2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury (car review)

Back in 1989, the Lexus brand was launched to the world at that year’s Detroit Auto Show, with the debut of the LS 400. It was a vehicle that broke every rule of what a luxury saloon should be. In the process, it ran rings around its European rivals.

It was a marvel and the proof of that is evident, in typical black and white Japanese style. Fast forward 30 odd years, and the Lexus brand continues to embody the same principles around engineering that were set all those years ago.

The 400 has been succeeded since then, and in 2024, it’s in form of the flagship LS 500. Our example was the non-hybrid top spec Sports Luxury, finished in Titanium. It’s a handsome vehicle, although beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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To this self-confessed Lexus nut, this incarnation is a pleasing blend of understated elegance with a dash of athleticism. It follows a 3-box design, loosely speaking. That starts with the excellent BladeScan LED headlights.

The meandering lines across the soft-closing doors travel right through to the 480-litre boot, It’s a commanding machine that spans just over 5.2m in length, with a wheelbase that makes up over 3.1m of that total.

2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury
2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury

It can transport five in comfort, but to truly appreciate the interior, it’s best to limit the rear row to two. This allows access to the centre console and rear LED touchscreen which operates various functions, including the 22-way electrically adjustable outboard seats.

Even a short period of time enjoying them is a treat. If the pre-set upright “Business” position doesn’t suit, you can select “Entertainment”. This reclines the backrest and positions both the front passenger seat and the 11.6-inch screen behind it to allow optimal viewing.

“Relax” mode moves the passenger seat further forward, deeply reclines your seat and lifts the powered ottoman. Then, you’ve still got multiple further ways to adjust the seat to your liking, deploying air bladders within to make the most detailed of adjustments.

If that’s not enough, you’ll also find seven full-body massage programs, heating and ventilation. Once settled in, one may like a refreshing beverage, which you can access from a cool box between the seats.

Retractable blinds across the rear doors and rear windscreen keep prying eyes at bay and reduce glare on your monitor. While the inclusion of screens is great, we’d like to see a simpler way to mirror to them.

dash
Inside the 2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury

The option is available through a third-party application (Miracast/DLNA) that comes at a cost, which isn’t too big an impost if you can afford the entry price. The issue is that it’s clunky, and we simply couldn’t get it to work.

We opted instead to use a USB-C to HDMI cable (although a Blue Ray player and SD card slot is also available), ultimately limiting both screens to a single feed. All-in-all, rear accommodation is sublime, but front row passengers don’t do it tough in the LS 500 either.

Dark charcoal smooth leather combines with satin open poor timber trims across the console and door panels. Lexus’ Takumi craftsmanship ideology results in a serious but flowing feel throughout the cabin.

Sliding into the driver side for the first-time see’s both the seat and seat belt buckle adjust themselves for easy access, while you take a moment to observe the trademark plush pile carpet and run a hand over the perfectly sized steering wheel.

Both front passengers sit in 28-way electrically adjustable seats, controlled through the 12.3-inch touchscreen that takes pride of place atop the centre console. Everything from lower, mid, and upper lumbar, bolster width, headrest pitch and height is catered for.

front seats
Inside the 2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury

A range of massage functions are also available, along with temperature controls. The depth of pride and thought is evident in the design of this vehicle, and never is that more evident than with the Climate Concierge system.

The setup takes all four individual air conditioning zones, the temperature of each occupant via infrared sensors in the seats, and even sun shining onto the interior, to optimise seat and steering wheel temperature controls.

All this happens while the NanoeX air conditioning system optimises moisture levels. Entertainment is well catered for with wired and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is available through USB-C ports in the front and rear of the cabin.

A superb Mark Levinson 16-channel, 23-speaker sound system will keep the audiophiles decidedly happy. A live recording of Hotel California never sounded so good, with an amazing soundstage, depth, and clarity.

The best way to enjoy this vehicle though is on the open road, and with that in mind, we loaded up two adults and two kids, and hit the road to Rutherglen, near the Victorian High Country.

rear seats
Inside the 2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury

Hitting the starter button at an ungodly departure hour brought to life the 3.5-litre twin turbo V6 lurking under the hood. After a short warm up cycle, it settled to an imperceivable idle in the background.

Selecting reverse drops the rear windscreen blind and headrests and reveals a panoramic view of everything behind the vehicle on both the excellent central screen and the digital rear view mirror.

Pointing the nose southwest for a trip that equates to a 1,300km loop from Sydney, we soon found ourselves on the Hume, just in time to watch the sunrise. The lucky rear seat occupants chose to stretch out and continue their slumber, to which the LS obliged.

Along the way, there was plenty of highway driving, some country back roads and a special trip up the divinely windy Mount Hotham. What we learnt was just how truly quiet the LS 500 is at highway speed.

Even over course chip and undulations, one truly feels cocooned from the exterior elements. Dynamic radar cruise control deploys a combination of millimetre wave sensing and a monocular camera sensor to scan the road ahead. It’s more than impressive.

door
Inside the 2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury

Hand on heart, this driver has never experienced a lane keep assist model so refined. Naturally it senses the vehicle in front to slow down, but it will also actively pick up speed when commencing an overtake and slow you down through bends.

All the while, it’s simply wafting along on its electronically controlled air suspension. Adjustable by up to 30mm, the system makes alighting easier by raising itself, and lowering when Sport or Sport Plus modes are selected.

Active variable suspension continuously monitors inputs from the driver and the road surface to adjust itself, keeping things controlled and comfortable. It’s just as much a delight up 20km of switchbacks to Mt Hotham, as it is pottering to Rutherglen late at night.

The drivetrain complements the brilliant suspension system, proving willing when pushed, deploying the 310kW and 600Nm on tap. The excellent 10-speed gearbox provides seamless shifts and the right gear for any occasion, whether you paddle shift or not.

It also proved to be frugal, recording a consumption of 9.9-litres/100km, albeit with most of the driving on the open road. With precious cargo on board, it was comforting to know that the LS 500 is well furnished with the latest safety technology too.

2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury
2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury

The feature list includes a full complement of airbags, lane keep assist, road sign assist, adaptive high beam, blind spot monitoring and parking support alert. In a world gone SUV crazy, we love that the big Lexus saloon still exists.

It’s pretty, comfortable and a joy to drive. What’s more, at $202,390, it presents amazing value for money when you take in the competition. You can find out more on the Lexus Australia website, or by talking to your local dealership. If you’re keen on one, and need finance, talk to CreditOne.

Our test vehicle was provided by Lexus Australia for review purposes. Interior images courtesy of Andrew E Hempsall.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
9
Exterior styling
9
Interior look and feel
8
Technology and connectivity
8.5
Family friendliness
8
Value for money
9

SUMMARY

Pros - ultra refined; brilliant cruise control system; dynamic to drive.
Cons - lack of wireless charging; sparse centre console; clunky mirroring function on rear screens.
Kalen Ziflian
Kalen Ziflian
A lifelong motoring enthusiast, Kalen has a passion for anything with wheels and a motor. His passion lies in collectible Japanese performance vehicles but he’s been known to enjoy off-roading touring and camping across Australia.

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<strong>Pros -</strong> ultra refined; brilliant cruise control system; dynamic to drive.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> lack of wireless charging; sparse centre console; clunky mirroring function on rear screens.2024 Lexus LS 500 Sports Luxury (car review)