Lexus LS 500 Continues to Wow Auto Critics

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First Lexus twin turbo V6 competes with engines from Audi, Mercedes & BMW, and it always seems to come out on top. No surprise there!

Jalopnik recently got ahold of a 2018 Lexus LS 500 with the new twin turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 and spent a few hours driving it to Lime Rock Park to check out the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race. While Jalopnik writer Mack Hogan raves about the comfort of the range-topping sedan from Toyota’s luxury brand, it was the new drivetrain that proved to be the most noteworthy aspect of the newest flagship machine.

Driving the LS 500

The review from Jalopnik explains that Lexus provided Hogan a 2018 LS 500 to drive to the WeatherTech series race. The reviewer likes the modern Lexus lineup, but he finds their aging lineup of engines to be a bit short of the competition. Fortunately, the LS 500 has a new twin turbo V6 that packs far more power than the previous V8, making the new range-topping Lexus a whole lot more powerful.

Not surprisingly, Hogan found the interior to be as plush and comfortable as expected, but he was taken aback by the new engine, going so far as to compare it to similar power plants from the German luxury brand.

Lexus LS 500

The New Engine

The 2018 Lexus LS 500 is the first car of the LS line to feature a twin turbocharged V6 engine. During the previous generation, the top-of-the-line LS 460 was powered by a pretty good 4.6-liter V8 that offered 386 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque. That engine made the big Lexus a solid driver, but with so many luxury cars packing power well north of 400 horsepower, Toyota’s premium brand needed more.

 

‘Powerful when you need it, quiet when you want it, and smooth always.’

 

That “more” comes in the form of a new 3.5-liter, twin turbocharged V6 that delivers 416 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. The 30-horsepower gain makes a big difference, but the jump of 75 lb-ft of torque is the real story here. This new engine is mated to an also-new 10-speed automatic transmission that quickly shifts to the gear necessary to keep the boosted V6 in the heart of the powerband, where torque levels are at their highest.

As Jalopnik points out, this transmission allows the engine to cruise quietly at low engine speeds, helping to yield better fuel economy figures, while the quick-revving engine and quick-shifting transmission will allow the driver to use all of the available power with the kick of the throttle.

“Powerful when you need it, quiet when you want it, and smooth always,” says Jalopnik in summing up the best aspects of the 2018 Lexus LS 500.

 

Also See: Hitting the Track in the Lexus LC 500 & LS 500 at Texas Auto Roundup

 

In other words, the move from the 4.6-liter V8 in the 2017 Lexus LS 460 to the twin turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 in the LS 500 has proven to be a very smart decision that makes for an all-around better luxury sedan. With this new engine, Lexus has a proper competitor for the other big sedans from Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Photos: Jalopnik (first photo), and Lexus

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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