The behemoth that is the S-Class is a tough act to upstage. For decades Mercedes’ flagship has been the bench mark in its respective class and in its highest trim forms(the S63 and S65 AMG)it has traded blows with the heavy lifters of the luxury car industry and come out unscathed. BMW launched a new iteration of the 7-Series which still falls short of the S-Class and Audi’s aging A8 is receiving an overhaul set to debut soon.This leaves us with Lexus, the only other marque that can hope to compete in this segment.
The LS 500 F Sport comes shortly after the debut of the new Lexus LS. Lexus has chosen to continue with its rather outlandish design language. The spindle grill is now firmly cemented as part of Lexus DNA as it is featured on all their cars. In the compact IS and LC coupé it adds character and dare we say it, attitude to their cars but in the larger more ‘grown up’ cars it feels as out of place as a Focus RS at a Rolls Royce convention. The sharp lines continue through out the side profile and the rear end of the car. There is a hint of Russian Dolls as is now common place with luxury car makers.
The F Sport isn’t a full blown F car like the IS-F, GS-F and RC-F coupé. However, it is part of a sub brand much like M-Sport is to BMW and the 43 cars are to Mercedes’ AMG. Because of its mixed heritage even though the car is claimed to be sportier than the standard LS, it still retains its level of refinement and luxury. 20 inch wheels come as standard and the air suspension has been reworked to be sportier.
The car’s engine remains unchanged from the standard car. Fitted with the standard twin turbo charged V6 the output remains the same at 415 hp and 600 Nm of torque. There is a hybrid power train on offer in the LS 500h F Sport also but with less power at 354 hp. The hybrid looses the turbo chargers and gains two electric motors. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a ten speed automatic. Sprint times from a stand still to 100kph are 4.5s and 5.2 seconds respectively.
The interior of the LS has also received some upgrades to differentiate it from the standard car. There is a new F Sport specific instrument cluster and steering wheel. The front seats have also been replaced with sportier ones featuring Ultrasuede.
The replacement for the current generation S-Class is on its way already but we wont wait until then to pass judgment on the LS. At best we will say its different from the crowd and that is as high a praise it will get from us. Lexus is famed for its reliability and build quality and it will most certainly pass the test in these areas. In terms of everything else their flagship seems to still be trailing the rest of the pack.