horny at full blast with the sunroof open. The LS500 gets a 23-speaker Mark Levinson stereo as standard, but the LS500’s persona probably deserves a more mature acoustic genre.