Lexus at the New York International Auto Show showcased the 2018 LS 500 F SPORT, just months after debuting the reinvented flagship sedan earlier this year
Within the Lexus lineup, the F models, including GS F and RC F, are the track-tuned maximum performance machines. The F SPORT versions, meanwhile, imbue the standard models with a more engaging driving spirit through carefully applied chassis tuning and enhancements, while still emphasizing exceptional comfort.
On the new LS, the F SPORT model will be available with gas and hybrid powertrains, and those choosing the RWD V6TT model will have the option of adding the F SPORT Handling Package to bring a level of liveliness never before seen on the flagship sedan.
The F SPORT Look
Developing the F SPORT grille took computer-aided design (CAD) operators some five months to achieve the desired texture and interaction with light. Even then, they adjusted 7,100 individual surfaces to achieve the desired look and texture (compared to 5,000 for the standard model’s grille). And when combined with the sporty enlarged side grille, it is functional as well, helping to maintain the vehicle’s cooling performance, according to Lexus.
The special F SPORT front grille, rocker panel, and trunk moldings accentuate the sedan’s rakish profile, while F SPORT badging on fenders and exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels complete the exterior transformation. For those looking to really stand out, Ultra White is offered as an F SPORT-exclusive exterior color.
F SPORT Inside
The F SPORT persona shines throughout the cabin, starting with the F SPORT-exclusive front seat, which provides enhanced support. A perforated-grille pattern on seating surfaces and unique scored aluminum trim elements add additional sporty flair.
The driver faces a special F SPORT steering wheel as well as a speedometer and tachometer in a movable meter with a ring that slides to display information—a design adapted from the limited-production Lexus LFA supercar and a further expression of the car’s dynamic intentions. Attention to detail shows in the aluminum accelerator, brake and footrest pedals, as well as the F SPORT perforated shift handle and footrest.
Ultrasuede in the seats and headliner is the crowning touch, according to Lexus. For those desiring the ultimate sporty look, a new Circuit Red interior is available exclusively on F SPORT models.
2018 LS F SPORT models feature the latest generation of the brand’s advanced chassis control technology, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), which has been refined since its debut more than a decade ago.
In 2004, Lexus introduced the first integrated control system that combined the previously independent ABS, traction control, vehicle stability control, and EPS, as well as other functions, into a single system. In 2012, the brand adopted the four-wheel active steering integrated control system—known as Lexus Dynamic Handling, or LDH—from the GS for enhanced safety and driving performance that responds to the driver’s intention.
The new VDIM system implements cooperative control of all vehicle subsystems—braking, steering, powertrain, and suspension—to control basic longitudinal, lateral and vertical motion as well as yaw, roll and pitch. Optimal control of these motions helps to enable exceptional ride comfort, enhanced traction and safety and handling agility, and allows for enriched flat vehicle posture during cornering as well as a more comfortable and stable ride overall, according to Lexus.
The new Multi Stage Hybrid System combines a naturally aspirated Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators and uses a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery. The V6 engine uses D-4S direct fuel injection, and lightweight valvetrain components, with Dual VVT-i ensuring ample torque across the engine speed range. Combined system output is 354 horsepower.
The new system adapts the planetary-type continuously variable transmission from Lexus Hybrid Drive and also adds a unique four-speed automatic transmission. Working in concert, the two gearsets alter output in four stages to utilize the V6 engine across the entire speed range.
In manual mode, the two gearsets act together to provide the effect of 10 ratios, giving the LS 500h F SPORT an enhanced dynamic feel on the road and allowing the driver to shift through the ratios with paddle shifters. The Multi Stage Hybrid System allows for more electric assist at lower vehicle speeds, according to Lexus.
What’s more, this system allows the RWD LS 500h to propel from zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds – which is on par with the previous-generation V8-powered LS 460, and 3/10th of a second faster than the AWD LS 600h.