Home / Home / Lexus LS 500h Road Test Review – Not Just Another Shade Of Grey

 

 Lexus LS 500h 1 web

The all-new Lexus LS 500h surprises with its versatility and comfort, yes, but mesmerises with its attention to detail. Here’s an account of why it impressed us and why should be taken very, very seriously.

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Saurabh Botre

In one swift manoeuvre, it’s out of the narrow gate. “How did it make that turn in one go?” I was flabbergasted. Again, at the U-turn. This thing shrinks around you. It looks like a barge but behaves like a small sedan. Usually, I prefer to begin on a philosophical note, perhaps with a dash of metaphor, but the LS 500h is unlike anything I expected it to be.

To redefine luxury was probably the aim for Lexus with their new flagship saloon. The LS 500h is comfortable, ergonomic, well-equipped and tech-laden ― but in a way no one really saw coming. There are certain aspects that simply exceed all expectations with an approach so radically different, they beggar belief. The design, for starters, is a mix of sharp and curvy elements. The bulbous body is kept in shape by a distinct shoulder line and sloping roof line. It’s a large car, at 5,235 mm long, and the 3,125-mm wheelbase is 35 mm longer than the old LS 600h L ― which is why Lexus aren’t offering two different wheelbase choices. This is it.

The exterior detail requires time and scrutiny to take in. The radiator grille dominates with its spindle design, flanked by those spectacular LED headlamps. The shapely bonnet is long, and the cabin appears to be a cocoon of luxury. The side profile accentuates its generous dimensions, while the chrome-finished 20-inch wheels add to the ‘bling’ factor. The LED tail-lamp clusters comprise several individual LEDs and make for a truly unique light signature.

Lexus LS 500h 3 web

The ‘Distinct’ trim we have here has some mind-boggling attention to detail. While the materials themselves may not be extraordinary, the sheer craft and effort that’s gone into the finish shines through. The aim was clearly to go beyond the senses. The drama begins even before you get in.

Lexus LS 500h 5 web

Kiriko glass ornamentation on the doors together with origami folded-fabric trim are simply breathtaking. And, then, there are the contrast tones. Individually, the leather in crimson and black, and the red and off-white stitching, respectively, are vastly different. But, when melded together as they have been here, they make for an exquisite cabin layout. In here, too, it’s a mix of dulled sharpness and extended smoothness. The seats boast hand-pleated upholstery. The glass trim detail extends on the dash, with every single element screaming of an individuality, that, somehow, blends in with the sheer excess of the each of them. The Optitron display behind the steering ― creating a digital version of an analogue speedometer, the large wide screens displaying functions, the precision cut knobs, controls for the infrared-sensor equipped four-zone automatic climate control, the 23-speaker Mark Levinson 3D sound system, and the soft touch-input pad all look wonderfully detailed. Then, there’s the compact gear lever with ― dare I say ― the only element that looks like it doesn’t truly belong there: the piece of rectangular black plastic with the letter ‘P’. What happened there? Function dominating form? You bet. It works, though.

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia

 

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