When the Lexus LS first hit the scene in 1989, it undercut the competing German sedans by thousands of dollars. Nearly 30 years later, that’s still the case, as the new 2018 LS starts at $75,995, or $14,900 less than the least expensive Mercedes-Benz S-class and $8100 less than the cheapest BMW 7-series.
Lexus’s latest flagship sedan comes in LS500 and LS500h forms, the former of which is powered by a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 while the latter uses a hybrid drivetrain incorporating a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6.
Not only is the Lexus less expensive than its European competition, it also comes better equipped, with even the base rear-wheel-drive LS500 coming standard with a full suite of active safety features that cost thousands extra on the S-class and 7-series. Lexus’s only real competition in the “budget-priced” flagship-sedan realm is the Genesis G90, which starts at an even lower $69,325 and includes plenty of standard equipment of its own.
All-wheel drive is a $3220 option on both the LS500 and the $80,505 LS500h hybrid, and several packages are available that can drive the sedans’ price above the six-figure mark. The LS500 F Sport that adds a performance-oriented wheel-and-tire package, larger brakes, sharper chassis tuning, and plenty of visual aggression inside and out, costs $81,995. A $9700 F Sport performance package turns up the sportiness a notch higher with active anti-roll bars, rear-wheel steering, and a variable-ratio steering rack.
For those interested more in the luxury side of the spectrum, numerous interior upgrades are offered for non–F Sport models. The lowest level is the $3730 Interior Upgrade package with nicer leather, 28-way front seats with massage, and heated rear seats; one step up is the Luxury package ($12,250–$12,290) with the above features plus four-zone automatic climate control and power reclining rear seats with heating, ventilation, and massage functions. The top-dog Executive package offers even more adjustability for the front and rear seats for between $17,080 and $17,100, while an extra $6000 on top of that adds exclusive Kiriko glass interior trim.